Written By: Somen Mondal, CEO at Ideal
I thought I had it all figured out. Finally! I landed my dream job. Not even just my dream job, anyone’s dream job (or so I thought). I found myself in the capital markets at a huge national bank.
Fresh out of my MBA program, this was definitely the “in” job at the time. Everyone seemed to find the title impressive. It was a great job to name-drop at a cocktail party. It was lucrative and my parents were happy.
8 months later, I quit.
I was asked, “Are you crazy?” from just about every person I knew. I was fielding the question, “Why did you quit?” left and right.
Before I get into it, I want to make it clear that I’m definitely not suggesting that everyone should pull the plug on their day jobs. I believe that there are fulfilling jobs for everyone out there, even if they take a while to find. In fact, my company Ideal matches salespeople with their dream jobs every single day. These are simply the three things that pushed me to start my own company. Instead, I’d suggest you consider my three reasons as a framework to make career choices.
This is why I quit my lofty banking job.
“I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.” – Trent Reznor
It may sound nice, but I actually think it is dangerous to get too comfortable in your career. Getting by and being comfortable with a 9-5 was just never for me. Although comfortable, I found those types of jobs boring, no longer challenging and as a result, no longer exciting.
If I’m comfortable, that means I’m not trying my hardest.
If I’m comfortable, I’m not worried about my decisions or the outcome of my work.
I asked myself, “What’s more exciting: driving your car in cruise control down a highway or manually shifting and racing around corners?” Being comfortable is cruise control. Simple. Easy. You could almost do it with your eyes closed. After 8 months at my cruise control job, I needed to round some corners. Cruise control is actually my biggest career fear.
“The minute that you’re not learning, I believe you’re dead.” – Jack Nicholson
If I’m not continually learning, I’m not interested. Generally, the pursuit of mastery is very rewarding. I have found the challenge of mastery and the thrill of finding it very fulfilling at many times in career.
However, the second you master something, it’s time to move on.
I believe you should always be chasing a moving target. If I master something, that means the challenge was too easy. I want to be continually learning. I will always work towards improving myself and continuous learning is key to that. In my comfy job, I found I learned a ton in the beginning, but the learning decreased drastically over time. Once the velocity of learning started to decrease, I knew it was time for a change.
“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
I always want to know that my work is relevant. It doesn’t have to be the number one project or even the focal point at the time; but to me, there’s no worse feeling than feeling my work is unneeded. If my work doesn’t have an impact, even if it’s a tiny impact, I can’t deal with it. At my comfy job I was finding that my work didn’t seem very important. I no longer felt like my work was making an impact.
I was just another number in the HR system.
This led to some important questions I had to ask myself. Why do I go to work? What do I want to get out of my job? How can I turn my job into a meaningful career? I chose to start my own business as a result of some of these answers.
Whether you are starting a company or even a lemonade stand, my advice is the same: avoid cruise control, keep learning and make an impact. If you can do these 3 things you are setting yourself up for success.
Do you quit your comfy job? Are you dying for something new? Please comment below and share your thoughts.
About Somen Mondal:
Somen is the Co-Founder & CEO of Ideal.com. Prior to Ideal.com, Somen served as Co-Founder & CEO of Field ID until it was successfully acquired by Master Lock LLC in 2012. Somen’s leadership has helped earn Field ID a spot on the Profit Hot 50 and Deloitte Fast 50. In 2012, Somen was named winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Today Somen and his team are helping match talented salespeople with top employers, you can learn more here.