I really liked my last job. The company had values that I supported and shared, the colleagues were fun, leadership was authentic and strong (seriously, I have no patience with bad leaders anymore) and projects usually interesting. It was a really good workplace where I had flexibility and autonomy, and lots of fun. In general my life was pretty amazing and I knew I should be satisfied. I mean, I was happy(-ish), I did amazing travels during my vacation days, spent evenings and weekends climbing, practicing acrobatics, dancing and hanging out with smart, spontaneous, crazy-ass wild kids and go-getters like myself (LOVE YOU!). But I felt like life at its core was… wrong. Not completely out of place, just a bit… twisted. Like I was filling in the spaces of my everyday life with things I loved, but like the actual… direction of where my life was going was slightly out of place. What was supposed to be my main focus in life wasn’t right, but I could cover it up so that it was kind of okey anyway.It wasn’t until I got another job offer that I realised that things really needed to change. Suddenly it stood clear that change was unavoidable, and I needed to take control. The new offer talked to parts of me that had been under-stimulated for a long time, plus competition was hard and I was flattered that they wanted me. But I did really like my job, I was genuinely engaged and felt like I really mattered, and this other place was one of those huge enterprises where change happened slowly and hierarchy was all but flat. I had to make a decision, the potentially new place expected my reply. I was confused but knowing that I needed change I was tempted to take the offer just to shake things up and see something else. But I wanted to give my then current employer a chance and I wanted to be honest with them. So I called my boss. At first, I think she was a bit shocked that I hadn’t talked about it (the need of change) before. She was a preacher for transparency (a GOOD thing, mark my words, but complex – read my thoughts on why transparency at work is utopia in my previous blog post) and couldn’t see how I could’ve had this process going on without talking to her (however I think she understood that I needed to have my own process first during our upcoming conversations). Anyway, after some thinking about what kind of culture I thrived in, I decided to say thanks but no thanks to the new job offer. Moving from a small company where my words really mattered to a big enterprise was not a step in the right direction. But I still needed change.Our conversations about my future continued for a couple of months. Wanting me in the company, she opened up ways of changing my position and location if I wanted to. And here is the key, here is where my boss proved to be a leader and not just a manager; she only wanted me in the company if that was what I really wanted wholeheartedly. Not to make more money, not for her own pride of not loosing an employee, not to avoid messy changes within our projects. A couple of times during our talks she said something like ”as CEO I think this [advice], but as a friend and human I think [reflection/advice]”. Doing this I knew that she supported my decision no matter where it went. She didn’t try and talk me into a solution that would be seemingly better for the company (me staying), she tried to help me see and follow my truth. Our honest and authentic conversations lead to me not being able to dim the light shining on my dreams and my truth anymore. And I quit my job. And even though my boss probably saw it coming even before I did she waited for me to see it clearly myself. A manner I truly admire, and a bravery rarely seen amongst managers – but a sign of a true leader.
“Our honest and authentic conversations lead to me not being able to dim the light shining on my dreams and my truth anymore”