· 4 min read business user-experience

The offer that never came - why I left my job of 16 years

That’s 6000+ days of my life dedicated to working for one company. My previously longest-held job before that was a year and a half, just for some perspective.

This story is going to be a bit lengthy and I’m not trying to write a tomb of a post about it right now — so let’s start small and hope that I’m motivated to keep writing about my experiences — because I think they’re worth sharing.

There’s going to be a good bit to cover — why I stayed at one place so long, how I made the decision to leave, what I did wrong in that process, what it was like interviewing, putting together a portfolio, and how I came to choose the company that I’m now working for.

I’ll start with the good parts of my previous role and what finally convinced me to get out in pursuit of better opportunities.

I loved my job

My job paid well, gave me the freedom to work on what I wanted to work on and to take any approach that I felt would be of value. Over that 16 years, unlike many of my coworkers, I was able to stare at the ceiling and ponder ideas, facilitate rooms of amazingly smart people to help solve problems and to spend my time working with creative people designing solutions that were unique, innovative, and most importantly — viable in old and new markets.

It was fun, oftentimes exciting, and gave me a balance between my professional and personal life.

Deep work

Siloette of a bird sitting on a branch in front of a sunset.
Photo by lensmatter via Flickr

Last year, at some point during quarantine— I was given enough breathing room in my life to realize where my strengths were and where I wanted to go in my career. I talked about the newfound skills that I discovered in a remote working environment, wrote about not wanting to give up deep, focused work just to go back into the office, and told every one of my bosses that if the opportunity came up to be completely remote going forward, that I would jump on that chance. I was hopeful that they wouldn’t have a problem with me going remote-only.

I was wrong.

My pleas for going remote-only

A boxer dog sitting int he grass looking so so sad.
Photo by cuatrok77 via Flickr

I told everyone — The creative director, the head of design, the CFO, and the CEO. The higher-ups understood, but middle management just wasn’t on board.

So instead, I was asked to start going back into the office. in July it was one day a week, in November it was two.

Instead of embracing a culture that succeeded so well in a remote-only workplace, my bosses were convinced that collaboration and innovation were better suited to be done together in rooms with print-outs and sticky notes when we had already proved the opposite.

The impasse

A close up of a wall panted pink with spackle filling in a large crack.
Photo by Sergio Sánchez via Flickr

In much of my career, I had felt like my voice mattered but, with this, there was no getting through.

I had contemplated leaving many times in the past for many different reasons, but that was the last I could take. I had to part ways and there was only one thing that they could have offered to convince me to stay — Not the pay raise, not the extra bonus, not the promise to lead larger teams — but the ability to work on my terms from my home office.

And that offer never came.

What’s next?

Spoiler alert — I am currently working at a new job that is completely remote with an amazing team, an opportunity to grow my skills, and doing work that will make an impact. I couldn’t be much happier.

One of my goals this year is to get back into writing more. Much more. I have a lot to say about how I got here.