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Why I Quit My Job (and what’s next)

Thursday, June 5th is my last day as the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Marketo.

No, I do not have another job lined up.
No, I’m not sure what I want to do next.

I’ve been living, breathing, eating, sleeping, and sometimes dreaming email marketing for nearly a decade. During that time, I’ve dabbled in social media, influencer relations, and most recently marketing automation and marketing software. When it comes to marketing, I’ve seen and been a part of a lot over the several years. I’ve loved (nearly) every second of it. The people. The conversations. The conferences. The blog posts. The debates. All of it.

Four years at Bronto. Two years at Blue Sky Factory. Two years on my own (Waldow Social). And ~9 months at Marketo.

Before I continue, let me be crystal clear about one thing … because I know you are wondering (I would be too).

My leaving Marketo has nothing to do with Marketo. It was a true honor to be recruited by and to work for one of the smartest people in the marketing automation/software space – Jon Miller, of course. Marketo is amazing – full of smart/talented/caring people, an incredible product, in a hot industry, and so on. Marketo has positioned itself as the market leader as it creates a “marketing first” world. There is no doubt in my mind Marketo will continue to grow and prosper.

So Why The Sudden Change? Why Am I Leaving Marketo?

I’m an “all in” kinda guy. When I commit to something, I tackle it with 100% of my energy. When I joined the amazing team at Marketo in September of 2013, I had the same “all in” mentality. As I wrote when I started at Marketo back in September, one of the five criteria for my ideal gig was “a job description that fits what I’m good at and what I love.” What I’ve come to realize is the “what I love” part – email marketing – is something I don’t love nearly as much as I used to.

How could this be? What was wrong with me? How could I lose passion for something I loved so much? A few months ago, I began doing some serious self-reflection. If you’ve ever been down this road before, you know it’s not easy. It’s been tearing me apart. I just couldn’t put my finger on what was making me so unhappy and dissatisfied with my career, until I realized I had lost my passion for what I knew and did best. 

Once I realized my passion for what I loved was gone, it was time to take a step back, to reevaluate what I wanted to do with my career, my life. I knew it was time to do something different.

I’m not sure what different means yet. As I said above, I don’t have another job lined up. I don’t have a set path for “what’s next.” Does that scare the hell out of me? You know it. However, it’s also pretty exciting. I have complete confidence it will all work out.

The bottom line is this: It’s time for change. When your title includes the word “evangelist” yet you are not passionate about the industry you are evangelizing … well … that’s a problem.

So, Really, What’s Next?

I need some time to clear my head. I need some time to really think. I need some time to re-discover my passion, re-discover what I really love work-wise and where I want my career to go. I need some time to exercise, to cook, and to spend quality time with my family. I need time to figure out what’s next.

Could my next adventure include email marketing? Or digital marketing? Or social media? Or influencer relations? The answer: Maybe. I just don’t want to limit myself just to those things I’ve done for the majority of my business career. Instead, I’ll be exploring all opportunities.

One thing I have not lost my passion for is people. I gain energy from being around other human beings. I’m a connector, a relationship-builder. I love learning from people, interacting with people, and generally just being around other people. As my online bios read, I’m a “lover of beer, coffee, & people (in no particular order).” Hmmm … maybe I could figure out a way to combine those 3 things and make a living. Ha!

The adventure continues … soon. Thanks for sticking around.

108 comments
carmenhill
carmenhill

How did I miss this?! Congratulations, and I totally get it. Doing similar exploration myself right now.

biggreenpen
biggreenpen

I left my job on May 2, three months shy of my 20 year anniversary. Many people have asked (I suppose since I wasn't immediately going elsewhere) "are you retiring?" and holy cow I want to say "I'm only 49!" (I know some people retire at that age but ... NO. It may sound hokey but honestly I was not leaving my kids the kind of legacy I wanted to leave them by remaining where I was (a place where I used to LOVE being the evangelist). And I think that's part of it - I am more evangelist and less foot soldier. Props to you for following your heart. I'm glad to connect with you. I'll blame / thank Air B&B and their logo. LOL.  

abelniak
abelniak

I probably can't add much more than the 101 comments here.  But - awesome post!  More to follow later, likely offline.

SusanMKim
SusanMKim

DJ- Ever since you wrote incredibly insightful posts back in your Blue Sky Factory days (I live in Baltimore and used blue sky as a vendor) I have been impressed with your how nakedly honest you are-- in a good way.  When I saw on linkedin you were leaving your job I thought-- wha???  Kudos to you for being uber honest with yourself.  Anyone that's been reading your posts knows that you're going to be a rock star at whatever you decide to do next.

seancarp
seancarp

Good luck DJ. I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Like Whitesnake famously said, "I don't know where I'm going...but I sure know where I've been."

Cole_Watts
Cole_Watts

They can pay you an endless amount of money, but if your heart is not in it there's no point to be doing it.


I wish you the best of luck on your next endeavors DJ.

Alison Morrison
Alison Morrison

I completely believe in doing what you love, and following your passion, but find it hard sometimes to commit to that. I commend you on your decision and honesty, and I'm sure you will go on to do great things! Take care! :)

JohnDoyle1
JohnDoyle1

Best of luck to you as you sort things out!

corinamanea
corinamanea

Wow, that´s something. Not everyone is willing to make not only a serious self-reflection, but to take action upon it. Many get stuck in that job, ´cause "it pays the bills".

With this attitude I am sure you will find your new path. The best of luck!

And what @ginidietrich said :) You´ll love the book, really.

redcrew
redcrew

Wishing you the best! And looking forward to hearing what's next for you. 

CindyVenckus
CindyVenckus

Wow! I did not see that coming. I always thought you should be in education. You will be amazing at whatever you decide to do next.


careybbaker
careybbaker

#fistpumping for following passion, being brave enough to make the choice and for sharing your story.

I made a very similar decision in my life about 5 years ago.  The journey is beautiful if you open to all that is there.  One thing that I did that completely changed the game for me was CTI's Leadership Program (www.thecoaches.com/leadership).  I now lead that program as part of the work that I do.  I would love to invite you to be a part of the experience.  Please message me if you are interested.  Best wishes to you!

kksparks
kksparks

Huge news! I only foresee great things from you, so I'm excited to see where you land. Congrats and good luck!  

Peter
Peter

Good luck DJ!  No one has more passion than you.  Whatever you do next,  I know you  will go "all in".

voyicks
voyicks

You could work with small craft brewers and help them with their marketing. Lord knows they need it!

stevegarfield
stevegarfield

Good luck thinking. Follow me on twitter. Find me on Facebook. 

amwpeterson
amwpeterson

Best of luck, DJ. We have a (shrinking) keg of a wonderful Irish Stout...smooth coffee undertones to a great dark beer.  Sounds like it's right up your alley. We're brewing more soon... you'll have to try some if you make it up to Bozeman from lovely SLC this summer.  

amandalnelson
amandalnelson

Congrats, DJ. I hope to work together again in the future! Best of luck. :)

sharonmostyn
sharonmostyn

DJ, you never stop surprising me! Congratulations on this new step in your career evolution. If there's ever anything I can do to help, just ask. Keep in touch - I can't wait to hear what's next!

Amy Palmer
Amy Palmer

As always, props for the public honesty.  It's a rare thing. Now more time for wood fired pizzas! #pizzacontest


TechProExchange
TechProExchange

People evolve and so do our passions. What drives us at twenty-something may not be the same animal at thirty, forty or fifty-something - and there is nothing wrong with that! It's okay that what you found as a passion for the last ~10 years is not necessarily a passion within you now. Grow, evolve, learn and continue to do what means the most and provides the most (on all levels) for you. That is what makes all the difference!

ChrisQueso
ChrisQueso

The path ... the journey ... the beautiful struggle. I look forward to following your adventure!

djwaldow
djwaldow moderator

@corinamanea @ginidietrich EXACTLY. To be clear, we're also fortunate to be in a financial position that allows me to explore a bit. Thanks for your encouragement!

djwaldow
djwaldow moderator

@CindyVenckus Cindy! I mean ... if you are not passionate about what you are doing ... ? Right?

djwaldow
djwaldow moderator

@careybbaker Love that you are a #fistpumper. Ha! To be clear, I'm not following my passion ... I'm hoping to FIND my passion. Ha! Would love to learn more about CTI's Leadership Program. Can you email me some deets? djwaldow gmail.


Also, what does a "spiritual gangster" do?

djwaldow
djwaldow moderator

@Peter Thanks Peter!

djwaldow
djwaldow moderator

@stevegarfield Thanks Steve. Wait. Why should I follow and find you? Ha! Well played. Couldn't you figure out a way to put the icons in the comment? WTF?

djwaldow
djwaldow moderator

@amwpeterson Oooh. That sounds great. Actually living in California now so it will be a longer drive/flight. Ha!

djwaldow
djwaldow moderator

@TechProExchange VERY true. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

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