What I learnt from my old boss that made me quit

I resigned from my job nearly two months ago. We had recently hired someone that could easily step up into the vacancy I was leaving, so I could handover and be out of there quickly. There were lots of reasons for resigning. The main one was that my wife needed more help raising our baby daughter. Spending all that time at work, while my wife was struggling alone just didn’t make sense.

After a couple of months of being home with my family and working on getting CS Workflow ready for people to check out, I have had time to reflect.

There are three key lessons I learnt from my ex-boss. All three lessons contributed to me quitting.

There is no tomorrow

My boss used this phrase to create a sense of urgency. To me it meant to do whatever we were discussing right away. To do something right away, or as quickly as possible, I had to strip the task down to the bare essentials, so that no time was wasted. This would result in a balancing act of meeting the time expectations and putting something to the market that I could be happy with.

More often that not, my professional pride for crafting things to a high standard and with best practices didn’t matter as much I thought, going by the results. Usually that professional pride comes from imagining my peers judging my work.

“There is no tomorrow” forced me to focus on what’s important. In a small business that’s the customer and making sales as soon as possible. Waiting until tomorrow means one more day that revenue isn’t coming in.

This led me to resign because one more day of my wife struggling at home alone was one too many.

Act now.

Have the end in mind

My boss used this phrase to remind me that everything needed a purpose. I am goal oriented anyway, but I like this phrasing.

It’s very easy to lose sight of the end when juggling lots of competing priorities with limited resources. The trap becomes doing whatever is necessary to check tasks off the list.

“Have the end in mind” links to the previous lesson, because it provides the context to be able to judge what is important.

This led me to resign because I knew as Marketing Director I could help achieve 10 times growth for his company. Achieving this would take at least two years of my life. The end would be everything I learnt along the way and the reputation of the achievement, which would make it easier for me to get my own company off the ground, which is my real goal.

However, why invest in his company when I can invest in my own company now. In two years the things I will have learnt on my own will be more relevant to my real goal. Starting a business now has big risks, but there is no guarantee that working with my boss would significantly increase my chances of success.

Know why.

Be brazen

This wasn’t a phrase used by my boss. It was how he acted and was clearly evident in the decisions he made.

For example, there’s a line in marketing that marks the edge of what’s considered acceptable by customers and prospects. Crossing that line can be damaging to a brand. My boss didn’t think about that line and pushed to go beyond it. Again, crossing that imaginary line never really mattered. In fact, the results were usually positive.

What I learnt was to be less fearful of taking risks and to not place arbitrary lines between possible and impossible.

This led to me resigning, because I stopped worrying about the perception and impact on my relationships at work. Instead, I let my actions be guided by my goals and decided to trust that my heart knew best.

Don’t be led by fear.