Looking Back Series – Part IV : Putting It to Rest


Sorry, We can’t let you leave early

I never thought moving on from one job to another would have been so laborious or difficult. I remember the last time I made this move was more than 7 years ago and even back then it wasn’t as difficult as what I was to endure.  Okay maybe its because 7 years ago I was still a junior employee and therefore I was not so much in a critical role as compared to where I am now. Nevertheless it was a surprisingly difficult and somewhat unexpected journey for me.

“No, I don’t think you can leave so soon” was all my immediate senior manager could muster after I had explained the situation to her. The Bank was willing to buy me out 2 months ahead so that I can start there sooner.  This is the first time a corporation was willing to buy me out as I had never experienced such an arrangement like this before. But the decision was rather set-in-stone : I wouldn’t be able to leave until the project went live towards the end of July.

“I am sorry” my immediate senior manager concluded. We were scheduled to inform the Big Boss eventually of me decision to leave, but before that I thought it would be good to pre-empt my senior manager. In fact I had done so ever since I applied early February after I contemplated on my move. I was a litte bit afraid of apporaching Big Boss as I wasn’t sure how he would take the news given the fact I was involved in one of the biggest projects for the year.

A Stressful Time

To say it was a stressful period would be an understatement. Between juggling a relationship, concentrating on the daily demands of the project and my future plans and at the same time trying to figure out how to placate the Big Boss with my news was quite challenging for me. Sometimes it felt I had nowhere to turn to except to turn to God – as one of my mentors used to always remind me – “If God puts you through it, He will see you through it” and I used to frequently remind myself of that saying and just depend on him.

I was initially upset after being flat out told by the Big Boss that I couldn’t move anytime soon. In fact Big Boss wanted me to stay on a week or two after we go-live which I felt was abit too much and that he was pushing it. As it is I had to deal with the Hiring Manager and my recruiter from the Bank and I know the management team from my side kept telling me to not worry – if they want you they will wait for you – but I also knew this job would be a once-in-a-lifetime every management consultant’s dream come true type of a job – at least it was for me and I was afraid I would lose that job. After all I didn’t have the experience they needed as mentioned in Part III – and I feared I would lose the job if I kept playing hardball with them.

The Silver Bullet : Meeting Jane…In Person…Again

And so day and night I had to wrestle with my thoughts and stay focused. I had to have heart and take courage and not give in to just giving up, considering the fact that I was so close to the finishing line. I even made an effort to drive all the way to the city to attend my medical checkup and sign the documents ahead so that the Bank didn’t think I was losing interest in them. Now when I look back I guess this was a real lesson for me : to learn how to negotiate in these matters a little more effectively and better.

Finally I had to tell my recruiter that I was going to reject their offer to the buyout. I would have to serve my 3 months notice quietly and move on. Having that chat with Holly was also a challenge – I guess it was a challenge due to the fact that I was new at this and prior to this I had never had such conversations before. So I would have to really think this through and decide properly. Holly was clearly not happy with me and I offered to speak to Jane directly to explain the situation – this turned out to be the real silver bullet in sealing the deal.

I had been wanting to meet and talk to Jane ever since our first interview just to understand what the job truly entailed. I felt since now I was more invested in the job I would want to learn more about it. However since Jane was tied up over the last few weeks I never got the opportunity to do so until I had to break the news of my starting date. Holly had set up the interview to take place at Jane’s office….which meant I would once again have to leave work early and drive  to the city for my discussion. Another painful journey to endure.

But in hindsight meeting with Jane turned out to be a real blessing. We talked for nearly 1.5 hours and explaining the situation to her and how I was committed to the job proved to be one of the best moves I made in this career journey so far. Jane appreciated the fact that I took time off to see her and she was willing to address my questions on the job. Also coupled with the fact that I had signed all the offer letter documents also put her mind at ease. This is also another lesson learned : making small efforts like paying your future hiring manager a visit and being prompt in signing the documents, provided you are keen with the job pays off and it allows you to build good will and trust with the organization.

I believe it was because of these things that I did I was even able to slightly defer my start date by one week as Big Boss had requested me (in a very kind way I must say) to further extend my start date with the Bank so that I can properly see off the project before leaving. Jane was kind enough to allow me to delay my start date and I feel this is a very good start towards a good partnership that I am looking forward to have with Jane.

Putting it to Rest

I was able to finally put everything to rest, almost close to 1.5 months after starting on this journey. As Big Boss got up to shake my hand and wish me well – he didn’t offer my any counter offers as he knew my mind was made up and the fact that I was leaving for a non-competitor also sent a very strong message to him – I realised that my journey now will end here. I will need to board another train at another train station and ride along Life’s tracks and wherever it may take me.

I was glad I was able to put it all to rest towards the end. Even though it was tense and difficult throughout the journey, there were also alot of lessons to be learnt. Maybe there was wisdom (which I can’t see yet) in delaying my move and starting at the end of July instead of early June. Sometimes that’s how life is and we just need to be patient and allow it to unfold itself. I am glad that the journey is over and now I can look forward to my new job as I look to complete whatever is required from me in this existing project in the coming 2-3 months.



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