The first thing I left behind when I resigned from my job as an IT Consultant to start Doghead Simulations was a steady paycheck. I didn’t know that the fledgling company I was joining wouldn’t be able to pay me right away. I thought, quit my job, go to Beijing, show our brilliant idea and BAM, let the dollars roll in.
It turns out there are more steps to funding a company and therefore, one’s bank account than that. There are seed rounds, A rounds, B rounds… Rounds open can be extended, and are then closed for the next round to open again. There are rules to how many people can participate in each round and for what percentage. Not long after Beijing, Doghead did get funded.
Ideally, you want people to participate who will be your company’s partner. Like on Shark Tank, the sharks have more to offer than their coffers. They have influence, reach, and experience. Getting money is great but having someone who can give you money and non-tangible goods are best. I think those are the people who truly believe in what you’re trying to do too.
I think the biggest thing I had to leave behind was my business innocence. At Atos, I was in my cozy bubble. I knew how the organization worked. I knew what they expected of me and how they expected projects to run. I could go in and set up shop on a project without a struggle.
When I left to co-found Doghead, the bubble was popped. There were no templates to follow, no previous work to copy and paste. Everything was new and different. New and different was good. It was what I wanted. But boy was it eye-opening.
Leaving a place of work, when in good terms and by your own choice, is often bittersweet. I left behind co-workers that had been with me since I started working. They were my mentors and my role-models. They were my peers who with we shared inside jokes. Although we said we were never more than a LinkedIn message away, I knew that it was a more permanent goodbye. I was taking myself out of the circle and even though it was for the best, it was still the end of an era.
I left behind knowledge. One of the great things about switching jobs and companies is that you learn new skill sets, different way of doing things, and stretch your brain to absorb more information. However, sometimes you forget some things you used to know too.
While I still write about manufacturing from time to time, the truth is I’ve been out of the MES world for a couple years now. I still read articles about the latest manufacturing and technology trends but it’s not the same as being on the plant floor. I still reminisce about my favorite projects. Walking the assembly lines, watching our software in action, and talking to the operators about how they do what they do.
I left behind a company that gave me, a fresh college graduate, an opportunity. A company that helped me grow and supported my thirst for knowledge and experience. The important thing though, was that I left with another door open. I moved forward. As Elizabeth Taylor said, “I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.”