PuiYan Quit Her Job!
Last week Lars (the friend I'm visiting in Hong Kong) and I gave a talk at the Wynd co-working space in Hong Kong. We've both been traveling and earning income on the road for over a year, so we wanted to give a talk on becoming a location independent digital nomad.
We discussed topics like...
And much, much more!
We had a great time, and when we were finished a woman approached me to say she was quitting her job the next day! (I'd love to take credit for her decision, but I think she'd made up her mind beforehand)
Her name was PuiYan, and she'd already broken a lot of the rules of 'conventional' life in Hong Kong, even scaring her mother half to death when she said she wanted to visit Paris for a month!
In America, it's stressful to do something different and break away from the pack. In Asia, cultural norms are even more deeply engrained. Most young people let parents define their lives, even if it makes them miserable. That's why I was curious to learn more about PuiYan and how she decided to quit her job.
I asked her some questions 'interview style'. Here are a few...
1. What Was Your Job Like? What Did You Do There?
"Marketing stuff. But basically everything I'm asked to do. Social media, polishing presentation, handling award matters, organizing company parties etc.."
2. Why did you want to leave your job?
"It's hectic. I feel like I have no life after work. And I feel like my work is not valued and appreciated."
3. When did you make the decision that you were going to leave?
"From the moment my boss yelled at me over the phone drunk and he 'suggested' I can go find another job. I don't mind working hard and late but I can't take people belittling my effort."
A difficult boss will suck the joy out of the office. We've all had a bad boss from time-to-time, but this is really bad. If you've got a boss who shouts at you and makes you feel worthless, please find a way to get out of that position! Even if you don't want to become a digital nomad, do what PuiYan did and get out!
Side Note: After PuiYan said she was quitting, her boss asked if she would reconsider and extend her time there! Some people won't take you for granted unless you're willing to walk away.
4. What did it feel like when you turned in your resignation letter?
"At first I was nervous, but then I know it's the right thing to do even if it's not easy. Even though I might regret it in the future, it's ok to make a little mistake."
I feel a strong connection with this one. Every once in a while you get to make a choice between doing what is safe (but that you don't like) and going after something you really want that's more risky or dangerous. You know that going after what you really want is the best choice, even though you know you'll make mistakes and that it will probably be more difficult.
5. How do you feel now that you’ve recently quit?
"I'm relieved and at the same time nervous about the future. It's like starting everything over again. But feeling nervous is a good thing, that means you are gonna find a way not to be."
Whenever you make a tough decision it's normal to feel nervous/freaked out/scared afterwards. As PuiYan mentioned; eventually, nervousness will subside. You'll figure out how to make your new life work and be so glad you moved on from the situation you didn't like!
6. What is your plan for the future?
"Honestly I don't have a plan. Maybe find another job. I have plans going to Vietnam at the end of December, maybe I will stay for a month or two. I guess I will have to figure it out then."
You don't need to have a 'grand plan' in order to leave a job or life situation you don't like. If what matters is getting away from a negative environment, then that's the first thing you need to do. Eventually you will need plans (building a new career, company, or life requires planning) but at the beginning you just need to say 'No!'
Planning how you're going to quit your job is useless unless you actually build the courage to do it. The biggest roadblock to quitting an unfulfilling job is that you don't know how things 'out there' will work out, and that's scary!
Once you take the leap it becomes necessary to make plans and continually change them. Eventually, you figure it out!
Leaving a job you don't like can be hard. Saying 'No' to somebody you're afraid to disappoint can be hard. Standing up for yourself is always a challenge!
PuiYan left a job she didn't like. She said 'No' to her boss. She stood up for herself!
You can do the same. Are there any areas of your life where you are being bullied or not taken seriously? Are you reaching a point in one of these areas where you need to make a hard decision soon?
If you feel like the answer is 'Yes', then I would ask that you make the right choice, likely the hard choice, as soon as possible.
In closing, here's a favorite poem of mine.
by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?