Chris Gomersall didn’t decide to quit his job at Facebook and Instagram out of the blue.
“It wasn’t this huge epiphany,” Facebook and Instagram’s first creative strategist told Business Insider.
The decision came about as his side business, cloud-based marketing software company Atomized, was just starting to take off in 2015.
“It was the fact that we had Fortune 10 and Fortune 50 brands writing checks to us,” Gomersall says. “At one point, they kind of looked over the top of their glasses at me like, ‘Who am I writing this check to? You don’t even work here, you work at Facebook.'”
Up until then, Gomersall had been devoting all his spare time to the side project. He said that juggling his responsibilities wasn’t too difficult, as he was passionate about both roles. In fact, Gomersall learned his supervisors noted that he had “greatly exceeds expectations” in his last Facebook performance review before he turned in his resignation.
“I thought that was so funny, because I was ready for them to say, ‘I can tell you’ve been distracted,'” he says.
But, despite the fact he loved working at Facebook and Instagram, Gomersall realised that he was too comfortable in his role.
“Anytime I start to get comfortable, I start looking for something to make me uncomfortable again,” he says.
Facebook’s culture also played a hand in getting him to make the leap.
“I have such a great emotional connection to Facebook,” Gomersall says. “It was always about contributing to a greater good. And I was just surrounded by these amazing, inspirational posters that said, ‘Proceed and be bold’ and ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ In the back of my mind, I’m like, ‘Well, I probably would start a software company and leave here.'”
So, in 2015, he decided to quit and dedicate his full attention to his Atlanta-based startup.
“I was running to something rather than away from something,” he says.
That mentality of quitting a job to pursue new dreams, rather than escape a bad situation, is something that he’s tried to pass onto his employees at Atomized.
Gomersall also recommends that anyone thinking about quitting their job sit down and consider what makes them happy.
“It starts with people stepping back and thinking about where they are and where they’d rather be, professionally and personally,” he says. “You only have one shot.”
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