Great guest post by Marc Ellison, Social Media & content Analyst at BNZ

Even though it’s been five weeks since I handed in my resignation, I’m still finding it difficult to believe I’m leaving the best professional environment I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of.

That’s right; I quit the best job I’ve ever had after just 12 months.

The obvious question is why?

The simple answer is: it just makes sense (and hopefully some cents).

My wife is from Belfast and we have three children aged 7, 3 and 4 months. As many of you will know, being a parent is demanding and my wife and I are needing more hands-on support to ensure we’re at our best more often with the kids. More often than we’d like, we find ourselves low on sleep and patience. We’d like to be better versions of ourselves and see the family support on offer in Northern Ireland as a way to be that.

My wife’s family (her mum and dad, brother and two sisters, three nephews and niece, not to mention countless cousins) all live within 15 mins drive of one other. The opportunity for our children to grow up with such a large and involved family is too good to pass up. To add to that, the sense of community in west Belfast is more engrained than what we have experienced here in Auckland.

Whether it be stopping for a yarn at the local supermarket with a cousin-in-law, to waving as you drive by the neighbour’s son on his weekly eight-mile country run, the interactions in Belfast last longer, have more meaning and engender a deeper connection with friends and family. People genuinely care about one another.

The cost of living in Belfast is markedly cheaper than in Auckland. While you’re giving up the outdoor lifestyle that the weather in this part of the world provides and the safety of being at the arse-end of the globe offers, I’m really looking forward to seeing my pounds go further at the supermarket counter and hopefully laying the foundation to buying our first home. The task of having a 20% deposit for a house in Auckland is a mighty one, while in Belfast you’re only talking about a 10% deposit required for a three bedroom, two bathroom property in a beautiful part of Belfast for £180,000. We could have a deposit saved in three years.

Anyway, back in Auckland, we’re currently waiting on feedback from my settlement visa application. We’re expecting a positive result and are doing our best to remain patient for the outcome while we pack up our lives to head to the northern hemisphere. The wait for the visa is a challenge in itself, but more on that at another time.

Meanwhile, back in the office, I’m leaving the team in the lurch as we look to round out the financial year with some positive results. Part of my role is to ensure that our good work as a team and as an organisation is both measured and communicated to the wider business. Without someone there to crunch the numbers and provide analytics and insight, our good work may well go unnoticed.

My role offers me a wonderful opportunity to collate a whole bunch of data from our social media platforms and our new website and turn it into useful analysis and insights that the business can utilise to improve our products and services. Anybody who knows me, also knows how much I love a good stat, especially when it comes to sport.

Ultimately, I hope it helps people be good with money so that they can do great things with it. Now, that’s a mission statement I can really get behind. Educating people to make better use of the money they have so that they can live more fulfilling lives is surely something we all want, let alone be a part of facilitating the process for others. Being a small cog in the large wheel that is BNZ and helping to create positive change for our customers instills me with a great sense of pride.

My people leader has been extremely supportive in the wake of my resignation, as has her people leader. I couldn’t ask for any more from both. I requested some leniency with my final date based on the fact we don’t know when we will get an answer from my visa application and they have handled the uncertainty like well-trained professionals; regardless of the fact that it adds a whole heap of tasks to their already difficult-to-manage weekly and monthly to-do lists.

Perhaps the greatest thing about BNZ is the culture; I feel valued as an employee and as a person. I constantly feel as though I’m adding value to the organisation and, as a result, I’m intrinsically motivated to do great work.

I must say, I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of a team of like-minded individuals at a similar stage of life. In our day-to-day team of six, I’m the only male, but in this environment it doesn’t feel that way. I’m just another member of the group who is lauded for my ability to drop numerous dad jokes on a daily basis. I’ve been handed the moniker ‘Coach Cark’ for my persistence in encouraging my teammates never to take the easy option with their diet or their gym regime, as well as the fact that I’m not just Mark, but I’m Marc with a ‘c’ (you really need to search Google images “Marc with a ‘c'” to get the full picture here).

All of these factors have combined to make the decision to leave the best job I’ve ever had even more difficult than it already is. Literally, “at the end of the day” when I sit down and wonder why we’re exhausting ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and financially to make this move, my gut feeling is that it’s the right call for us as a family. And, that’s enough for me to know we’re doing the right thing.

Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU.

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