Two months ago I finished up in a job I loved doing, working in an area filled with people I loved being around.
I’d been telling myself it was time to move on for a few months, for reasons I’ll get to soon. In my goodbye email, I wrote a few thoughts about reaching the point of parting ways with that area and people, I think those thoughts are worth sharing with you.
You’re nearly three years old, so a long way from needing to worry about the right time to leave a job – but I’ll write this down now before I forget.
Quick maths problem: If you’re awake sixteen hours a day, and you spend nine hours of the day at work or travelling to it, how much of your waking life during the week do you spend ‘working’?
That’s a lot right?
It’s up to each of us to make sure we’re doing something we enjoy during that huge chunk of our life, something that makes us happy. Everything else comes second, it needs to. That’s why the airline safety videos tell you to mask up before you sort out your kids. You can’t help others if you can’t breathe.
Likewise it’s up to you to make the most of that time, that 56% of your week, because you don’t get it back. You can earn more, find more, save more, money. But you can’t get that time back once it’s spent.
Strange start to a random email, I know, but it has a point.
A few months ago I realised I wasn’t learning as much as I would like to be learning in my job, and constant learning is something I need in order to be happy in and out of work. So I made the choice to change that, and to start thinking about my next job. I knew it wasn’t likely to be in the Contact Centre, the place I’ve called work-home for the last twelve years, and that was scary. Everyone I’ve met through the bank and now call a friend, I met at, or thanks to, the Contact Centre. Everything (or.. both things) that I know about leadership, I learned here too.
Next week I’m starting my new job at BNZ Digital. I’ll be working with the people who take ideas, plans, and customer outcomes from paper – and turn them into things online. Creating stuff is one of my loves – so I’m really excited to be a part of that. I’m also really excited to be learning more about Digital as a whole, and the way we take those ideas and bring them to life. That’s something I enjoy in and out of work, so it’s perfect.
At the start of this email I mentioned the hours we spend at work, and that realisation of mine that it was time to move on, because I want to encourage each of you to think about how happy you are with the way you’re spending over half of your week. If you’re not doing something you love, change that. Nobody else can do it for you. If you don’t know what you love yet, go and find out.
Your life is the only one you get – and there’s no rewind, no ‘giz another shot’ and no ‘actually, can I change my order’ when you get to the end.
Do the things you love.
Something I didn’t point out in that email was that I had spent a few months knowing I wasn’t loving my job like I used to, without doing anything about it. That’s stupid. Don’t be like me. I should reiterate the job itself was the favourite job I’d had in my life – but I just wasn’t learning and growing anymore like I needed to be. That’s worth remembering, just because something was right for you last year, doesn’t mean it’s right for you now.
If you’re not waking up excited about work, and you know that you could be, why are you in the same job?
I spent months answering that question the wrong way:
There’s a project it wouldn’t be right to leave in the middle of.
The people I’m leading still need my help.
Those are things that will always be true, there will always be a new project to be in the middle of, and there are always people that need help.
Unless everything magically falls into place, it will most likely never be the right time to leave a job. So I had to ask that question differently.
Is now the right time, for me?
The answer to that was a much easier, much simpler, and ultimately much more important: yes.
So I left.
And I’ve been learning for the last eight weeks, and I’ll still be learning a year from now, and I’ll still be loving it.
Do the things you love, before you worry about the rest.