Career Change: Pivot without Mercy or Guilt

The first decision that I made was to change career paths radically early on. In college, I majored in finance and I had procured a relatively good position as a financial analyst immediately upon graduating (maybe a little before). It was very technical and had a good career path. I probably could’ve been making $80k per year in about 5-6 years. I had good relationships with my boss and the department that I was in. I was a rising star. At my first performance review my then boss sat me down with a huge grin on her face. She proceeded to tell me that she was able to negotiate a compensation adjustment for me based on the good work I was doing. The salary increase? $1,000. She said it was unprecedented for someone of my level to receive any adjustment so soon after starting. She was thrilled. Little did she know, I had already made the decision to leave. I had put myself on the job market in the technology sector just to see what I was worth and already had three offers. One was 60k, 65k and 74k. I graciously thanked her for the adjustment and quietly took my leave back to my desk.

I realized that I was doing the right work but at the wrong company. Based on the salaries offered by the other companies, they clearly valued the work that I did more than my current employer. Why should I stick around somewhere where they don’t value the work that I do. Sure, I had good relationships and could’ve eventually gotten to where I wanted to be but the opportunity cost was too great. My lowest offer was a 57% increase over my newly adjusted salary. I submitted my resignation the following week. Was my boss, who thought she had just given me such a wonderful gift flabbergasted? Yes. She might have been even felt a little put out. Could I ever come back expecting a job from her or that department? Never. The timing of my move, although not intentionally so, was an insult. This is why I say I made this decision without mercy or guilt. I didn’t wait a couple of months to keep up appearances. I was polite yet rational and assertive. I informed her I was leaving, thanked her for helping me over the past year and told her that I genuinely enjoyed working with her but it was time to move on.

I left that company for another and nearly doubled my salary in the process. I never looked back. Something didn’t feel right, I evaluated my worth and got out quickly. This was probably the best career decision I’ve ever made.

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