“Well if that’s how you feel you can leave your resignation letter on the desk…”
This is the response I received after letting my boss know I had been getting increasingly unhappy at the work place. So much so it was starting to effect my health. I was so stressed I couldn’t eat during work, and I wasn’t sleeping either because going to bed meant I had to get up and go to work the next day. I won’t elaborate on all the reasons why (because we’d be here forever), but let’s just say it was high up on the scale of unjust treatment with an emotional abuse cherry on top.
After 3+ years of busting my butt, and supposedly being a “valuable asset to the company”, no scenario I ran in my head before that meeting ended with such a stark, indignant final remark. My boss either didn’t care, or was too embarrassed to face the fact that she was the main cause of my unhappiness. Instead of discussing the situation like an adult, she turned aggressive as so often happened. Either way, it made me feel worthless, unwanted, and like I had meant nothing to that company in the time I was there. With a leave of absence outright denied, zero glimmer of concern on her face, I felt I had no choice and so I conceded to her request.
Little did I know, that day would be the start of something wonderful.
Now I obviously didn’t wake up in the morning assuming I’d be jobless by the end of the day, so I didn’t have anything lined up for myself moving forward. Which if you know me, is not very characteristic. Let’s rewind a few months prior to me leaving when things were getting pretty bad at work, I had sent off some resumes to see what was out there. I remembered a company named Codeable from a Webinar I attended at WordCamp Seattle in 2016, it was titled Six Figure Freelancing by Nathan Ello. Who wouldn’t want to make that kind of money? I sent off my resume to them first. I waited and waited, but didn’t hear back. I got another interview for a position at BCIT (not a small feat mind you), but ultimately turned it down in the end. Something just didn’t feel right about it. I was really hoping to hear back from Codeable, but after a month of waiting I had resigned to the fact that I wasn’t part of the 2% of applicants that make it through. So I stayed, miserable at my job for months, which brings us back to the day I quit.
The upside to quitting when I did was I had a pre-booked vacation with my sister, in which we bought a seasons pass to Six Flags and spent one month driving the continental US hitting (almost) every single one of them. Not going to lie, it was pretty E-P-I-C. The downside was that every night trying to go sleep after an exhausting day, I was fretting about getting back home and being jobless. Every night that is until about a week before our vacation was slated to end. I was laying on the hotel bed checking my email and saw one there from Codeable. Codeable… why does that name look familiar? OMG! CODEABLE! I GOT AN EMAIL FROM CODEABLE! THEY WANT TO INTERVIEW ME! I couldn’t believe it, after probably a good 6 months I actually heard back from them. They explained they had a hiring freeze and had just started going through resumes. Once I returned home I would start the 5 Step interview process to becoming a Certified Codeable Expert Developer.
Step One: Create a Website
I was given a week to create a website from some design files, and a set of very vague instructions on what was needed. This I later learned was on purpose, sneaky buggers. I completed this in 3 days. I didn’t want to seem too eager, but also didn’t want to take the full week and make it look like I was slacking. They were very happy with my website example and so I moved on to round 2.
Step Two: Customer Service Interview
Nailed It. #micdrop
Step Three: Live Coding Test
Did not Nail It. I was so nervous that my mind just went blank. However my performance with the website build and customer service interview impressed them enough to move forward.
Step Four: Interview with the CEO
Oh man, sweating bullets now! But there was no need. The CEO was fantastic.
Step Five: 45 Day Trial Period
This was the big one. I had 45 days on the platform to prove myself as a competent developer, and prove that I did. Within 24 hours I had my first client and completed my first task. This earned me a special t-shirt from Codeable for being so awesome! I won’t bore you with 45 days of project task progress, but let’s just say I was pretty impressive if I do say so myself. I passed my trial with flying colours and became an official Certified Codeable Expert Developer in October of 2017.
After the trial was over I spoke with the CEO again, he gave me some great advice on how I did and how I could become even better moving forward. Finally it seemed that someone was interested in the development and advancement of their developers. And it wasn’t just the CEO either. Codeable has a Slack channel where all the developers are able to contact one another, whether it be to blow off steam, ask for help, or just general chit chat. Right off the bat I found someone who quickly became my mentor. Showing me the ropes, and answering all my stupid questions (of which, there were many). I’d be remiss if I didn’t give him a shout out: Justin Frydman. Within two months I felt more valuable and more appreciated than I did in 3 years running my department at my old company. Not only that, but there was an entire pool of developers that all have each others backs.
Now all was not puppies and rainbows, it was a little dicy at they beginning only making a few hundred bucks a week on smaller jobs. But eventually clients started snowballing and coming back for more work. I got larger and larger projects, and all the confidence that my shitty boss had stripped from me over that last year was starting to come in waves. Not only was work coming in because I was good at what I was doing, but Codeable has a very high standard of work quality and I was able to nearly TRIPLE my hourly wage from my previous job. Let me also point out Codeable is in USD so the conversion to CAD is a pretty sweet bonus.
My efforts and confidence started to leak outside of Codeable as well, I ended up landing a larger contract with a local company completely solo, not thinking I would get it because I was made to think “I wasn’t worthy”. SPOILER ALERT, I AM! Shortly there after I was approached by another established Vancouver company to Freelance for them on an even LARGER project. Man I’m good! I’d high five myself if that wasn’t a totally lame thing to do.
So here we are. One year ago to the day; I was unhealthy, unhappy, and a mere shadow of myself. Uncertain of what would happen to me after quitting, and not confident enough in myself to go at it on my own. Now I’m growing my own company, as my own boss. Gaining and retaining amazing clients. I’m able to work when I want to, and on what projects I want to. I’m happy, healthy, and don’t have a crappy boss (or as my co-worker and I liked to call her “Bosshole”) making me feel like garbage every single day. And the best part of all, the reason that quitting was the best decision I never made…
IN 6 MONTHS, I’VE ALREADY MADE MY YEARLY SALARY!!!!
Yes’sir! I’m on track to make the Six Figure Freelancing Webinar that I attended in 2016 a reality for 2018. If that doesn’t prove the drive and determination I’m capable of, I don’t know what does. I’m a huge believer in fate and that everything happens for a reason, and boy howdy did the dominos line up for me on this one. I was thrown under the pressure cooker of life, stood up for myself and left a really crumby sub-par situation. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but in the end it was nothing short of totally worth it.
If anyone reading this is in a similar situation, I strongly encourage you to make the difficult choice, the right choice, and choose yourself over your job. Your boss has no right to make you feel any less than the incredible person that you are. You CAN do it on your own, and who knows, maybe next year you’ll be quoting my article as the reason your life is so amazing.