I kinda sorta almost quit my job yesterday. And no, that wasn’t the plan at all. Now I may have completely thrown the actual plan into turmoil.
I’m not sure how clear I’ve been about the fact that my job isn’t the reason I have decided to pick up and leave the country. It’s a factor, considering if I was absolutely in love with the job and felt like I had long-term opportunity there I probably wouldn’t be leaving. But it’s not the only factor. In fact, it’s been one of the few things keeping me stable for the time being. Not too long ago I would have said I’m leaving New York in spite of the fact that I love my job.
Fast forward to Thursday, Feb. 11th in the office of the Chief Program Officer (really cool black woman with locs – although it’s taken me until now to fully trust her): “I’m really angry and I don’t see myself staying with this organization much longer.” I went on to say something along the lines of, “perhaps you will do better simply phasing out my position.”
Crazy talk. Rage talk. Hurt talk.
Perhaps I was a bit too hasty. But life is too short for bullshit. And when I feel like I’m getting shit on, I’m going to make it clear that it’s not okay, while also taking action to get myself into a less stinky situation. (I say this and must acknowledge the fact that I am in a pretty comfortable position in my office, knowing that I can tell them that I’m pissed and quitting, yet not going to be fired. And I acknowledge that this isn’t so typical.) So while a less angry self would have waited until I knew I had somewhere else to go, yesterday’s self knocked on the CPO’s door and stepped over the corpse of rationality to get there.
I’m sure I have mentioned before that I work for a nonprofit organization. I believe in the work we do. That’s why I’m there. And my role with the organization was brand new when I took it, allowing me to shape the job description in many ways. So immediately I was fortunate to have some autonomy and I was trusted. At that time, the organization was really small and I was the only one on my team, not including my boss at the time, who is now the CEO. Since then, we’ve grown quite a bit. I now have 3 people over me (including the CEO and CPO), I have been promoted, and 3 people now report to me. There’s also a newer team of 2 more who report to my supervisor. Positive growth, for sure. But now with growth comes power trips, bad decisions driven by fear, instability, and unhappy people. It’s noticeable from every level within the organization. And since I have been there since the inception of the department, the change is glaringly apparent .
But growth and a gradual decline wouldn’t lead me to want to quit my job on the spot. All of that silliness has been going on for months, making it easier to plan to leave, but not creating any immediate urgency. It’s when I returned from vacation and learned that the entire department had been pulled into a 3-day retreat that included strategy planning directly related to my team. The 3-day thing was planned and announced 1 or 2 days before my vacation would begin (and also right before a big event my team and I were hosting) and messaged as some type of re-training. That alone caused me to call bullshit, but mostly because I didn’t want my direct reports to be subjected to something I didn’t think they needed (to be spoon-fed by the CEO). I had no idea they were planning to have substantive conversations and make decisions regarding future direction in my absence, knowing the entire time that I would be absent. If I didn’t feel under-valued and disrespected before, I certainly do now.
I’m not sure how much of a surprise my reaction could have been to the higher ups. When they conjured up this plan, it must have crossed their minds that the one person they were not including in this 3-day emergency session, the same person who supervises half of the team, may have some negative feelings once she learns what she’s missed. And if it didn’t cross their minds, that’s an even bigger problem. Regardless, I let them know. Honesty and transparency are important, right?
I don’t know what to expect now. The CPO reacted very positively, expressing both understanding and support. She wants me to stay and they may make an effort to convince me to stick it out. But now at least they won’t be surprised when I turn my “I don’t see myself staying” into “I”m leaving and xx-xx-10 will be my last day.”
Looks like this journey just got a bit more rocky.