When it's OK to Quit

"You gotta know when to hold me, and you gotta know when to fold em." This famous line from Kenny Rogers song The Gambler (I may be dating myself here) rings with a lot of wisdom. As shocked as you may be to hear this, it is sometimes ok to quit. Yes, I said it; QUIT. But, but, but, you said that winners never quit and quitter never win. Yes, I agree. But, it's ok to QUIT. Sometimes. Let me explain.

A friend of mine has worked for the same company for over 30 years and risen to an executive level position. Most people would expect her to be happy and consider herself successful. Well, she doesn't feel that way. Shes been unhappy at this company for close to 12 years now. Why has she not left? I wonder too. For 12 years, she has griped and complained about work and how she no longer enjoys working there. By the way, at the time of this writing, she still works there. The last time she griped to me, guess what I told her? You got it right; QUIT!!!!!

If you don't like what you do, or the company you work for, don't complain about it, just quit. Save yourself and your company the hassle. Just quit. Move on, go do something you really enjoy. Why would you wake up everyday to go do something you don't enjoy? Life is too short to exist in this state, waiting for the weekend, or for vacation or to retire. There is something else that you should be doing, and you know it's out there. I've quit a few times, and boy did it feel good.

In 2002, I worked for a small moving company. I got bored after 7 months especially since there were no growth opportunities at this company. I knew it was time to quit, but I could not do it in a day or a month. I figured out what I wanted to do; start my own moving company, and put a plan in place to make it happen. It took me about 4 months to physically leave, but in my mind I had already QUIT. Here's the funny part, you may think my performance at work slacked off because I had checked out. No. I was actually doing much better. My excitement at preparing to exit gave me an extra boost. Don't get me wrong, I had my fears of whether it was the right thing or the right time, or the right business, etc. I had a lot of fears and doubts. The one thing that was bigger than all of them was my dissatisfaction with where I was. I could not see a future where I was.

So, here's how to QUIT YOUR JOB.

  • Face the Reality of your current situation: Till you are brutally honest about your present situation, and what your future would look like if you don't change the present, you will not have the burning desire to make the necessary change.
  • Write out when and why you took the job.
  • Why you don't like what you do. Be truthful about how you feel.
  • How you would feel if you spent the rest of your life doing what you do now.
  • What would you like to do?
  • Do you have the talent and skills to do what you want to do?
  • If you have the talent, how can you develop it while in your current job? This may require taking classes in the evening, volunteering with a group, or doing what ever it is for free to get some practice. At this point, your current job becomes the financier for achieving your goals.
  • Will the next step involve getting another job or starting a business? Be clear about what you want to do. I was not interested in another job, so starting a business was my alternative.
  • Figure out how much you need to start. It may not be as much as you think. Can you partner with someone else?
  • Planning is essential to success. So don't just rush into the new phase.
  • If you want another job, make sure you spend time looking for a place where you can use your talent in an environment that you enjoy.
  • Unless you have money saved up, DON'T QUIT without having a new source of income. When I gave my 2 weeks notice, I was fired the next day. I always wondered why the 2 weeks notice policy was there in the first place. I was planning on the pay for those 2 weeks, and was a little scared. It was rough, it I came through ok.

It was ok to QUIT my job because it was draining me. I ran my moving company  for about a year, and did quite well. I QUIT again (closed it down) to focus on a new business with my wife. Guess what? Now that I've finally found my Sweet Spot, I'm QUITTING again to focus on writing and speaking full time. I always knew I'd be a speaker but did not feel ready or adequate. Everything I've done in my past has brought me to where I am today.

If QUITTING brings you one step closer to your dream, what should you do? QUIT!!!!!

You have to QUIT the comfort of the shoreline to discover the beauty of the ocean.

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