Why did I leave my stable job in the middle of a pandemic?

Why did I leave my stable job in the middle of a pandemic?


5 min read

In my previous post, I mentioned there is a long story about why I stopped working on my side project.

It's tough to write this post. I changed my mind several times about, should I write it or not. But it keeps poking me. You know, when something always tickles you in the back of your brain & doesn't let you sleep. So I have to dump it to be free.

My career

I was introduced to programming - exactly to Visual Basic - when I was 15. My father is a programmer, so as you can imagine. I love to talk to the computer through code.

My first job was at a multinational company - even before I graduated from college - for over nine years. I loved it.

  • Close to where I live - I could go to work by bicycle every day, even in winter.

  • Family-friendly - I could be at the home office with my children if needed - like when they were ill.

  • Smart colleagues - There was always an opportunity to learn.

  • Good salary.

I always preferred a better working environment and the fact that I can learn a lot over the money I get every month.

We could happily live with my family of 4 - that is what matters to me. I did not want to change anything.

So, you could ask.

Why did you leave it?? Are you mad?? There is a pandemic outside!

It all started with an idea: start a side project. I love to learn & create things with my bare hands, so a side hustle is perfect for me. I am figuring out what an application should look like, what components it should have, which database fits it better, which frontend/backend frameworks to choose, etc. Love it.

After a year or so, I decided to try out something new with it. Offered a paid version of one of my open-sourced apps, which was a privacy-focused visitor analytics service.

At that time, my father stopped doing any business in his company. It was a small local IT business, with only 1-2 customers. As I needed an official entity to start selling, I decided to take it over from him.

Do you start seeing the problem? It's getting a shape.

In most - if not all - multinational companies, you have to report if you would like to have a second job - to not have any conflicts of interest. I agree with this. I've filled out all the required papers, and talked with my manager, and everything needed from my side was done as quickly as possible.

After a week of processing all the documents, my manager told me that it was approved, with no conflicts.

I was so happy, having a cool daily job but still having a side project where I could unleash my imagination.

Aaaand here comes the black soup...

After 2-3 days of the approval, I got another email that told me that:

I'm not allowed to do anything outside of office hours, on my computer, in my free time, which includes coding - do not even think about it - because I could be a massive competition to the company - without any further explanation.

If I asked why that happened, I did not get any answers to my questions. All I got back from everywhere - "You should not ask any questions; otherwise, there could be consequences."

Wait. Whaaat??

I was outstanding during those nine years - at least from the feedback I received. My salary went pretty high during these years. Always received the highest ratings from the yearly feedback. But after this, I realized how much the company owned me and did whatever they wanted with me.

I can't describe in words how I felt. I had no idea what to do next. It was shocking & depressing. My motivation dropped to zero - for the first time in 9 years. I barely talked to anybody - even though I'm not a chatterbox.

I don't judge anybody or anything for the decision because "it's in the deck." They have - probably - the right to do so, but it should have been implemented more amicably. I felt abandoned, and futureless & it affected my work enough.

So, what's next?

There is only one escape from these feelings. Look for another job. But yeah. COVID-19 is in the pantry. No school. No kindergarten. Everybody at home - days full of challenges.

There are no other IT jobs nearby where I live. The closest one is 60km away. There is a lot of it, but I'm a family-centric person. I prefer to be with my family instead of traveling for 3-4 hours daily. I could do it if I must, but not it's not something I desire.

What to do in this case?

Kick everything up and search for a fully remote foreign job. #yolo

I was fortunate because I only applied for two jobs, but the first one escalated pretty quickly. The position is already filled; they just forgot to delete it from their website. So basically, I just tried only one & got accepted after some interviews.

I felt relieved.

I only had one interview before, so to get through the first one after nine years made me confident that I was doing the right thing.

After four months of working at my new job, I knew I was right. I did the best thing I have ever done in my career. I am working with very talented people at CodeSandbox to shape the future of web-based coding.

What's next?

Work on my side project as much as I can in my free time!

If you would like to follow my journey, follow me on twitter.

Lessons learned

  • If you are unhappy with your current job, change.

  • If you feel yourself locked up, change.

  • Even a pandemic should not stop you from doing what's best for you or your mental health.

  • There is always an opportunity, a light at the end of the tunnel. You need to be brave.

If you are interested in my journey, be sure to follow me on Twitter or here.

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