“Can I just resign over Slack?”
The thought process of anyone who’s changing jobs during a pandemic.
This week has been a big ol’ week of change in my life, and to be honest I toyed with whether to even mention it on my blog or Instagram. I really don’t want to be insensitive to people who have lost their jobs or who’s careers are at risk right now by flaunting my change of jobs. That said, career chat has always been a big focus for me and my content – as has transparency – so I think it’s important that I share it. I’ve opted to share this via a blog instead of on a social media post, so that you can choose to swipe up blog if you’d like to read about it, or skip past if it’s not for you right now.
Basically, I was offered a new job by one of my freelance clients, and the arrangement was something I couldn’t turn down. I hadn’t planned to change jobs in the too near future, and the pandemic kind of solidified that decision for me. That was until an opportunity to finally stop working myself into the ground presented itself.
As some of you know, I’m a bit of a hustler. Some weeks I’m up at 5am doing freelance work and finishing up with a couple of extra hours in the evenings. It’s been a while since I’ve had a weekend completely free of work, and even then there are emails to reply to, invoices to send, and all that stuff that comes with running some kind of business. This isn’t me crying woe is me. I designed it that way, and to be honest until recently I’ve been absolutely fine with it.
But the last few months have been full on – for everyone. It became clear to me that despite my unrelenting drive, inability to sit and do nothing for very long, and overall passion for what I do, I really had reached a point where it wasn’t sustainable anymore.
So, the reason this opportunity was so un-turndown-able to me, wasn’t for money or glamour or fancy perks or anything like that. It was an opportunity that would allow me to actually restore some kind of balance in my life.
In my new position, I’ll be working three days a week, leaving the remaining two days for all my on-the-side stuff. My on-the-side stuff no longer has to be on-the-side. My weekends can be my weekends. And if I’m being really honest, it’s been a really, really long time since that was my reality.
I think being at home all the time really highlighted how much time and energy I took away from myself, my relationship and my health in favour of working. I’ve always said I love my side hustles because they actually give me energy rather than take it away, and I stand by that. But that can only be true for so long. If your business is growing and you’re stretching your capacity, you’re going to hit a limit at some point. And I just hit mine.
So the opportunity to have 3 days of guaranteed work (well, as guaranteed as work can be during the worst recession in a century) to pay the bills and have the other two to manage everything else I’ve got going on was something I knew I had to embrace.
Resigning during a pandemic
Resigning always sucks. But, let me tell ya – resigning during a pandemic is extra, extra shit. We’re working from home at the moment, so short of leaving a note on Trello for my boss, I had to find some excuse to meet with him face to face. As the person who’s made the biggest fuss about adhering to stay at home guidelines, it probably did seem pretty weird that all of a sudden I was playing a game of tag with him all across Melbourne.
After several days of wondering whether I could just resign on Slack, I finally tracked him down. It went as well as it could have, in fairness, and I do hope this positive resignation experience will wipe some of my long-held scars of traumatic resignations gone by. I’m a pretty dedicated employee and always seem to find myself nestled into jobs where I’ve pushed the boundaries of the job role and taken on way more than initially planned, so hiring becomes a challenge when that type of person leaves. Shocked, confused and slightly dumbfounded, he didn’t play the guilt card or play and mind games to make me feel bad at all. He understood my situation and said he knew why I had to take it.
Starting a new job during a pandemic
Probably the most interesting part of this experience has been accepting a job from someone you’ve actually never met. I started freelancing with this client back when isolation first hit. A pencilled in coffee meeting with the hopes that Corona would ‘blow over’ came and went, and we ended up doing everything by phone or video. It wasn’t until after I’d accepted the job that I realised – I don’t know this guy at all. I don’t know how tall he is, how old he is, whether he’ll want to hear my incessant updates about my cat. I don’t know what the office looks like, I don’t really know who else works there, I don’t know if there’s a coffee machine (deal breaker).
Though one thing my new boss did point out is that from his perspective, it was one of the most authentic hiring experiences of all time, based purely on the work he’d seen and the snippets of my digital footprint available to anyone on the internet.
Usually our judgements on hiring are unconsciously clouded by things like mannerisms, how early they showed up to the interview, whether they shook your hand, what they wore, how nervous they were. None of that mattered when hiring purely based on evidence of work capability.
Have I done the right thing? I guess time will tell. I went back and forth in my mind, questioning whether putting a bit of extra free time over a semblance of job security was really appropriate right now. Sure, no job is completely secure, especially in the creative industry. But probationary periods are volatile at the best of times. I can’t say I’d have recommended changing jobs right now, on face value of what’s at stake. It’s also very strange contemplating taking a job that you didn’t technically apply for. When you’re unemployed or you’re looking, the answers are often clearer as you’ve gone out looking. In such an uncertain environment, a huge decision out of nowhere knocked me for six.
That said, it came down to the fact that I’d regret it if I didn’t. And I think that’s an important assessment for all opportunities. I usually live by the ‘if it’s not a hell yes then it’s a hell no’, but sometimes, with so many external question marks in play, that just doesn’t quite fit. When that fails, I opt for the ‘which would you regret more’ argument. Would you regret taking it and failing more than not taking it and failing?
I knew what I had to do.
PIN FOR LATER