After thinking carefully for months, I finally decided to resign from my job as a category manager at a B2B SaaS & online media company in Denmark (let’s call this company as “XYZ”). It was not an easy decision. In fact, I happened to ignore my psychologist’ suggestion to leave this post and search for a new job as I insisted myself that I like the job (I do!) despite the management style which placed me in limbo, not knowing where my career would progress.
Centrally located in Copenhagen, “XYZ” is an appeal for many who dream to work in the city center. The company consists of many young people, with a young, informal spirit. It is a very international workplace, with a sort of laid-back culture and tons of parties, dining out, and team events to spoil the employees. A close-knit company where you know almost all your colleagues who carry a pride of the products they are managing. So, why on earth did I leave the company?
The first time I came to the office, my support manager and a colleague simply showed me how to operate a SaaS (software as a service) to answer external and internal requests of categories. That was it. But it appeared that the job itself was having an undefined purpose: why do customers need category? what is their interest? why do I have to or not have to approve their request for categories? …and why there was even a category feature in our product? It turned out that a category feature on “XYZ” was a broken product in which neither anyone in the company wants to take care nor aims to delete (yes! just get rid of the product, if it’s useless). It caused so much pain for the support staff that they had no idea what was the standard when dealing with customers’ request regarding categories. Then I realized, I just signed-up for a job which needed to be defined by myself.
But, this was not the reason I left the company. Actually, i was quiet challenged that I would have a prerogative over my own tasks. I like organizing a mess and bring order to address the anarchy. I remember in December 2012, few days before Christmas’ night, I sent my manager a complete plan, a road map, defined monthly. In addition, I also developed the very first guidelines for category.
Instead of having a further conversation about my plan, my support manager transferred me to another newly formed, product development department, allegedly hoping that the new guy who would lead this new department would be able to help me realizing the plan for category feature. After nearly 10 months, this new guy left the company with no single real solution to the feature i was managing. I was then transferred back to the old department, but by then, I had sort of established my own process and rules that I independently distributed to the entire office, and believe me…this required no approval from anyone as no one understood the inside-out about this feature but me.
Still, the main issue was the product design and system which are broken, serving less value for the customers. The guidelines I developed were mainly treating the symptoms, but not the root cause. Feeling hopeless, I tried approaching the CEO, hoping that he could support me to fix this abandoned feature with some high-level strategic solution and armies of developers.
Several months have passed, but the real support never came. At this point, I realized that the category feature had no future, no further move, and so does my role in the company. In other words, the feature serves less value for the company, yet everyone wanted to wash their hands off from all of the customers’ blames.
Trust me. Train me. Invest on me. Appreciate me. And I will give you my hard work to return your kindness.
As a person who were not born in a welfare state, the phrase “Don’t take it for granted” is stamped on my mind. And I carry this phrase to my work attitude. However, I know no mercy to the people who play around or ignore my contribution. As mentioned above, I somehow knew that at the end, no single manager at “XYZ” cared enough to develop me. Worst, they ignored my statistic reports about customers’ concerns, hoping that any one among themsleves would step forward to help this young girl with her dream to fix the feature.
I didn’t grow personally, task-wise, and knowledge wise. I wanted to do more, but I knew that being a solo hero who devoted the whole heart would not make the root problem fix. Everything was stagnant but a growing criticism from sales and customers regarding category.
I came to a conclusion that I had only two choices back then: 1) Lower my ambition, just be an average employee with a boring job, and close my eyes and ears from customers’ complaints because…”hey, the whole company don’t even care, why should I insist with the ownership of this feature”. Or, 2) I quit and find another workplace with people who want to train, develop, and appreciate me.
I chose option 2.
Few months before I resigned, I was assigned to work under a new female manager, who turned to be the enemy for many at her department. She kept telling people not to be late and registering the minutes her employees arrived at work. She also notified people not to be sick, even called for a 1-on-1 status meeting if any of her employees had been sick for more than 2 days.
Sounds like it is a normal job of a manager to keep things in order. Yes.
But the worst fact is she was often the last one who arrived at the office, and the first one who got off from the office. She is a hypocrite. Big time. She arrived around 10 AM, and spent half an hour to do make-up in the rest room, and went home around 3.30 PM, while the rest of the people work until almost 5 PM. She could have a problem with her employees who needed to work from home, but on my notes — yes, employees look up to their manager — she nailed the record of “work-from-home” for more than 3 times in December 2013 alone.
My patience came to an end when she called me for an 1-on-1 meeting where she complained about me being away 2 times in January 2014 because I needed to go to the Indonesian embassy in two mornings to make and take a new passport (note that I was back to the office by 10 AM, probably several minutes after she arrived anyway).
One day, she sent a disappointment email to her entire employees. Basically she was upset that no one wanted to take charge of translation job due to so many incoming support inquiries. The most thing which struck her was nobody came up to her and speak about it. The reason was simple: no one wanted to talk to her and feels comfortable discussing their career and job situation as the only likely thing which would come out from her was “Nope. Just do it”.
Meanwhile, her manager, who was my director, was basically a Yes-man of her. It feels like she rules the office than the director. So, this condition did not help relaxing the working environment either.
The Day when I Resigned
One Wednesday afternoon, during the winter, I walked in for a 1-on-1 meeting. I was prepared with all the knowledge I retrieved from Google about how to communicate a resignation well. One thing was ready for sure: a piece of resignation letter for her, and another copy for the director.
This time, she did not invite me for a meeting – I did. I count every possible reactions from her. That was why I mentioned nothing about the resignation on the invitation email, so that I could have a first-mover advantage to predict the situation.
Mr.Google has plenty of samples of resignation letters, which we can combine and customize according to our need. Please rest assure to leave a good remark and explanation on our resignation letter, no matter how suck the job had been. Check out this example: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/sampleresignationletters/a/professional-resignation-letter.htm
Both the manager and the director eventually accepted my resignation. I also had a chance to train my colleagues who would take over my tasks. On the other side, the transition time had been completely awkward as my director, of whom I used to be able to talk comfortably to, then turned rather silent and made a distance from me. I won’t assume anything; i guess it was just part of the resignation process.
Finally then, I got an early termination day. Two weeks earlier that it was agreed on the resignation letter with a condition that I should finish the transition task to my other colleagues. One of my colleagues said that it was common for a company in Denmark to give an early termination day as a reward so that the resigned employee could have some days to spend for holiday before she/he begins a new job.
Two weeks off, and I still received a full payment!! This was great! I wasted no second but booking a return plane tickets Jakarta-Copenhagen, which later turned to be my favorite going-home holiday as i did not have to worry about a task landed on my desk or emails from the office.
Well, what had happened, happened. And my motto remains “When I live abroad, I have only two kinds of experiences: Good & Awesome. When thing went bad, it is good because I can learn not to repeat the same mistake. When thing went well, it is awesome!”
Resignation has taught me a lot of things. It has taught me to be thankful. Thankful to my recent employer for all the opportunities it had given to me, both the bad and the good ones. It has taught me to value experience more and more. One says that experience is the best teacher. Whatever or whoever I encountered at my recent job would finally be a great asset, a valuable lesson learned in my next job.
Resignation has taught me to manage and to save money better because we never know when that “I want to quit” feeling approached us. So better be prepared financially before we ended up in a situation where we had no idea where the next paycheck will come from.
Resignation has taught me to be strong to decide something for my own happiness. I am not a corporate slave in the sense that I am not working just for the sake of working. I am working so that I could give value for my company, or society in larger sense, and gain some values, both financially and intellectually. And last but not least, resignation has taught me about building relationship with my co-workers, because after all, I would only know how many people I have networked well with, at the termination day. The number of people who came to our farewell drinking night and the number of people who still maintain the communication with us, even after we left the office are two visual measurements of how well we built relationship at the office.
It has been more than a month since I resigned. I still thank “XYZ” for the experience it had given to me. I am sure without “XYZ”, I won’t be able to land a new job. Yes, I just got a new job near Copenhagen! 🙂 Better one, demanding, higher paid, and most importantly, it has a lot of training available for me; it promises space for self-development. I hope i will love this job for a long time, but for now, let me just enjoy my first weeks absorbing new things in my new role as an online analyst.