(Disclaimer: I’m definitely not leaving InVision — I STILL have all kinds of opportunities for growth here right now, at this point they’d basically need to drag me away! ❤️🤗🙌 I left a team I loved to join InVision. It was incredibly hard, but so worth it! Always keep an open mind about new job opportunities.)
For 8 years I worked for a small startup with an absolutely incredible team. My VP Jason Coudriet and Manager Sara Hardy legitimately changed my life when they introduced me to the magical world of UX. They supported me and mentored me and made me into the designer I am today. They also instilled in me a deep love for the design community as a whole. I loved our entire team, we were like a family.
During the 8th year, a team member at a small startup called InVisionApp contacted me about a job opening. I had been using their software for years and was obsessed. The startup where I was currently located was structured in a way that the role I was in didn’t have the opportunity for upward career trajectory. Since UX was my passion, moving into another role wasn’t something I had any interest in. The opportunity at InVision was a new role that would give me the chance to choose my own adventure from a career path standpoint due to the extreme rapid growth of the company (when I interviewed there were 50 employees, now we’re over 650 which completely blows my mind).
As incredible as the job at InVision sounded, I was still conflicted about leaving because I loved my company and my team so much. My VP Jason was EXTREMELY supportive, and excited that I had the opportunity to pursue my passion at an even larger scale, with opportunities to move forward in my career. At one point he even told me that if I didn’t pursue the job, he’d be a little disappointed since the opportunity was incredible and he knew that I wouldn’t be able to grow as much professionally if I stayed. Obviously I took the job and am having an INCREDIBLE experience at InVision.
I bring this up because recently I’ve seen a lot of people chatting about how some rapid growth startups are losing employees to other, smaller startups, and they assume it’s because they hated their jobs, or their teams, or had negative experiences with leadership. That is definitely not always the case. In fact, I’ve recently had several friends leave rapid growth startups that had grown to midsize companies for smaller startups because they are addicted to small startup culture, and their favorite part of the experience is being able to help grow a tiny company from the ground up.
If you’re given an amazing opportunity to grow professionally, don’t shoot it down or discount it immediately just because you’re content where you are. Also, don’t feel bad about applying for other jobs even if you love the one you’re in. If the people you want to continue working with are truly friends, and your managers are actually as supportive as you believe they are, they’ll be sad to see you go, but excited for you to have the chance to pursue your dreams.
If that ISN’T their reaction, and they’re angry that you’re leaving, or angry that they spent time mentoring you and helping you grow professionally and feel that you owe it to them to stay forever as a result, then it’s even better that you’re leaving. An “I trained you so I own you” work culture is a really, really terrible thing to be part of. Those folks will block your career growth for the rest of your life if you let them.
Leaving a company isn’t something you do solely if you hate your job. It can be something you do when you love your job and team, but need opportunities to continue to grow in ways your current company can’t provide. So get out of your own way, and start moving onward and upward!