(*or at least it should be.)
I’ve done it. After being with the same advertising agency for five years, I’ve changed jobs.
I admit it wasn’t an easy choice. A friend from the US who lives in Germany once remarked that Germans tend to play it extremely safe when it comes to quitting their jobs – they will only do so if they already have a new contract signed. I’m very German in that regard. But this time, everything just clicked into its place and it felt right. The initial interview went smoothly, the second interview too, a contract was offered and signed.
Of course, a little uncertainty remained. Some friends ridiculed my choice, as the new job would bring no significant financial benefits. Apart from the playing it safe aspect, it is also generally understood in Germany, that when you willingly change jobs, you better trade up. But from my point of view, I did trade up. I was on the verge of losing interest – even hating – my job. And I didn’t want that. Shortly before quitting my old job, I attended a design event. One of the designers who spoke that day said: “If you design boring shit, one day you’ll only be hired to design boring shit.” It was an eye-opener and a good verbal kick in the arse. I’m not saying that everything I did at my old job was boring shit. Some of it was pretty good, especially for the tight budgets and limited number of people involved. But I wanted to learn new things. I wanted to be challenged.
And now, a little over three weeks into the new job, I’m glad that I did it. For the sake of my career and the love of my job. I’m still a little lost – the change from a very, very small agency to a fairly big one will do that to you – but I’m adapating. The lingo and the rules are slightly different and there are more people involved in the projects. But somehow, the change is refreshing. To me, there’s nothing more destructive than the feeling that you’re getting nowhere with your job. That you’re just treading water. It may be a bit idealistic, but the paycheck isn’t everything. And it’s a luxury to be able to think and act like that and I’m very grateful for it.