There's that age-old saying that applies to major decisions in your life: "When you know, you know." And when it comes to my sanity, happiness, or financial future, it's a saying that has rung true time and time again. Finding the right time to quit a job is never easy, whether you hate the job, love it but have to move on, or feel indifferent about it.
In my case, I knew that quitting a job after just a few weeks would be a far less painful experience than sticking it out. Continuing in the role, for me, would have led to the digging up of old career wounds and a horrible reversion in the progress I'd made both professionally and personally.
In just a short time at the job, I felt like I was in a nightmare remake of a Christmas classic, except this film would be called, Ghosts of Toxic Workplace Past. It was like allowing my ex to take me on a 10-day baecation cruise. Immediately, no.
And as much as I'm all for giving something (or someone) second and third chances (as I often did in the case of my ex), I'm a huge fan of Black women taking up space by not taking crap in order to prove our worthiness, tenacity, or stamina. As "strong" women, we're supposed to accept that "work 10 times harder" and big-girl-panties mission, even at a job that makes us miserable. Not only are we to survive, but we must overachieve and thrive. As my favorite auntie Betty Wright once said: No pain, no gain, right?
Well, after too many years of that, I now advocate for nipping things in the bud early, especially in matters of the heart and profession and especially when it's to your detriment.
While I don't recommend this as a smart option for every professional, it's a good idea to think through why you'd want to quit a job and when is best to do it. Here are a few red flags that led me to push the resignation button so soon:
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1. From day one, the job description did not match my understanding of the duties.
Keywords: my understanding. I often overthink almost everything in my life, so I definitely asked quite a few questions during the multiple rounds of interviews for the job. I also re-read the description and asked questions via email so that I could get a few things in writing before the actual offer was made. I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into. As someone with almost 20 years of experience in my field, I figured, hey, a few minor things might be adjusted, but the overall expectations of the job, the people I'll be leading, and the nature of the work, won't deviate much---at least not in the first six months.
Immediately upon starting the job, I noticed that not only was I suddenly given an extra team to lead, but the switcheroo was done very casually as if it were normal. I was taken aback and expressed that I was not aware that I'd be taking on managing more people than what was told to me during the interview process. The response: "Oh, it's just..."
Yeah, anytime someone of authority at work uses the word "just," it's a clear dismissal of what it truly takes to do your job, and from my experience, is a key sign that many of your valid concerns related to your job will be dismissed, whether passively or aggressively. And the dismissive responses to your concerns won't end. You'll end up a doormat and out of fear and obligation, take on more work than you have the mental capacity to do well.
You'll grow sick, physically, due to burnout, end up using the few sick days you have simply for a break, have none for when you actually do get sick, then be labeled "difficult" for finally setting boundaries one day in a frenzied act of tears and desperation. (Yep, this happened to me as well, which is why, again, this job clearly wasn't for me. Too many triggers. Too many oh-hell-naw signs to run. It was like being on a date with an ex.)
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2. For me, the actual (well... "updated") job requirements did not match the pay.
Again, keywords here: for me, as in, in my professional opinion based on the job's requirements and market value for the role. Additional team members were added, along with the time, energy, and talent it takes to manage them, with no raise in pay or update on my benefits package. None.
Do I need to say more? I'd worked at major companies and for major brands---proven myself time and time again--for almost two decades, with the career receipts and education to prove it, only to be flagrantly asked to do the extra work for free. And as a Black woman, I found it even more insulting.
3. My "manager" had totally different work experience and credentials that I felt were unrelated to mine.
While this particular person was amazingly welcoming and great at what she did, her talents and skills were for a totally different aspect of the business than mine, yet she was serving as my supervisor. I also learned that she'd floated around to various "management" positions in different departments. She'd been taking on multiple jobs and "helping out" in order to onboard me.
In my experience, I've known that professionals who do this are often either looking to be promoted elsewhere or are the go-to person who takes on tasks nobody else wants to do. I also knew that this was a recipe for disaster, especially if I would be looking for leadership and/or mentorship support in my role.
It seemed to me that this person was simply biding their time until a better opportunity came along or that the person was doing a favor for someone in order to advance in some other way at the company. Also, if the person judging me on my performance does not have the educational or professional background and/or credentials I have, how can they offer a fair and reasonable review of my work, especially in my role as a manager? This, too, just seemed too problematic.
4. I was given the responsibility to lead a team that was already emotionally battered from previous issues at the company.
During my first few weeks, I knew it would be a smart move to have one-on-ones with the teams I was meant to lead. The company had gone through a series of lay-offs before they'd hired me, and my experience taught me that it's good to get a gauge of where the remaining survivors' heads were at so that I could be of service and approach managing them in a strategic way.
What I found from the one-on-one meetings were signs of disenchantment, disinterest in the questions I was asking, or lackluster responses when talking about what they love about working for the company. One person even seemed to be playing a game on his phone while in the meeting. There were a select few who were enthusiastic, welcoming, and forthcoming, but they seemed to have differing versions of their own roles and responsibilities. And the team members who were positive were newer hires, just like me.
The majority of the team seemed like they didn't even want to be there or as if they'd rather have been talking to someone else, maybe a previous manager who was laid off. As much as I love a challenge, at the time, I just couldn't stomach the idea of having to fight through and win the team members over. I just didn't have it in me. I'd be tasked with not only meeting certain company deliverables attached to my role but also appeasing the hardened hearts of disgruntled workers who'd been working at the company for years.
No, thank you.
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5. I found that I'd constantly have to re-affirm my credentials and skills.
As much as this is often seen as a "norm" at companies, I'd had my fair share and was tired of it. I went solo as a self-employed consultant for this very reason. I would no longer tolerate work environments where I didn't feel affirmed by those who managed me or who had the power to back me up when I'd need to assert authority. I also would not waste my time re-affirming what was already talked about during the interview process and was the very reason I was hired. This happens to Black women in leadership all the time and it not only takes a toll on your mental health, but it doesn't allow you room to grow in leadership.
I've had jobs where I had to test to even make it to the final round of candidates, where I've had to interview with multiple members of small staffs, and where I've had to constantly play along with what's called "micro" aggressions that were very much notmicro or small at all.
And yes, I learned all of this after only a couple of weeks in that position.
Years later, I can say that quitting so soon was the best decision of my life. It was scary at the time because I wasn't sure how I was going to supplement my income, but God always comes through for your girl. And it helps that I'm not new to self-employment and the savvy of finding solutions to unemployment.
I went on to work with more freelance clients and made more money than I would have if I stayed at that job. I still have a flexible schedule, I can travel when and where I want, and I'm proud of the work I do, serving women professionals and entrepreneurs as both a coach and a seasoned journalist and editor. The companies I currently work with value my input and my experience and make me feel like a loved member of their fam. While I still face challenges, they're the type that allows me to grow in leadership and learn more about myself and the world.
So, sis, here's your confirmation: Don't wait for things to get worse. Send that resignation email (of course, after looking at your contract or offer letter) today. Stop second-guessing that gut feeling and go for yours. The time is now.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
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