The Ex files: When to call it quits

Not all exes are the same—I mean, your former boss is also an ex, right?

I get it. It’s not every day we’re motivated to go to work. Yuppie flu really does exist… and it’s when you wake up in the morning to your alarm clock (sometimes before that), and you sit in the bed or maybe stare at the ceiling for several minutes trying to decide upon the reasons why you have to drag yourself up and get ready for work. All the reasons you come up with are perfectly valid, but at the back of your head you’re trying to justify just why they’re not valid at all and how you deserve to just stay in bed all day. Yup, I call it yuppie flu.

I’ve been to a total of 4 employers my entire working life, including the one where I’m currently employed. That means I’ve submitted 3 resignation letters, and the last one was handed in because I was dying, literally. Every ending has a story before that, and resignation letters are just the same. If my high school book report has 5 major parts, I have 5 questions to ask myself before handing in my “red letter”.

Am I being paid well? Let’s all agree and admit the fact that we’re working for money, principles and personal values aside. I remember one of my wiser friends told me, “Confucious cannot bring food to your table,” when I told him I wanted to quit my first job because I really don’t like what I’m doing and I told him what Confucious said about choosing a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. This is the first question I ask myself because I know my worth and never felt like I was underpaid (oh yeah, I was when I was writing for an Indian company for $2.50 per 500-word article). Thus, my answer to this would always be yes and move on to the next question.

Do I like what I’m doing? Oh yes, customer service is a job I only learned to love. I never wanted it at first—I was way too fresh from the academe, young and naïve and excited to land my first job so I applied to the first NOW HIRING sign I saw in Makati. I didn’t know it was a call center. That’s where I understood, and eventually accepted the fact that some things can be learned to love. There’s a certain kind of high-level satisfaction I feel whenever I am able to resolve a particularly challenging customer issue. In the end, I would have to tick the YES box to this question too.

Do I still like the people I am working with? This, I should say, is my make or break question. I guess the other questions would be irrelevant if I tick the NO box to this question. Like, how am I going to proceed to the career ladder I want to climb on if I don’t like the people around me? Look, how can you like doing something when you don’t like the person you’re working with? I think it’s pretty much like sex (oh, loosen up a little bit we’re all adults here), you won’t do it with someone you don’t really like because it’s not fun, unless it’s all lust. So yes, there’s your reason you shouldn’t date anyone in your workplace.

Does the management treat me like a human being, or is it just pure business? One of the few things I’ve learned in the years I stayed in the BPO industry is that, there is no perfect management. All management policies have flaws. For example, I used to be employed in a company where I earned my leave credits by the hour. Does my manager listen to me, regardless of what I am going to say? Do I feel safe and secured, in all life aspects? This part takes the most time in my discernment, because why not? Who’s to say that the company where I’d like to work isn’t as crappy as the one I’m about to leave? For all I know, my sanity could leave me and never come back. They could be crappier, right?

How do I see myself 3 or 5 years from now, depending on the situation? Career goals are a waste of time if there’s no good compensation, I don’t like what I’m doing, I don’t like my colleagues and I work in a crappy management. It just a walang pag-unlad type of environment, so this is the last question I ask myself. Happy and positive coworkers are all likeable, and they’re probably happy and positive because they are well-taken care of, plus they like what they do. This means the company has a soft spot for human beings. I think survival in the career ladder would be easy, especially if supported by a coach (this should be your immediate boss, duh!). I could have a place, maybe not at the topmost part because that’s too ambitious but somewhere… somewhere there.

This is not a handbook, and I have to say it. And though everything here is totally based on my years of experience, I wouldn’t say this is fool-proof because people have different experiences and issues in their workplace. Maybe I just got lucky, I don’t know. Oh and yeah, if my manager reads this, he’d probably say my title is not SEO-friendly.