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“Hey boss, my last day with PaperCut will be July 31, 2018”

The decision to leave PaperCut did not come easily for me. What happened after I resigned, however, reminded me of an incredibly valuable work/life/everything lesson. One that I want to share with you now.

“I need a change”

I had worked in the US PaperCut office for about two years before I spoke with my boss about needing a new role – a little change to freshen things up. I’m very passionate about PaperCut, its values and people, so I wanted to exhaust every option to stay.

After many months of discussions with leadership and People & Culture (HR), it seemed there was nothing available that (a) I’d want to do or (b) could be done from Portland, as our main office and functionality is based in Melbourne.

Out of options

So there didn’t seem to be another option: I emailed my six months’ notice that I’d be leaving PaperCut. My team was restructuring, so didn’t want them to plan on me being around, plus I had some big back-up plans of my own. But I mentioned that if another opportunity came up in the meantime, I’d love to stick around.

Sidenote: how awesome that PaperCut is the type of company you can give six months’ notice to and not be worried they’ll just tell you to hit the road tomorrow!

It’s funny how your mentality and behavior changes when you have “nothing to lose.” I suddenly became more confident in telling my managers and P&C what I really wanted!

  • I wanted to do marketing – writing, editing, creating – but didn’t know if I was good enough
  • I wanted to be relocated to Australia – heaven forbid I would’ve said that two months before; I didn’t want to come across entitled or presume I was worth the investment
  • I wanted to be an advocate that if someone is passionate about the company and is asking to stick around, that’s exactly the person you shouldn’t let leave!

And after I gave my notice, I actually got the nerve to blatantly say those exact things.

Stop, drop and hop

Well here I am today, writing on the PaperCut blog, so clearly there’s a plot twist coming up.

About five months into my six months’ notice, after I brought many other role ideas to the table, met with several people to see if they could use my skills on their team, had all-but lost hope, I got the message:

“Brenda, start thinking about coming to Australia by the end of July.”

And just like that, I took my dog to get vaccinated the next day. I started selling my furniture online. Coordinated arrangements with my family. Applied for a visa. Bought some big duffle bags. And hopped on a one-way flight to Australia.

It’s now 364 quick days since I landed here, which has me reflecting on the experience.

Why did I have to quit before I felt comfortable enough to say how I really felt? To express what I really wanted? Why do we tend to feel we don’t deserve our dreams? How could I have approached the conversations better, more transparently, to avoid the rollercoaster?

Lesson learned

Today, I’m sitting at my desk amongst the marketing team (check), in Australia (check), making as big of a difference at PaperCut as I can (check).

We won’t get what we ask for 100% of the time. Or even 50% of the time (sometimes it feels like less than 9% of the time!). But sometimes – sometimes – you will get exactly what you dreamt of!

I remember over eight years ago, my sister (a brilliant doctor in psychology, subtle brag) gave me some top-notch advice that, of course, I didn’t use but will forever more:

“The secret to success is figuring out what you want, and how to ask for it.”


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