Almost ten years ago, I worked at a pharmaceutical company. It wasn’t the dream job I had imagined when I was young, though it very much was a dream job for me during most of my tenure there.
I started off on the ground floor, taking a position at a lower level than I was working previously in order to get into the company. I had recently been laid off, yet another victim of sorts of the 9/11 tragedy. This company was growing and offered a lot of opportunity.
The company went into launch mode six months after I joined, hiring like crazy. I got a promotion, and several others in the next few years, with all the trappings of the so-called “American Dream”. I worked well outside of my job description and loved every minute of it.
It was heady and exciting to be a part of something that felt so significant. I was learning a lot, testing myself and developing new skills, and felt like I was tremendously valued and appreciated while being part of a family of sorts.
Then things changed.
I was now one of 2,000 employees. And worst of all, I got caught up in a political turf war and was uninvited to the launch meeting along with several of my peers. I was crushed. It was as if all the hard work and sacrifice were thrown in my face, and now that the rewards of my work were realized, I was no longer valued.
I was then given the task of doing the same thing in half the time with half the resources– not very inspiring.
I was making more money than I ever thought possible and working in a job that I formerly loved, however, my prior joy was now sucked out. I felt so insulted, and didn’t see the opportunity for growth that I previously enjoyed. After a rough weekend of soul searching, I determined my next step.
I was offered a lot more money, but that wasn’t really the point. I just didn’t feel it anymore and money wasn’t going to bring back the joy I once had. People were shocked when they found out I was quitting without a job, and I’ll admit that I felt a little smug about it.
I have never made the money I made while working at that company, nor have I enjoyed any job as much since. However, I’ve never once regretted my decision to leave when the job no longer served me. I’ve always felt that the $1,500 the company saved for my travel to that meeting wasn’t worth the insult to me, nor to my peers, who all left shortly after I did.
I may not find a job I am as passionate about, however, I will no longer sacrifice myself so much for any company. It was a painful lesson learned but a good one, and though I do continue to struggle with my work-life balance at times, thinking back to this time certainly puts things into perspective.