I am about to celebrate the one year anniversary of the last day of my Day Job in a Cubicle. The Day Job taught me many things, both about myself and humanity in general, things I am still processing and folding into the pudding that is my life.
Things like how to decide whether people are looking you right in the face and lying. Things like how to keep your compassion for people who are screaming in your face. Things like accountability within systems designed to serve a greater good and what happens when you involve egos that serve only the personal and immediate good. Things like people who would rather play games than create a vibrant successful team.
Moms, help me out here…it sounds like working with toddlers. Am I right?
Now, how many times a day do the words “I QUIT!” come out of our mom mouths?
It’s like a frustrated fantasy that never comes true, a four letter cuss word that feels so good when we say it even though we know it solved nothing. Because, of course, we don’t quit. We just grab a cookie and keep slogging away. There’s work to do.
I just don’t have enough experience in quitting. I love thinking I am made of tough stuff, and stamina, and thrive with interpersonal adaptations. You can’t raise five kids and be a fluff. I’m good. There is no such thing as throwing in the towel.
As a matter of fact I have a meme that says “You may see me Struggle but you will never see me Quit”. Yeah, whatever.
Today, we’re going to challenge that concept. Which means I am also challenging myself.
Let’s talk about it for a minute.
“Quitting” carries nasty and judgmental connotations, as the worst thing you can possibly do, as the mark of failure and shame, a sign of weakness, and as the last possible option in nearly every situation.
Well, Except for situations that society decides to approve. (And now we have to decide which society we live in because that is constantly shifting around.) It gets tricky.
Who decided what was worth quitting and what was not? Who gets the thumbs up or the thumbs down? For example:
You can quit smoking but not a marriage.
You can quit a job but not college.
You can quit drinking but you don’t quit your sports team.
You can quit Facebook friends but not your family.
You should quit making videos but not quit writing blogs….
Who decided which way my thumb goes?
If I make the decision to quit….anything….if one of my kids comes to me with a conversation about “Quitting”, how am I going to handle the idea of it? What do I advise them? What do I advise myself?
Because, one year ago today, I sat down with a friend and wrote a letter of resignation. I had spent three months with all the signs that I needed to move on from the Day Job, but were ignoring them because I am not a quitter. So, instead of working smarter, I was working harder. Instead of bowing out gracefully, I was stubbornly putting my head down and trying to prove to myself that I was not a failure or weak or unable to “grow up and play with the big boys”.
What a joke.
There are games no one should have to play, just to earn a paycheck.
I’m saving the end of that story for next week, but I’ll leave you with some signs that it’s time to Quit; because Quitting has a place in intelligent decision-making and sometimes staying is the wrong thing to do.
I’ll see you next week. Bye.
Reasons to consider Quitting:
- Negative energy from it consistently overflows into other areas of your life
- You say “It’s just a job”, can do it with your eyes closed, are apathetic or complacent
- You don’t ever want to go to work, your gut is telling you to stop, you make careless mistakes
- Your boss or coworkers make you miserable or create a toxic environment
- You feel mentally or physically unwell from the situation
- Physical, mental, sexual, or emotional abuse
- You tried talking to the boss/coworkers to no avail
- Your pay or benefits are not worth the personal price you are paying
- Other jobs look exciting, your talents aren’t being tapped, the career has no future
- You don’t share the company vision or values
- You’ve been there too long, you’re burning out, there may be downsizing ahead
All of which can be applied to any job, including raising kids, as I found out. There was absolutely going to be downsizing in my company, right?
Okay, just for balance, here are some reasons not to Quit:
- You’re angry or sad about someone or frustrated with yourself
- You’re burned out and need a vacation
- You’re broke and don’t have the next job lined up
- You need medical or other benefits and you don’t have a bridge in place
- You’re acquiring skills for your next job
- Someone else says you should
- You don’t have a departure plan prepared
- You didn’t take a hard look at the company culture to see whether improvements were incoming