Quitting a Job is an Emotional Rollercoaster [Flashback]

From time to time I’m going to be re-posting some of my favorite posts from the old SportsLizard Entrepreneur Blog that preceded Adam-McFarland.net.  I was fresh out of academia and in the process of leaving corporate America.  This was the true start-up phase for myself, my sites, and later Pure Adapt.

This post is a compilation of quotes and statements from January 2006 that I find particularly interesting looking back in retrospect.  I was in the process of quitting my job, moving from CT back to NY, and trying to explain to everyone I knew why I wasn’t nuts for quitting my job.  I’ve made a few comments inline in italics. So italics = 2009 Adam, everything else = 2006 Adam.  Got it?

I haven’t been posting as much as I like to lately, but it comes with good reason – I have been busy planning my future as a full time entrepreneur because I QUIT MY JOB TODAY! Anyone who has ever read this blog or talked to me knows that my passion lies in SportsLizard.com, not in being an engineer.

I think I later discovered that the passion I was referring to was more a passion for business and innovation and less of a passion for SportsLizard…although at that time I was really into sports collectibles.

As sure as I am that I made the right choice, it didn’t make leaving any easier. I spent a year doing a co-op at this company in college before coming full time after I graduated, so most of the people I have known for three plus years. They have all been an integral part in my growth and I will continue to turn to many of them for personal and professional support long after I leave. My leaving came as a shock to them. It was hard to avoid feeling like I am letting them down. The only comparable emotion that I have ever had is breaking up with a girl…except this felt like breaking up with ten girls in a row. Everyone was sad to see me go, but also very supportive of my decision, which made it a little easier.

That turned out to be a lot of lip service.  Over time, I realized that some of my co-workers were happy for me, but the rest were some combination of pissed and jealous.  I started to realize this before I left (as you’ll see below), and then it really hit home when I sent an email about a week after I left to several people I respected and knew well.  I asked for their quick opinion on something I was about to do with SportsLizard.  I got 1 reply.

One day after quitting my job, I came home to find the February issue of Tuff Stuff Magazine (the #1 Sports Cards and Collectibles Magazine) sitting in my mailbox. About a month ago, one of the columnists gave me a “heads up” that he was going to mention SportsLizard.com in his February or March column, but no further details and no early copy of the article for me to screen. Needless to say, I was anxious about what it said and how prominently (or not) SportsLizard.com would be displayed. SO, when I saw the issue, I dropped the rest of my mail on the floor, ripped off the plastic, and flipped to the Figure Fan column by Jeff Clow.  I scanned the article quickly and saw my name and SportsLizard.com each mentioned several times! It took about half an hour of me running circles around my apartment, jumping up and down to calm down enough to read the article.

This was such great timing.  I took the magazine into work the next day.  I intended to just show a few close friends, but it ended up getting passed around, eventually landing in the hands of my bosses boss…which I can’t say was a bad thing.  I think it helped stop a lot of the “you should really reconsider” talk.

So how did he [the Tuff Stuff editor] find out about my site? I always have read his column so I contacted him waaaaay back in July 2004 when I launched SportsLizard.com. Every time I have made a site change since, I have made it a priority to send him a personal email notifying him of the change and how it helps the hobby. I made it a point to develop a relationship with him. It just goes to show you that you don’t always reap the benefits of your hard work immediately.

I don’t have that same hard nosed persistence and tenacity right now.  I would just say fuck it and move on if that happened today.  In some ways that’s a good thing, but also it sort of isn’t.

This is obviously the first time that I’ve done the whole quit-my-job-to-run-my-business thing so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from people. A few weeks in, most people have been overwhelmingly supportive, but it appears that there are a few common misconceptions:

  1. I do not hate my job. I work for a good company with good people.
  2. I am not leaving CT because I hate it.
  3. I am not moving to NY to be closer to my friends & family.
  4. I am not “taking a break” from working to “find myself.”
  5. I am not going to get a job when I move to NY.

Those last two always drove me nuts, and it just shows how rare it is for people to leave their careers to start a business…especially early on in their careers.  I can’t tell you how many people encouraged me to get a job when I moved back.  Wtf.  Um, I had a job, and it paid really well.  If I wanted a job I would have just kept the one I had.

For a day or two everyone was in I’m-happy-for-you mode, but that has quickly turned into do-as-much-work-for-me-as-you-can-before-you-leave-so-I-don’t-get-screwed-over-by-you-quitting mode. My calendar is jam packed and people keep adding to it. I can honestly say that if I work my a** off for the next week I still probably won’t get everything done. Not to mention I need some time to clean out my desk, meet with HR, and socialize with friends that I won’t see very often in the future.

Worst two weeks.  Ever.  Seriously.  People were milking every little bit of work out of me that they could so that they didn’t have to do it after I left (and also so that they could “blame it on Adam” as I heard became the cool thing to do in the engineering department after I left). I really couldn’t wait to leave by this point, and I still had a week left.

I have officially resigned from my job as an engineer. Today was my last day. As of this moment, I am now a full time entrepreneur! I have never felt the energy and excitement that I feel now. I am going to live the American dream. There is no telling what the future holds for me and my business – the sky is the limit!

I have a weekend of celebrating ahead of me, followed by a week of moving. Although I will get some work done next week, my first “official” day will be February 6, 2006! 2006 will certainly be the most fun year of my life. Thanks to all of you who have supported me…I’m off to grab some beer.

I may have drank a little too much beer in those days…

I am getting frustrated with all of the questions [about why I quit and my plans for the business]. I am trying to handle them as best as I can, but it gets annoying when people ask questions that are either totally irrelevant or completely insult my intelligence. Based on what I’ve heard/read from other entrepreneurs is that it will never stop. Especially from friends and family, no matter how much you achieve. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this and it probably won’t be the last. Over time I’ll learn to deal with it (I hope), but for now it still makes me want to bang my head against a wall until I can’t feel pain anymore.

It never stops.  Happened about 3 hours ago actually. And it still drives me nuts.

2 comments on Quitting a Job is an Emotional Rollercoaster [Flashback]

  1. Rob says:

    Nice post Adam – thanks for reposting that and adding your 2009 Adam thoughts… you’re so right about it not stopping though – half of my friends are envious (but unwilling to ever try anything themselves), quite a few don’t seem to care (which I prefer to bugging me that I’ve got it better / am a dumbass) and a few people aren’t supportive at all… Including, in many instances, my girlfriend, which can be hard to deal with. Any time I bitch about having a slow week or somesuch, she asks why I don’t get a temp job!

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Oh man, I can totally relate to everything you just said. My friends are the exact same way. Glad to see that it’s not just me, or even that it’s not just people in the US!

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