Should I Quit My Job?

Don’t quit. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Only the strong survive. But what if you’re in the wrong job? If you quit now, did you fail? Or win?

A subscriber wrote to me this week:

“Are there days you want to just quit? I am truly at that point and need to get some advice on how to push through. I am just not happy where I am at the moment.”

After talking to him for a while, we both knew. He was in the wrong job. After many years of tremendous success in individual contributor roles, he’d spent the last few years in a supervisory position.

He’s worked hard. Learned new techniques. Read the best blogs. But, he was miserable. He didn’t want to “quit” for fear of failing. So he worked harder, and felt worse. Perhaps you’ve felt this way.

9 Indications You’re In The Wrong Job

You’re…

  1. Grouchy – Cranky leaders spiral downward, lose influence, and sap energy.
  2. Not Making An Impact – Effort exceeds results. Dissatisfaction dominates. Teams disengage. You go home defeated.
  3. Unable To find Your People – No kindred spirits in sight. Unsuccessful searching for respected mentors aggravates the loneliness.
  4. Not Using Your Skills – Wasted gifts. No matter how hard you try, you can’t find a good way to leverage your best skills to improve your work.
  5. Emotionally Exhausted – Even the fun stuff feels hard. There’s no energy left for the after work activities that make life good.
  6. Trapped – Motivations comes from the periphery, not the job money, benefits, fear of having failed. You secretly wish you’d get fired.
  7. Overwhelmed – It’s all too much. There’s no way to get it all done.
  8. Quiet – Your refuse to talk about work to your family or friends. Even the question, how was your day makes your hair curl.
  9. Sick – A day off makes it worse. Thinking of the return creates headaches or inspires escape behaviors.

What would you add?

Before You Quit

It may be you’re in the wrong job. That’s okay. There’s a right job out there. Quitting doesn’t make you a quitter. Here are some suggestions:

  • Go slow. It’s much easier to get a job when you have a job.
  • Keep up the effort at your current job. Don’t quit in place.
  • Take care of yourself. Take a vacation. Take time to exercise and sleep.
  • Think about other jobs orvolunteer gigs that you loved. What skills did you use? What did you find most fulfilling? Make a list of these characteristics.
  • Arrange for informational interviews. Learn more about jobs you may enjoy.
  • Talk to your boss (pause first)
  • Share your feelings and explore options. Your boss may be relieved that you see the issue. Listen. There may be ways to modify your situation, or find other jobs within the organization that are a better fit.

What would you add?

One Dip or Two? Lesson's From Seth Godin's The Dip

How do you know when to muscle through and when it’s time to stop? This concept, coined by Seth Godin as “the dip” is vital to understand in our own work and in our leadership of others.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”
~ Thomas Edison

Every now and then a young leader will approach me for my story, “what did you do to get here?”

When I share a bit about the less than glamorous journey, including commuting to the Bronx from Baltimore for months on an almost daily basis during my stint as a single mom or the travel I am doing now to small towns across the country where you can be sure to find a Waffle House, I get the same reaction. “Oh.”

Seth Godin writes well on this subject in The Dip. He describes the value of slogging through the tough times on the right pursuits, and knowing when to quit the wrong ones. As Kenny Rogers would say, knowing when to “fold em,” frees up time to work on what will make you great. He compares 3 scenarios and how to know them when you see them.

Godin’s Big 3

  • Dips (hard times you need to get through to learn, grow, and achieve)
  • Cul-de-sacs (dead ends, where more hard work and slogging is unlikely to help)
  • Cliffs (dangerous pursuits leading to disaster)

I am very familiar with the dip. I am currently in the deep throws of at least 2 or 3 big dip servings, and am keeping a keen eye out for some early signs of culdesac.

It is vital to pay attention to where you invest your time. His concept of quitting with integrity is important.

However, I disagree with his premise that “being the best in the world” is always a useful objective, and a reasonable criteria to judge quit worthiness.

Lots of important contributions are made from folks who are great, but not necessarily “the best.” If we have too much quitting going on, the world will lose out.

He uses the analogy of the Boston Marathon, and how most quitters, quit in the middle of the race, during the “Dip.” True. I’ve run it, and the middle is tough, and it feels great to get through it.

What I think he is overlooking is that just qualifying for the Boston marathon is a huge deal for many runners, a great goal and a fun achievement. Lots of regular folks have big fun and become stronger working toward this goal.

They have already pushed through a few dips. Most will not be the best in the world, and it doesn’t matter. There is value in journeys that do not end in greatness.

Godin shares, “the problem with infinity is that there’s too much of it.” That’s the fun part.

We have so many choices and so many chances. For ourselves, and to offer as options for those we lead.

One Dip or Two? Lesson’s From Seth Godin’s The Dip

How do you know when to muscle through and when it’s time to stop? This concept, coined by Seth Godin as “the dip” is vital to understand in our own work and in our leadership of others.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”
~ Thomas Edison

Every now and then a young leader will approach me for my story, “what did you do to get here?”

When I share a bit about the less than glamorous journey, including commuting to the Bronx from Baltimore for months on an almost daily basis during my stint as a single mom or the travel I am doing now to small towns across the country where you can be sure to find a Waffle House, I get the same reaction. “Oh.”

Seth Godin writes well on this subject in The Dip. He describes the value of slogging through the tough times on the right pursuits, and knowing when to quit the wrong ones. As Kenny Rogers would say, knowing when to “fold em,” frees up time to work on what will make you great. He compares 3 scenarios and how to know them when you see them.

Godin’s Big 3

  • Dips (hard times you need to get through to learn, grow, and achieve)
  • Cul-de-sacs (dead ends, where more hard work and slogging is unlikely to help)
  • Cliffs (dangerous pursuits leading to disaster)

I am very familiar with the dip. I am currently in the deep throws of at least 2 or 3 big dip servings, and am keeping a keen eye out for some early signs of culdesac.

It is vital to pay attention to where you invest your time. His concept of quitting with integrity is important.

However, I disagree with his premise that “being the best in the world” is always a useful objective, and a reasonable criteria to judge quit worthiness.

Lots of important contributions are made from folks who are great, but not necessarily “the best.” If we have too much quitting going on, the world will lose out.

He uses the analogy of the Boston Marathon, and how most quitters, quit in the middle of the race, during the “Dip.” True. I’ve run it, and the middle is tough, and it feels great to get through it.

What I think he is overlooking is that just qualifying for the Boston marathon is a huge deal for many runners, a great goal and a fun achievement. Lots of regular folks have big fun and become stronger working toward this goal.

They have already pushed through a few dips. Most will not be the best in the world, and it doesn’t matter. There is value in journeys that do not end in greatness.

Godin shares, “the problem with infinity is that there’s too much of it.” That’s the fun part.

We have so many choices and so many chances. For ourselves, and to offer as options for those we lead.