When I decided to leave my job, I did NOT take the decision lightly. I took a lot of time to think and pray about the whole process, and I geared myself up by consulting books that spoke to me on a personal level. After all, no two people can make this kind of decision the same way. I can only tell you what worked for me.
For years, I have enjoyed reading books on why other people make monumental decisions — career and otherwise. I have no idea why this matters to me except that I suppose I like to understand what makes other people tick. In light of that, the following list is compiled from books that encouraged me over the years to self-examine.
Setting the Stage Reading List
- Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood
- Here if You Need Me by Kate Braestrup
- The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
- What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson
- Jesus Did It Anyway by Kent M. Keith
- All That Is Bitter and Sweet by Ashley Judd
- Praying for Strangers by River Jordan
- Smile at Strangers by Susan Schorn
- When God Winks at You by SQuire Rushnell (not a mispelling, by the way)
- Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge
- Quiet by Susan Cain
All of those books in one way or another helped me understand more about myself, and I found great inspiration in reading about other people doing the same thing. If I had never bothered to read those books, I don’t know that I would have had the courage and wisdom to make the decision to walk away from a job where I really no longer belonged.
When I finally made the decision and informed my boss, I felt two things: total relief and sheer panic! (It was the oxymoron of emotions!) It wasn’t the simple thing of placing an order at a restaurant and then instantly realizing that you don’t want what you’ve just told the server. Nope! Once you tell your boss that you’re leaving, you can’t really take that back and still look professional…especially once they’ve hired your replacement! There were a couple of times where I almost went back and said, “I was just kidding…really…I’m staying…because I fear change.” Yep! I almost went there, but instead, I reinforced my decision on a steady diet of prayer and reading.
Prepping for Departure Reading List
- What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 by Richard Nelson Bolles
- God Is Always Hiring by Regina Brett
- Let Hope In by Pete Wilson
- All the Places to Go, How Will You Know? by John Ortberg
- In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
- What Keeps You Up at Night by Pete Wilson
These books helped me overcome the fear about my decision by reminding me that all change involves risk, and failure isn’t always a bad thing. Where do we learn best but in the arena of failure?
I still need reminding frequently that I made the right decision so I often find myself diving into other books for perspective. The great thing about perspective is that it changes every day with our growing experience and knowledge. Strangely enough, I found two articles after I left that reinforced my decision for multiple reasons, and they also made me think more about why other people leave a seemingly “good” job. If you’re interested in the same sort of thing, check out these two resources:
“Top 6 Reasons People Quit” by Ed Rappuhn (The Tennessean)
“9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit” by Dr. Travis Bradberry (TalentSmart)
So I might still be trying to figure out exactly which direction that I’m heading, but at least I know that I took the right exit at the right time. Everything after that is just part of the adventure.