Even after all the expatriation preparations I made up to today, my decision did not seem real. I was still here. I have not quit my job yet. The impending 9,000+ mile move has not quite sunk in yet. Until today.
When I walked into my office with a resignation letter in my hand, I was a little nervous. I was apprehensive at how my boss might react. Will he blow a gasket? Is he going to beg me to stay? Is he going to offer to double my salary?
Now, my boss is a good man. He’s not the kind of boss to whom you dream of saying “I QUIT!” and dance your way out the door laughing.
On my way to work, I had been mentally rehearsing the conversation. I prepared a few sentences to let him down gently:
My decision has nothing to do with you whatsoever, nor with the company. You’re a good manager and I’m going to miss working with our team.
I’m not even going to work with one of our competitors. My reason is not professional, only personal.
When I sat down with my boss and told him I’m leaving, he didn’t seem all that surprised. His reaction?
“So you’re leaving, huh?”
I respond with sincere assurances that my decision had nothing to do with him and that it was purely a personal decision. I hand over my resignation letter, and he asks “when is your last day?”
“That’s a Friday, right?”
“Okay,” he says as he scanned through my resignation letter. “So where are you going? Are you still going to live and work here [in Los Angeles]?”
“No, I’m moving to Southeast Asia.”
“Asia, huh? Wow,” he smiled for the first time. “Where specifically? Which country?” It seemed at that moment, he had forgotten about the fact that I’m resigning, and more fascinated with my travel plans.
I tell him more about my travel plans, which countries I’m planning on visiting and what I’m going to do there.
He laughed, and said “well, I’m happy for you. It’s a big decision, but it seems like a great opportunity for you. We will miss you, you’ve been a valuable team member. You’ve done some great work for us, and thank you for that.”
I smile in relief. That went a little better than I anticipated. I was surprised he took it so well. We then talk about closing all outstanding tasks and transferring my responsibilities, and go back to our desks.
Now this is getting real. I already quit my job. I soon will expatriate to the opposite side of the globe.
I get that not all bosses will be quite as accommodating as mine was. There plenty of asshole bosses out there. On the bright side, if you do happen to have one of these, the feeling of telling him to shove it will be even sweeter.