Friday, July 28, 2006

Day 1: How to quit a job you hate

Those of you not in my immediate circle of friends and acquaintances probably do not know the ongoing saga of my latest job. Let me catch you up:

I was working as a clerk at a law office when out of the blue I got a call from someone named Nick Drance, who wanted to hire me as a salesperson/designer for his trade show exhibit design company ( I thought it was a really good opportunity (and it was). And, at first everything seemed to be going really well. However, it soon became apparent that my boss and I were not going to be able to get along. Instead of telling of the torturous three months since the real stressful stuff started, I'll just let you read my resignation letter:
Dear Nick,

I am sorry about what I said right before I walked out. However, I am not sorry about anything else I said. I agree with everything you have said about the pace at which I work. What I was telling you today was out of concern for you and your company. The point I was trying to get across was that, knowing my own current limitations, I can not and could not do the work you are asking me to do without making mistakes that could potentially cost you money. I have endeavored to make you understand this on several occasions. I understand that my paycheck reflects the work I do that sells exhibits. And, if all I were doing was creating design concepts then I think there would be no problem at all. But, trying to engineer five jobs (Livermercial, Paulina, LBC, WJ Huntley, Graphic Vision) at the same time is next to impossible for me (and I surmise that it would be for anyone). Despite the relative simplicity of all of those jobs, they require a meticulous attention to detail with as little distraction as possible. Since Liton, I have been, as far as I can remember, unable to complete any one task without something more urgent interrupting it. You accept these custom jobs and assume that I will be able to create renderings for all of them with no prior notice until they are almost due, no design or production schedule and with work being given to me piecemeal on each job.
You said that Abel didn't take me as long to do. That is entirely incorrect. Abel's renderings took almost an entire month (early March to early April) to create from start to finish, and that was starting from already created SketchUp drawings. You now have me creating drawings from scratch, three or four at a time, in sometimes less than two weeks. Maybe you believe that kind of workload increase is reasonable, and perhaps it is, but let me reiterate that it is too much for me to handle properly at this time.
I know that I have the potential to work faster and make less mistakes, but that will not happen if I am constantly pulled from one job to another. I also know that you have given me a lot of opportunity that very few people would have given me. Perhaps your faith in my abilities was unfounded. I do not know if someone with more experience and more formal training could do what you're asking, but I know that I can not. I'm not sure, but If this is the "slow" season, it would be even worse when things pick up in the fall and winter. I do not know how you created renderings and engineering drawings before you hired me, but my suggestion would be for you to farm out some portion of the workload to another company (Octanorm, Abex, etc.)
Besides all of that, I have to tell you that working with you personally has become almost intolerable. I know (or at least hope) that you mean well and that you have my best interests at heart, but it is actions and not intentions that matter. Basically, you have been driving me crazy for almost three months straight (and the feeling is probably mutual). I think that a good number of the people you work with would tell you the same thing if they were able to give an honest answer. I have no fear of hard work, or long hours (I think you've seen that), but the passive/aggressive manner in which you dole out responsibility and criticize me (and others) is not worth any amount of money to me. I really don't think you do any of it in a mean way, but the daily assault of needling little comments about how the mistakes I make are all "simple", even though I've said several times that I'm overloaded with detailed work, is too much to bear. Maybe Robbie at Abex was a total bastard to his employees and would have driven me to quit too, but at least it sounds like he was straightforward about it. You seem to enjoy criticizing, critiquing, overworking and asking those around you to do several nigh impossible tasks at once, while hiding behind the veneer of a nice guy. Well, I won't put up with that from anyone no matter what our relative positions in life are.
I think I have shown (and know that I feel) a basic respect for your experience, wisdom, advice, intelligence and business sense. You have said that you respect me as well, but when I arrive at the office, I do not think that respect is being reciprocated. When I roll my eyes at some of the things that you do or say that I find "silly" that is always tempered by the fact that you run a successful business and have been doing so for many years and so I try to keep my mind open to the things you tell me and the advice you give me. When I tell you something and you say "Okay, I hear you." I think that is just your way of blowing off whatever it is I (or anyone) had to say. Today's argument was just the latest example of me telling you something that you did not want to hear and so you ignored it.
And telling me that that I'm "tying your hands" and costing you $100,000 is, if I may use the phrase, a crock of shit. I know that before I started working for you that you created custom exhibits without an in-house designer/engineer. If you could do it then, you could still do it now. As I see it, blaming me for the backups in your production schedule makes absolutely no sense. At the very least, everything I do should only be additional help on top of whatever it is you did before (did Adrian do all your designs?). I could be focusing on one design at a time, handle it from start to finish (concept, engineerings, invoice, PO, delivery, setup, etc.) and also be selling pop-ups at the same time. Obviously that's not how you want or expect me to work. Sadly, it's the only way I can see that will give us both what we want.
Nick, I am more than willing to come back to Image Design & Communications and work harder than ever to create designs that will make you oodles of money, but I would have to be assured beyond any doubt that the things I mention above will change. I doubt that that will happen and so I suspect that this is where you and I part ways. I would rather flip burgers for $6/hr than continue to work under the same conditions at your company. Perhaps my own expectations for you are unrealistic, but I hope that the previous sentence makes salient how miserable I have felt working for you these past few months.

Chris Bennett
5:35 pm

I will not repost his replies, as they're not really relevant, and are mostly his attempt to not seem like such a bad guy. I'm not saying that he is a bad guy, just that there was no way I could continue to work for him.

So that's how I quit my latest job. Now I'm unemployed, have about $750 dollars in the bank and pile of bills that need to be paid. I'm going to attempt to document my job search and ways to make/save money in the interim.

My next post will outline my plan (such as it is).


Amanda said...

When I quit my shit job at old navy I found my current job within a month. Good Luck, and try not to cripple yourself with stress like I did. In honesty that shit threw me back a week...

ShiftlessLayabout said...

Yeah, I think I have enough money to survive the month, and hopefully I'll survive til then. I have a couple of money making schemes I might try in the mean time.

Anonymous said...

You tell 'em Mister Chris!

Yous be ballsy indeed

-Amber aka Eva Reznor, in case you have forgotten me or somethin

Matt said...

wow, I was going to do some renders for Nick Drance.. he wanted me to do them in 3 hrs ! ($120.00) I politely refused.

He seemed very desperate and too much drama, glad I politely refused, I saw it coming.