It seems to me that there are some people who go, ‘All right, I’m grabbing the bull by the horns. Let’s do this…,’ and there are some people who it takes a while to figure out. It’s an everyday struggle to be able to go, ‘I’m going to follow my own instincts — I’m going to try and hear my own heart, regardless…’
I mean, there are things that I want in my life. You can hide in your work, I guess I’m saying, or you can be alive and free and live in your work. You can pretend the people that you’re going to work with for however many months are going to be the family that’s going to be forever. But the truth is, they’re not. And no matter what relationships you make along the way – which have been occasionally really, really influential on my life — ultimately I choose all the mishegoss, and all the complications and confusions of life, which takes courage and patience to sift through. Over the temporary moment of ‘Oh, I’m comforted in the womb of this family.’ I choose the other. I hate to say this, but ‘it’s time to jump.’ — Jake Gyllenhaal – GQ May 2010
Yeah, I Quit My Job
So I did the unthinkable. I gave my two weeks notice to Sports Media Challenge (SMC), in a down economy no less, before having another job lined up. The thing is I know what you’re “supposed to do” I know that they call it a job for a reason. I know that countless people would be ecstatic to have the job I had, and many others would be happy to have one at all.
I also know that I rarely follow the status quo, and I’m entirely too young to have my job adversely affecting the rest of my life on a daily basis. (A bit of insight here.) The day I quit there was an overwhelming sense of relief and I got the first good night sleep I’d had in nearly 2 months.
There were a number of contributing factors that led to my departure but suffice to say that it just wasn’t a good fit any longer. Sure, I could go through the motions, keep doing good work, and keep collecting a paycheck, but that’s not fair to my employer or to my future. I want to be intensely passionate about doing great work every day, and they deserve someone who can provide that.
I had a good run, and I think I brought some good changes, some new business, and made a positive impact during my time at SMC. More importantly I got the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented people (see below), and I probably learned more about myself in the last year and a half then I ever have before.
I’m very fortunate that I’m the most frugal person you’ve ever met, and I’ve saved up over 9 months of living expenses. While I certainly don’t want to deplete my entire savings I do have a bit of a cushion to find something that is a good fit for me – case in point I’ve already turned down one job that would’ve been a solid raise within 3 months time. (Though I didn’t have another job lined up, I did open some doors before leaving).
In the last 4-5 months I’ve been fortunate to interview with two companies (Radian6 & Dachis Group, both since acquired) making great strides in this space, making it very deep in the selection process for one of them. Both have phenomenal leadership, and though I didn’t receive either position I’m very grateful for the experience I acquired going through the process and feel confident that I’ll remain on their radar for future positions as both continue to grow. Besides, what’s life without a little adversity, right?
To be candid, I feel a wide range of emotions: excitement, fear, relief, apprehension and few hundred others. But I’m also feeling reinvigorated and so in my quest for a great fit (if you have recommendations by the way I’d love to hear them) I would also like to get back into consulting/freelance work.
I haven’t done any significant projects in a few months now, but if you need help with understanding the value of social media, integrating social into your traditional marketing and business frameworks, relationship marketing, etc. please feel free to reach out. And if you know someone looking for similar services please let them know I’d be happy to help.
At the risk of missing someone I’m not naming names (save for Lauren, Teresa, Sydney, Jake, and Jackie) but a huge thanks go out to all my friends and colleagues in the space for their continued advice, help and support. I wouldn’t be where I am without the relationships I’ve developed with all of you over this last year and a half.
[Also, my family is the most amazing and supportive presence I could ever hope for.]
And finally, before I thank my SMC co-workers, if you’re an employer in need of a resilient, passionate, strategic minded marketing professional who insists on challenging himself and the organization he works for to continue improving and striving for excellence then by all means I’m all ears.
As for my former SMC colleagues:
Matt – One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He’s so polite that it might come off patronizing to someone who doesn’t know him. To this day I often use his mantra of “What can you do about it now?” if I mess something up or find myself on the receiving end of an attack. Also, he introduced me to the great state of South Carolina.
Brittany – Knows more about college football (and sports in general) than virtually any female you will encounter. She’s stubborn and strong-willed in a way that keeps the office on their toes, and I definitely think she sometimes flies under the radar in her ability to create compelling strategy.
Hannah – We jokingly refer to Hannah as tax break because of her ability to always spill coffee on herself, but she’s gifted at finding the balance between work and play. She liked to remind me to ‘work smarter, not harder,’ and we had a lot in common outside of the office. I definitely miss our lunches where we talked about everything but work.
Linda – Our office admin always had the ability to brighten the day whether it was bringing in fresh cut flowers from her garden or catching you off guard with her quirky laugh out of nowhere. She brought worldly experience to an office full of 20-somethings, and lightened our loads by taking on a lot more than just admin work.
Bill – A very talented developer, one of few I’ve encountered who has the ability to speak in plain English about the value and business application of our proprietary software without confusing people with garbled tech lingo. Besides, Bill is a fellow Texan!
Jackie – Because of our mutual affinity for the social media space, and our ambitious drive to keep reading, learning and challenging ourselves Jackie and I grew pretty close during our time sitting next to each other in the office. His efforts to keep adding skills to his arsenal have made him an indispensible employee.
Jake – Without question, I learned the most from Jake over the past year and a half. He’s moved on to Fleishman-Hillard now, but as I’ve mentioned before you’re never working ‘for” Jake, you’re always working “with” him. He is a gifted leader who understands people as much as he understands business and his level-headed approach often kept our team calm during storms. In addition, his efficiency output is virtually unparalled.
Kathleen – I appreciate her taking the chance on a new grad from Texas, and accommodating me when I knew I had to return to my home state after the first year. I’m grateful for the opportunity and wish everyone all the best.