Some of the people I worked with in the past know me as a quitter. For the first 3-4 years of my career, I've jumped from one place to another without caring too much for the time I spent in a position.
It goes as far as leaving jobs even before a month passed, and this didn't happen only once. Up until today, it is something I have always been quiet about. It's been shameful for me, so much that I hide these experiences from others during interviews and so on.
Today I wake up with a different mindset about it, so much that I'm open to discussing why I took these decisions. I'll divide the reasons behind my premature departures into three.
As a disclaimer, I am not saying you should follow my steps. This article intends to liberate those of you who don't enjoy your jobs but decide to stay just because it wouldn't look good on their professional records.
.01 - This is not taking me where I want to be.
One of the major reasons why I've dropped companies way before passing my probation period is the job not being the best route to achieve my goals.
In this section, I'd like to describe a major problem with some companies out there. They are not interviewing you. They are doing an advertisement job with you.
These early resigns mostly came from me taking a job with offerings that didn't become real when I entered the company.
My first job was advertised to me as "A place where you will model airplanes and other flying objects for high tech flying simulators." I spent the next three weeks modeling LOD5 houses. You'd be thinking I didn't wait for the meaty stuff to come. When I asked my senior co-workers who had been there for as long as 15 years, their replies were, "Yes, we do that once or twice a year."
This was unacceptable to me. After talking with my manager about this, I felt I had enough information to understand that staying in that job wasn't the best route to get where I wanted to be.
.02 - The working environment affected my mental health.
Toxicity in the workplace is way more common than we can imagine. I'm not talking about extra time, crunch periods, and so on. I'm talking about the sense of superiority some people have in the workplace.
I have always been very efficient at work. I save a day every week to improve my tools to gain a performance boost next week. This means I extremely rarely do extra time.
This "lead" of mine decided to book two meetings with me. In the first one, he told me, "Please work slower, you are putting too much pressure on your peers, and I don't have enough work to give you."
Important to note is, he didn't find issues with the quality of my work. The second meeting was to complain about me. "No junior comes in at 9 and leaves at 5, show some respect for your co-workers and stay late like the rest of us" were the words he used to do so.
See the irony here? He was asking me to stay late and work slower. He was promoting mediocrity in his team and wanted me to be mediocre, and didn't care for one second how incredibly stupid this sounded. He just wanted to be right and maintain a team that didn't challenge a single one of his decisions.
Needless to say is, I spent exactly five weeks in that job. After him finding time to tell me how much of a demanding person I was because I asked for a pen drive to bring in my music to the office, I suggested that our working relationship wasn't getting to a place I would feel comfortable with.
Sometimes you just don't fit in a workplace. Other times you realize sooner rather than later that your employer's office is not a great place to be!
.03 - I make sacrifices but get nothing back from the company.
The way I am doesn't accept money as a real payment for my work. I don't care if I'm making 100k a year. If I see you disrespect my time, we are done.
I'm usually an incredibly committed person in the workplace. My last three jobs went from mid-senior to art lead/director in less than a year. I tend to want to make my workplace the best one ever, and this is well seen by employers usually, but, in the past, it has been used against me many times.
About 6 years ago now I moved to England to work in a very famous AAA company. Their workflows were extremely outdated, like "10 years old" type of outdated. I decided to suggest implementing the newer pipelines, like Substance Painter, instead of Photoshop for texturing.
My lead at the time asked me to try the newer workflows in a controlled environment and write documentation about it. I finished my tests with a great-looking piece that used a custom integration between Photoshop and Substance Painter so that more veteran artists could keep their preferred tools, and newer ones could use the ones they learned at university or at home. All looks good, right?
At the time, I was spending around 12-14 hours a day to make the workflow work with the company. Other departments decided to implement it, and everything worked great. It was all tried and tested. Still, my lead decided to keep the old methods in his team, a decision I disagreed with, so I told him to please reconsider it, as it wouldn't hurt anyone.
"You are one of the biggest pains in the ass I've ever had to deal with" was his answer, and my opportunity to say bye to the company for which I had given up 5 months of my life making a mediocre salary for 12 hours a day in one of the most expensive cities in the United Kingdom.
I wasn't sad to say goodbye to a place that thanked me with a disrespectful answer, especially after sacrificing so much to work there. My voice wasn't valued, nor were my efforts. All of a sudden, and after that lead's words, my sacrifices weren't worth it anymore. To this day, I'm waiting to be credited in the game I worked in while at the company.
With this article, I want to tell everyone my story, denounce some of the experiences I've had, and mostly ensure that, if you know what you want, making many mistakes is not an impediment to achieve it.
My CV is a mess of dates, and I still get job offers weekly. I am not a worse candidate because I decided to keep true to my values and respected myself as a worker (Sometimes a bit too much, I have to admit too).
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