I had a really great job that paid well for one of the biggest brands. So why did I leave after 8 years? A large percentage was because I was burned out. I was managing 40+ dot com sites, workload for a team of 13 (8 based in the office with me and 5 based in India and China), meetings with stakeholders across many different time zones, product launches and the list goes on. I was the teams only project manager which meant I had to have knowledge of everything and status of all projects at all times. If you ask other project managers I’m sure they’ll tell you they aren’t the sole PM for their team/company/agency. I was working 50+ hours a week for the last 2 years even working on my “PTO” days, weekends and holidays. I hadn’t received a promotion my time there (even after getting the highest review scores) and even received more and more responsibility over the years. I asked for help but was told it wasn’t approved due to budgets.
Finally I was told I could hire a PM who would report to me but they’d be located offshore. At first this wasn’t a big issue as I was already managing a small team in IN and was used to starting my work day early to catch a couple hours with them before they would sign off. It wasn’t until the last couple of months leading up to my decision to leave did I notice the only roles my company was hiring, even roles specifically for my team, had to be located outside the US.
Being at the company for 8 years I also went through many layoffs. I saw my close coworkers being let go, people who had been at the company a lot longer then me let go and office closings. If you haven’t been through a company lay off or let go, you’re lucky; it takes a lot out of you, emotionally and mentally.
Prior to working at this company I worked at a couple ad agencies. My 2nd ad agency (staff of about 25) I worked at was one of my favorite places to work. I was there for 5 years before I was told the agency was downsizing and 80% of us would be let go. I’ll never forget the day I found out I was part of the 80%; I remember that day as if it were today. I remember being called into a conference room, seeing a manila envelope, my boss (owner of the agency) and head of HR sitting at a table and asking me to sit across from them. I remember all the positive things they said about me and how sorry they were to tell me they had to let me go. I also remember packing up my desk alongside the rest of my coworkers, going to get lunch with everyone, going home afterwards and sitting on my couch in silence and then having a mental breakdown. It didn’t soak in I no longer had a job until I was sitting by myself and having nothing else to do. I remember thinking “what the heck am I going to do now?”. I was in the middle of planning my wedding, my then fiancé now husband and I had a mortgage we had to pay, we had a puppy to take care of and all I could think about was how was I going to help pay for all of this. But looking back at that day I know realize that moment of being let go made me an extremely strong person. It showed me just because I was laid off it wasn’t the end of the world and life goes on. I had more time to plan my wedding, spend quality time with my puppy and figure out the next career chapter in my life.
I had been wanting to leave my last job for the past 2 years, when things started really going down hill there. I kept telling myself come the new year I’m going to leave and find something better, but I kept staying because I honestly loved my team. To me, one of the biggest things that motivates me and what I love about my job is my team. One day last year my boss and I had a 1:1 after another big layoff. We both told each other “when we stop having fun that’s when we need to move on“. That line is what empowered me to finally leave my great paying job; I stopped having fun for many reasons.
A couple weeks ago my company went through another major round of layoffs (this was probably round 13 I’ve been through in my 8 years there and still survived). I kept hoping I was finally going to be part of the group being let go, I actually had my fingers crossed but instead found out I was safe but my boss had been impacted. After hearing about her I heard about others who were also impacted and after hearing the list I realized a majority were females. The company had a big Town Hall a couple weeks later and I’ll never forget sitting there looking around at not only the coworkers left but also the leadership team who sat in front of me and realizing everyone remaining was 90% male. The company I once worked at which was so diversified (nationalities and females) was no more. It was heartbreaking to look around and see the few of us females left, especially in today’s world. New re-org was also happening and the impacts on my team were the icing on the cake for me. I FINALLY was ok leaving.
There was a part of me that couldn’t leave my team in the position it was but I had to start being selfish and think about my wellbeing; the team would be ok without me, they also all had a choice to leave or stay. I will say my husband, friends and family have been such a tremendous support team. They had all been telling me to leave for years yet I was selfless and stayed because of my team.
I’m writing this post in hopes it empowers others to leave their job if they’re in situations like I was. The phrase “money isn’t everything” is both true and false. Money is everything depending on the lifestyle you want to lead and it was a huge reason I continued to work at the company. The last couple of years I had been tucking money aside here and there for this day to come. Even though I’m married and my husband has an amazing job that pays well I by no means depend on him for money. We each have our own account and a joint one that is used for all of our expenses. We went through how much we spend on bills etc. monthly to ensure we could live on one salary for a little bit, noting we’d have to change our lifestyle to adjust as well.
I’m on week 2 of leaving the corporate world and have no regrets. I’m taking some time to finally relax and focus on myself. I started volunteering at a local rescue in Chicago (I’ll post about this another time!) and have signed up to volunteer for another amazing cause starting in early May. I’m passionate about giving back to my community, I’m also very passionate about running and interior design so I plan to focus on these with the free time I have (posts about all of this will be coming too). If you’re no longer happy or having fun I hope this post inspires you to pursue something else you’re passionate about. I’m excited for life after the corporate world and can’t wait to see what adventure lies ahead next. For now, I’ll be spending some quality time with these two ❤ snuggling!
I’ve also started created these fun bags and am selling them on Etsy. I’m continuing to add to my shop so look for new bags throughout the coming weeks. If you don’t see something you’d like me to create, drop me a line!