Why my last “normal” job will be the last time I work for someone else

Self Employed and Loving It

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve written anything for myself. A shameful fact that I, personally, have a hard time owning. This fact haunts me as a result of what I’ve experienced for the past 10 months.

A former resident of New York State, I happily left that wasteland of poverty, unemployment and tax insanity and ventured out west — southwest to be exact.

I had contracted for a few years and as my husband and I were exploring the idea of adoption, I decided to try to return and fit the mold of a full-time employee working for someone else, instead of myself, to create what I thought was stability for my newly forming family.

Enter: growing SaaS company that needed a marketing division built.

After spending years working with IT and other companies as a consultant and contractor, I resigned to take the full-time, head of marketing position for a company that was in desperate need of development. Great product. Nice people. Zero marketing knowledge.

Great.

Flexible schedule.

Unlimited PTO.

Great executive team.

What do I have to lose?

As time progressed, the demand for my time, energy, and effort became incredibly high and I resigned myself to stick with it for the sake of my family plans and the company’s stability.

After new websites were created, social media was set up, case studies were built, graphics created, months had passed I found myself in a very interesting situation. Despite the “perks” of this position, the other perks I hadn’t expected to receive from this position were a horribly impacted work-life balance, chest pain, inability to focus, restlessness, sleeplessness, and the overwhelming need to constantly talk about it. All. the. time.

8 months into the job I found myself speaking with the C.E.O. and asking him about that team I was told I could hire after 6-months of starting at the company. As well as that pay increase we discussed because of metrics I had hit and also that funny little thing called equity.

Essentially, I felt I had fulfilled my end of the bargain — so, what was next?

It’s amazing to me that the answers to these questions came with multiple smooth-talking conversations, delayed deliverable dates, and the classic “We’ll talk about that soon once this project is done”, or my absolute favorite, “Just trust me.”

8 months turned into 10 months and I finally realized that I was being taken advantage of, disrespected, and as a whole — as a woman — not taken seriously whatsoever.

So, after many weeks of consideration on my end, I called the CEO and resigned. They were completely taken aback and offended. I clearly did not understand the opportunity I had by staying here.

My response to them was simply this: I understand this situation completely and respect myself too much to continue to be taken advantage of. It’s not that I’m not a good fit for this position— it’s that you’re not ready for someone like me at your company.

Plain. Simple. To the point. Because it’s the truth. After growing their business by over 300% in many channels, I felt completely justified in my response and appalled by their lack of inability to see these results — or what I truly think was a choice to pretend they didn’t exist.

So, here are a few lessons I learned and why I’ll never work for another company like this again, and most likely will never work for anyone other than myself:

  1. Make sure that you’re partnering with someone instead of working for someone. Partnerships are equal, level playing ground. There is instant and agreed upon mutual respect as well as an equal amount of risk to both parties which means that both equally have the same to lose if one gets out of line.
  2. Stop being a yes-man. I think the hardest thing for people in the workforce is to say “no” to people they work with or for. Not that it should be said without justification, but it definitely needs to be something that is practiced and used regularly to set boundaries with any person in your life. If someone lets you go for saying “no” for the right reasons, you shouldn’t be working there to begin with.
  3. Always demand skin in the game. If you’re at the start-up level or maybe a little higher, don’t accept any position without ample incentive to support the hours that you know you’ll need to put in to complete the task at hand. And unless you’re independently wealthy, don’t ever work for or with someone who doesn’t have the money to be successful. If you can’t pay to play, you can’t win in starting a business. Ask for financials. Demand equity. And don’t take “no” for an answer here.

There are so many more lessons learned that I will now provide to my awesome followers here on Medium in the near future, and I look forward to your feedback about these stories and experiences and encourage you to share your own.

It feels great to write again and to know that I’m worth pursuing my own path, being happy, overcoming obstacles, and giving back to others instead of being consumed by a task or business that doesn’t deserve me.

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