This is the story of how I quit my job and told corporate what I thought.
It was mid-May, 2016. After working for Verizon for over five years, I’d spent the previous five months thinking of selling most of my stuff and traveling the world. Before I could travel, though, I had to quit my job.
I typed up a short resignation letter and saved it as a draft to email to my boss later that day. Then, the moment came. “Do you have five minutes to talk?”, I said to my newly pregnant boss, Ashley. Always ready to listen to what anybody had to say, she replied, “Absolutely! Just let me make some mac and cheese. I’m so hungry!”
She brought her food into her office and I stood in her doorway while I emailed her the saved draft of my resignation letter. Her notification instantly went off on her computer. With a curious look, she stared at her computer screen and said, “Did you just send me an email?”
Seconds later, “You’re leaving me?!”
“Ya, sorry,” I said with nervous hesitance, with my uncertain, risky future in mind.
We proceeded to talk for 10 minutes about Verizon life, past, present, and future. I told her the profession had exhausted me and it was time to move on. Just as I did with most of my friends, I didn’t reveal my plans to travel.
My last day approached quickly. Another manager, Joe, brought me the news that I’d been waiting years for.
“So, Human Resources is going to call you at noon for your exit interview.” He could tell that he’d just opened up Pandora’s Box.
“I was wondering about that! Oh no! Joe! You gave me two hours to think of what I want to say! I’ll be sure to tell them how you really feel about the company!”, I joked. He knew how much I thoroughly enjoyed messing with him.
With his big, lovable smile, Joe nervously replied, “No, no, just…. No, just, tell them… I’m not sure what they ask you during the exit interview, but please leave me out of it!” I didn’t leave him out of it, by the way – I told HR how awesome he was, as well as some other managers.
I wrote some notes in between helping customers. Then, some more notes. Then, some more. Pretty soon, I had enough notes to talk to HR for hours. All of my comments were completely, genuinely well thought-out tips and recommendations on how to make the company better, not simply complaints for the sake of complaining.
At noon, Joe brought me into the office, called HR, and left me alone for privacy. The first 10-15 minutes were pretty uneventful. She had very boring, standard, scripted questions like, “on a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the training you received while working at Verizon?”
Then, it happened. She asked the question that I was scared to be asked, and not for the reason you might expect.
“On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with your decision to work for Verizon?”
That was it. I lost it. Absolute, uncontrollable, emotions. She could hear me through the phone, fighting to keep it together.
“Are you OK?”
“No. I’m really sorry about this. Can you give me a moment?”
“Yes, take your time.”
I slowly opened the door to the office and peeked out, desperately hoping nobody was nearby to see me crying. I was in luck. The coast was clear. I quickly grabbed a box of tissues and returned to the comfort of solitude in the office.
It took a couple minutes, but I regained myself. “Sorry about that,” I apologized, again. “It’s not a problem at all,” she said, reassuringly. I was ready to answer her question.
“If it were possible to give a score above 10, I would do it in a heartbeat.”
I sincerely, whole-heartedly appreciated the two people who helped me get that job (my friends Mark and Cam) and the many, many people who contributed to my success along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help.
For those of you who may be thinking that Verizon is influencing me to write this emotional, glowing review, let me make one thing crystal clear: working at Verizon is definitely not all roses. Yes, my employee benefits were top-notch, the quality of my co-workers was through the roof, and the pay was… let’s say “exceptional”. All this could be yours with a career at Verizon, but please note, you will be challenged and you will be pushed to your limits by both management and customers. It all comes with a price.
While I still had her on the phone, after the interview was over, and I was done giving suggestions on how the company can be better, I courageously said, “there’s one more thing that I want to talk about.”
“What’s that?”, she said with anticipation. She probably couldn’t believe I had more to say after talking for about 45 minutes already.
“I want to say something for the record, as a customer of Verizon for over 12 years, and as a soon-to-be former employee of five and a half years, I don’t appreciate that Verizon has helped, and continues to help, the Federal government spy on 320 million Americans and billions of foreigners, violating our 4th Amendment rights, and invading our privacy.”
To my surprise, she didn’t dismiss my comments and quickly push me off the phone. We actually had a polite, cordial conversation about the topic. As you might expect, she sided with the illegal spy programs and the company that pays her, but I was OK with that. I just wanted somebody at corporate to know how I felt.
She thanked me for sharing my opinions, we hung up, and I left the office, this time with drier eyes.
A few days later, most of my former co-workers and I went out for appetizers and drinks and I finally told them what I was planning – to sell most of my stuff and travel for a while. They responded with joyous approval. I can tell you, I definitely needed and craved their support.
And with that, a major first step on my journey was behind me. I used the next few months to relax a little, plan my travels, sell most of my stuff, visit family, and prepare to travel. Let the next chapter begin!