I am writing this because today is the 5th anniversary of the day that I made the most important decision of my life: Quitting AIG in haste, in order to start my job at Voice123 on Monday, July 2nd, 2007; the current job I hold right now. Keep in mind…This is AIG before ‘government bailout’.
On June 29th, 2007, five years ago today, I was sitting in my cubicle at 125 Water St, thinking about what I had done at AIG. I had a great deal to be proud of, but I also had an important life changing decision to make in one afternoon. I had been offered a job at Voice123, and as you see, I wanted it. I had to decide TODAY. Yet, I still had a bit of a problem. The success I had at AIG was important to me, but I was working for middle-manager who one month prior attempted to ‘write me up’ for leaving work early. She tried to do the ‘write-up’ and did not believe my medical excuse (I have epilepsy). Worse, the outsourced HR department dropped the ball so badly because they did not have my records from previous departments I worked in. In short, I never made any threat of lawsuit, but someone lost their job over it and my name was involved, and this person was a friend of my current manager. Needless to say, I had stopped moving up in the company. Now in 2012, it is easy to say, “I would have just quit! Do what you love! Who cares!”, but in 2007, people still believed in 401K’s and working somewhere to build it, even if you hated the job.
I was also getting married in two months. At 2pm that day, I had not quit yet. My fiance then called me and told me that her mom was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease, and had to have a serious operation. I had to go see my new mother-in-law in the hospital, so I decided to do one more test to confirm with myself, “Yes, Steven…get out. You need to go!”. I went in my manager’s office and asked her for Monday off. Her way of telling me no was to give me a speech about operational guidelines, and because she was not officially related yet, the day off could not be allowed. And that was all I needed…
I went outside to make a phone call to Voice123 letting them know I would start Monday, and went back inside to finish my day; a changed person. At 5pm that day, I walked in to the manager’s office and stated, “That’s all for me. It’s been nice working with you.” My manager did not even look surprised. I walked out. If I didn’t security would do it. I discovered quickly that doing what I believe is right, knowing my own moral and ethical standards, and being willing to accept that if I work for someone else, a job is just a job. Sacrificing what I believe in for a paycheck handed to me by someone else, who really could care less about what happens to me, and allowing such people to be in control of my life decisions…is simply not worth it. It will lead to more heartache and failure, while draining me of the life energy that gives many the desire to work with me.
On this 5th anniversary, I remember the strength I had that day. I will proudly say that, although I am not a wealthy person financially, I have helped others get there. I have a wife who loves me, and compared to when I started in voice overs in 1992, I could care less what those who choose to think negatively, have to say about me or the people I work with. Does it make me thoughtless? No. I know what I want, and based on experience, know what others want. I can make it happen. If anything, I thank AIG and that middle manager (who lost her job 1 month later) for giving me a backbone. This guy with a backbone is the person you know today. Of course…I am not stupid enough to NOT thank Voice123 and YOU, the voice over community, for putting up with me these last 5 years. Trust me…No one is perfect. Some may just be a little more confident than others, even when naive with good intentions.😀 Given the people I have met while working here, and the places I have visited, I can only say to all of you…
If you have been thinking about making a life-changing decision, just do it. If you ignore that feeling of “I need a change”, you will never have the benefit of learning why, or why you did not, make a mistake. It is true…literally for some people…that all which does not kill you, only serves to make you stronger.
Ultimately, no one can take from you what you believe in, but you may very well give it away, if you do not make that life-changing decision.