Unlike other meetings, my heart thumped louder and I listened more attentively than usual - I was waiting for the perfect moment to reveal what had been on my mind for a while. Though I'd never quit a job before, I knew what I needed to say because I'd spent hours Googling, "how to put in 2 weeks' notice." However, nothing prepared me to adapt to the flow of conversation or the reaction of my manager. If I could approach the conversation differently, I would've told my manager that I had an urgent matter to discuss so that he could prepare to approach the meeting.
Why I Left
Living in San Francisco was emotionally difficult and I was not doing any UX design. I was unhappy, bored, and unchallenged. I realized pretty quickly that being around family and friends is extremely important to me, and without them, I lose intent, motivation, and happiness.
The skills I was praised for knowing in my interview were never exercised on the job. Instead, I was doing production work. For example, I resized and saved over 100 high resolution images to PNG. In another example, I inserted copy into an existing template, over and over again.
I never understood why I was doing the things I was doing. And honestly, I don't think my team knew very well either. There was no creativity, strategy, or analysis involved. There was no storyboarding, empathizing with personas, sketches, wireframes, prototypes, or research.
I felt like I was doing production work because there was no UX design work to be trained for. I was doing things just to be billable because at the end of the day, that's what matters most in consulting. I didn't like the feeling of being valuable only for my presence, and not for my actual skills, interests, or passions. I missed the elements that made UX design, UX design.
One of my dear colleagues told me that "the hardest part about leaving a company is leaving the people" and she couldn't be more right. During my time at IBM, I had the pleasure of crossing paths with some of the most inspiring, creative, and intelligent people. Though my time was cut short, the friendships and conversations I created will last forever.
"The hardest part about leaving a company is leaving the people."
IBM is a great company and in no way do I intend to imply a bad reputation of it. I am sharing my IBM experience because I think it's important to share that if you ever find yourself unhappy, you can do something about it. To me, chasing happiness is more worthwhile than chasing "success," especially, "success" in other people's perspective. I chose to follow the path that fulfills my values, happiness, and purpose in this world, and that required evaluating my situation at IBM, which ultimately led to my exit.