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Why I dare to leave the company I love

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

The short answer: After 12 amazing years in two countries, multiple HR roles, I realized there was more for me to discover outside the company. I decided to follow my heart and ambition serving a broader community of leaders as Executive Coach and HR leader. And I’ll use the opportunity to spend time in Australia, my husband’s home country. 

The long answer to this is it…

I had my last day at the company I love and worked for on and off since 2002. I worked with amazing people that became friends. I acquired skills and knowledge in so many different fields. I got to work, lead and live in two different countries with tremendous financial comfort while growing a family. All things I will take with me and am so grateful for. 

It's not my first time leaving BASF, first as an intern, then working student, fixed-term employee. Yet, this time is different. I quit. A leadership position. And it’s been a hell of a ride, let me share my experience during this corporate transition. How and why I let go of all the comfort, the relationships, the business identity, the caring environment. 

At my farewell, my boss said he will miss my passion for people. And just having someone being so bold and simple, quitting their job and exploring the world. Others called me brave, some were at awe that BASF let me go. 

From the outside it looks like linear decision-making. As my dear friend and source of inspiration @Sonja Kirschner puts it: there is nothing more complex than humans. And anyone can turn this complexity into the life they want, appreciating what is there and inviting in what is missing. Being happy.

As a corporate veteran I can say from deep down that staying optimistic, engaged and accountable for your work in a large MNC is the hardest thing. I had to realize at a certain point it’s not for me anymore and I serve better outside of that. Yet I got to understand the tendency for complacency, stagnation of knowledge and inner drive, the noise around politics and natural human tendency to avoid difficult conversation. And even better I learned how to support leaders whom we need and I admire, to cut through this. To slowly and patiently get people off the comfortable couch, take away the bag of chips and get them engaged and motivated to learn.

So for me, living in the NYC area has elevated this thought process. There are endless sources of inspiration and knowledge on how to live and create the life you want. How to follow your heart and ambition. How to align this with your loved ones. How to ideate, chose, maybe fail and chose again. How to be entrepreneurial.

Below is a list of some original ideas I discovered here in the US. Also worth mentioning are the many innovative leaders I had the honor to meet at BASF Corp, RBL, argyle, Josh Bersin Academy, betterup, UnitedLex.

Brené Brown: dare to lead

John Stepper: working out loud

Michelle Obama: Becoming

Gabrielle Bernstein: The Universe has your back

B. Burnett & D. Evans: Design your Life

Kate T. Parker: Strong is the new pretty

One one last thought: knowing what you want, trying it out, doesn’t come over night. It builds up. I had started my coaching training at isb Wiesloch my own expense in 2013. Out of curiosity, making use of the long German parental leave and professionalizing my HRBP role at BASF. That's were I started discovering a whole professional world with amazing people. Never with a big strategic plan nor belief that this could actually become more. And maybe it won’t, but I'm sure it will be this or something better.

I see the light. @timhurleyphotography

Let’s stay in touch everyone. I will miss you. Thanks for everything.

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