I didn’t quit YOU!

TLDR; Everyone is in the best place they can be, given their potentials, priorities and possibilities. Mine changed over time. Simple as that. Look at it as graduation, not leaving you personally! Let’s keep in touch.

From my own experience when someone leaves a company, it’s easy for the remaining employees to get worried:

What did go wrong? Doesn’t he like working with us anymore? Did I do something? Did the company mistreat him? Have he found something much better than what we are doing here? Does he make more money somewhere else? Who is next?

The truth is much less drammatic. Salaryman has a series of comics which greately demonstrate the point.

One of the places that really calms me down is the graveyard:

Photo source

Most of the people lying there had important things to do but life is too short to waste it. Sure, one company is more comfortable than the other or one job pays better than the other, but the total sum at the end of one’s life is calculated based on impact.

I am no Dalai Lama or spritual leader. In fact there are people with way more positive impact than me, but what gets me out of the bed every morning is to become a better version of myself.

I compete with me.

If I am too comfortable, it means I’ve achieved stagnation and it’s time to reinvent myself. Changing the environment is one way of doing it.

YOU build your environment, not the other way around.

And you know what? It’s not easy! I don’t want easy. Every time I changed job, I faced challenges from building a new network to learning a new domain and sometimes even a new language. But it is these small and big challenges that build the achievements and learnings that lead to joy. I truely believe in this:

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

The key to success is to be flexible and adapt to new conditions. You see in the nature:

The most adaptable and flexible specie survives.

Not everyone who quits is a hero. Some actually make the company a better workplace for others. However, every company has a few acting canary in the coal mine. When those people leave, you need to be worried because their departure sends a signal to some of the key employees and they will leave too. What remains is either people who can’t find a better job or are too comfortable to challenge themselves or politically correct lingo: “loyal employees”. 😅 Regardless, the result is a culture of stagnation and mediocracy which limits the company growth. Try to replace the canaries ASAP.

Am I a “canary”? Not sure. Do I identify and carefully observe canaries? Hell yeah! Is all career switches about canaries of mines? By no means! In fact one of the best career advices I got was from my manager who later joined Amazon and then Google. He said:

Don’t run from fire but run towards flowers.

His point is that when someone is running away from something, they may make the wrong decisions. It is best to keep calm, think about your priorities and find a better opportunity.

Quick litmus test to check if what you are doing aligns with your values:

The best way to grow is to expose yourself to new challenges. In the end, happiness is to:

  • Get what you love
  • Love what you got

In practice, a combination of both yields the best results.

The discussion for a career change took a sharp turn, huh?



I’ve moved to Substack: https://blog.alexewerlof.com

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