To Quit or Not to Quit Your Cushy Job

I haven’t read Quitter by Jon Acuff and after my client mentioned it to me by sharing a passage from the book, I am pretty glad I did not see it when I was on the verge of leaving my corporate hell in May of 2011. Without reading the book, it is not fair to pass judgment but from that single passage, I’m pretty sure I won’t be reading so best not to talk so much about Quitter as to talk about what I think you should do when it comes to quitting or not quitting your cushy job.

After all, I’ve “been there and done that” too, and it bears repeating for my new readers: 11 and a half years, a long and successful corporate career at a Fortune 100 company, 6-figure income and all the other lovely perks I gladly made working on little meaningless stuff and attending even more meaningless meetings in my yoga clothes at home.

Before you think me a spoiled little brat (ouch!) and move on, let me disclose a huge secret: All that didn’t happen overnight by itself!!! They didn’t hand it over to me on day 1 because I was the prettiest and smartest engineer on staff! No. Not exactly! They put me rock bottom, well below where I needed to start, and kept me there as long as they could no matter how brilliantly I performed for the first, oh, 4 years, and that’s about how long it took me to REALLY learn how to run my own career and to throw wishful thinking that “work hard and they will reward you” rubbish theory out the window!

From that point, I built that career, from scratch and with great pain along the way, with 80-hour weeks, with getting passed over for raises and promotions countless times, working weekends and nights for years, with dreading life while devoting myself to work. So when I got to the top and doubled my salary and decided how to work from home on my terms and how to be of service in my way to the company, I had paid my dues and strangely enough, earned the respect of everyone and became a top performer.

Anyway, this was exactly how it was supposed to unfold. You put your everything into something, you build it and then you reap the rewards, right? So I was reaping away … despite the lackluster leadership, the frustrating management, the dying culture, and the highly charged political climate, but hey, who doesn’t have a little excitement on their way to the top?

Except, the “top” wasn’t really the top I was going for, and the act of doing what I resented on a daily basis – the sum of which can be describe as a lot of NOTHING – while working for a company that I no longer respected, believed or loved was becoming too painful. Too much of a burden to carry. Too much of a suffering.

A little disclaimer: If you think it’s impossible to feel this way while you make a lot of money, then this blog post is not for you and you have a long way to go in your career and your job and I am happy for you. Plus I know precisely how you feel because I was in your shoes and hated everyone who talked this way because I wanted what they had so badly but my ego would not allow me to consider it. They are lucky. I am a victim. That was my motto. So I kept hating. It was the easiest response and the most regretful one down the road.

So the real point I am making today for you is this:

You should seriously consider quitting your day job IF…

… your health and well-being is suffering from the misery of doing your work, if the stress is slowly killing you and turning you into an unhappy soul, if you are in pain because you are not getting up everyday to do the work that you love and to know that you are making a difference, consider quitting. If you are in agony for being a corporate drone, for being a robot and wasting your life away at meetings that will mean nothing to anyone a month or a year down the road, and if you are dying to feel the ecstasy and fulfillment that comes doing meaningful work, making a difference and making money at it and especially if you can’t wait to become a barefoot executive, then yes, quitting is for you.

I am not saying quit without a smart exit plan. I am saying you need to think about quitting.

You should not quit your job IF…

… you are perfectly fine collecting the paycheck while hating the work, don’t mind putting in the hours, slacking off at work, being an average performer, and if you are not stressed about all the things that stress others and if you are just toying with the “what if” ideas of doing something on your own now and again. If you are not willing to put in the sweat and the heart that it takes to start something meaningful on your own, if you think of your dreams as a risk you can’t afford and a liability you can’t carry, if you are more interested in taking a vacation or spending time with friends and family and enjoying your hobbies – all of which are significant in their own right – than transforming your life, then quitting your job is a bad idea.

Maybe a side-hustle is a good idea for you. Maybe Quitter is a good book for you. Maybe later will be a better time to quit your job.

Been there, felt that pain, and hear you loud and clear

I get it. I get you no matter where you are because boy have I been in every single phase, every emotional roller coaster and every dilemma that I stated here in this blog post, so I hear you, I hear you loud and clear, and I can help you move past every single phase into the next phase that is right for YOU if you are ready (but not a minute sooner) to invest in yourself and stop doing it all on your own. And you know, I even FEEL your pain if you are trapped and cannot leave because of financial obligations and because of where your life is right now. I get that.

But I don’t get the giving up and giving in part. Now that is you self-sabotaging yourself and your own chances at success and happiness, and that you can change with your own thinking and your own two hands.

There is hope if you choose to believe. There is heaps of opportunity if you choose to see it. There is a way to make money at whatever your heart desires if you decide so. There is a way out for everyone if you want out and if you are willing to decide that it is for you. There is a chance for you to start over if you want to. There is a place for you to still become who you want to be, if you stop acting like a victim and start looking for possible ways to do it.

The people who succeed, the ones that you think got “lucky” because they cannot possible be smarter than you, they DECIDED that was their faith. They decided they will believe in themselves first before getting a serious plan of action under way and they decided not to believe the other rubbish. They are absolutely not smarter, or more knowledgeable or more skilled or more talented and lucky certainly has nothing to do with it.

So you have a choice – you quit or you stay. You decide this path. You are in control. Not me, not your boss, and hopefully not anyone else in your life! And if that decision comes from the heart, and if you are making it consciously and carefully but without denial and without your ego, without the help from media and the influence of friends, if you are listening to your true self, then you are on the right path and making the right choice right now.

To quit or not to quit your cushy job. There is no right or wrong answer. There is a different right answer for everyone. What’s right for you?

You want more of those secretes to be a top performer in corporate without killing yourself, or if you want to find the path to your eventual exit from corporate, then sign up here, baby!

  • Maxwell Ivey

    Hello; another well written article. But it isn’t just the dream jobs that people will think of quitting. in the 90’s i had what was considered a good job for a visually impaired person. i was working in a call center for the internal revenue service. After a couple of years I decided that it just wasn’t healthy for me to be there. The deciding factor was when going to work or calling in sick became a major argument with myself. I still have to work very hard, but at least its something I love and believe in. Its something that gets me out of bed in the morning instead of making me want to crawl back into it and pull up the covers. Thanks again and take care, max

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Maxwell, welcome welcome here! You are right, it’s not just dream jobs that they quit, it can be the average jobs. Thanks so much for sharing your story, and I know what you mean about working hard – I’ve never worked harder either!!! – but yes to doing something we love, right? :)

      • Maxwell Ivey

        Yes, its all about doing something we love. I think its a japonese saying that goes no one works harder than the one who works for himself. smile And the last thing I do before bed and the first thing i do in the morning is to check my email. I’m always hoping for the next opportunity or a report on a successful sale. I’m always trying to think of some new way to promote my site or the items for sale on it. I know more about this online stuff than most of my friends or family want to hear about any more. smile My brother says that its my passion and the reason he knows I’ll be successful at it. I tell him that’s just his polite way of saying I should get a life. haha thanks again and take care, max

        • Farnoosh

          Hello dear Maxwell, we all seems to go through those thoughts – what can I do more, better to reach a larger audience… and it’s not easy to build a business. I am glad your brother is so supportive. It’s NOT his polite way of saying anything – it’s his conviction that you will succeed so just take it for that :)))!

          • Maxwell Ivey

            Hello; I know he really means it. Its just the way brothers communicate those things that are hard to say straight out. and just today I proved him right. Someone listed a train with me. I did my usual research which i reminded them they don’t get from free classified sites, and found that the owners were mistaken about the manufacturer. It turns out what they own is rarer than what they thought. 49 built verses over 300. And it turns out there is a collectors market for their train. it never hurts to remind myself that passion for my work is a good thing that benefits me as well as the clients. take care, max

  • Sandra / Always Well Within


    Your advice applies equally well to quitting a job that isn’t “cushy”, but perhaps provides enough that there’s an unwillingness or fear to take the leap. It really does come down to self-sabotage – although that’s hard to hear when you are there – and turning around and decided to believe in yourself. Very helpful and timely!

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Sandra, very true – that goes for the not so cushy jobs too, I believe that it’s just harder to quit the cushy job because you are giving up even more. Nonetheless, they are a must-go if we are self-sabotaging our very own well-being!!! How lovely to see you here so often.

  • Tom Ewer

    Hey Farnoosh,

    I have read Quitter, and it probably is what you are thinking. A lot of it was anti “quit your job” in many ways. I actually read it a couple of weeks before I quit my job (I had already served notice), but it didn’t worry me. I was strangely confident about my decision, and I disagreed with a lot of what Acuff had to say.

    The decision as to whether or not you quit your job is pretty simple to me – do you have a prospect of future income, and do you have a large enough safety net to tide you over in the meantime?

    Risks aren’t absolute in life – everything is a risk. Staying with your job is a risk – perhaps not a financial one, but perhaps a risk to your sanity! The sooner someone realizes that whether to quit your job or not is just another decision to be made (rather than some potentially world-ending epic event), the better they can rationalize their options and move forwards accordingly.



    • Farnoosh

      Hello again dear Tom, oh thank you for telling me more about the book – So I am wondering, did it resonate with you? I am So glad you are resigning too …. I sound like I am tearing people away from their jobs but I have a feeling you are going to do something far more productive and useful with your life. Right? What’s the plan.
      By the way, the risk description thing – I am gonna use it in conversations. Best description I’ve heard.

      • Tom Ewer

        It resonated with me in some ways, and not at all in others. But if nothing else it’s a good read to get a more rounded view on the whole subject of quitting your job.

        I quit my job at the end of last year, so I’ve been at this for a while now 😉

  • Rachael

    Dearest Farnoosh

    As you know, I also have been in the ‘cushy’ job, feeling completely and utterly miserable. While I had a great salary and perks, nothing could make up for the fact that the work was soul-less and heart-less and I had lost all desire to keep working towards a vision I didn’t believe in.

    For me, quitting became an absolute no-brainer. That’s not to say I wasn’t terrified or struggling with why I couldn’t just ‘suck it up’ and keeping working for the healthy pay that afforded us so much. But there came a time when my body was screaming out at me as much as my mind was and I knew it was because I was completely out of alignment with my true values and desires.

    Once it got to this point, I had to listen. It wasn’t just a mental and emotion decision anymore, I was physically uncomfortable. My body was yelling at me what my mind had been trying to avoid hearing.

    And now, this sensible, practical, safe and low risk girl is out in the wild doing it for herself. And I LOVE it!!! Every day is so rich with possibility, so ripe for creativity and heart work. What I am doing means so much to me. I ‘go to work’ with passion and excitement about what’s next.

    What’s right for me is living a life that doesn’t feel encumbered by a ‘job’ that grates up against everything you want to do and be. What’s right for me is doing work that’s in tune with my heart. What’s right for me is being able to express myself, to be myself, to give of myself.

    What wasn’t right was trying to force myself to comply with the expectations of others while feeling entirely disconnected with what I knew was real for me.

    • Farnoosh

      *Speechless* – my reaction to your writing, dear Rachael, even though I know your backstory and you have shared your brave jump from corp to entrepreneurship with me in detail before, but what a strong, amazing, powerful writing voice you have. Of course, it helps that I have felt what you have and seen what you have, in a different corp environment but maybe not that different after all. Thanks so much for sharing, and for inspiring me and my darling readers here to do what their heart tells them to do, if not immediately then at least plan for it.

      • Rachael

        Sweet lady, you know you were an incredible inspiration to me in those weeks before I really put thought into action. You helped to pull me forward, to lead the way, to show me an example of what is possible. Sometimes, despite believing what could be, seeing someone actually doing is the best encouragement to take the leap. What you are doing here, with your work, is a gift to me, and so many others.

    • Shawn Tuttle

      Eloquently put, Rachel. The metaphor of the job that grates up against everything you want to be is so spot on!

  • Glori (Crazy Introvert)

    I’m so glad I read your post. Now I really know I NEED to quit my job. I can really say it’s slowly killing my soul. I actually already submitted my resignation letter.
    I guess it really comes to doing something meaningful with my life.
    To do something that makes me want to do work everyday, makes me happy, makes others happy, and at the same time earn a decent living off it.
    Thank you!

    • Farnoosh

      Hi dear Glori, I am sorry to hear that about your job – so you already submitted your resignation or you are going to do it? I hope that you find precisely what you are looking for, and create it every day and enjoy the process immensely. I am sending you heaps of good luck and good vibes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!!

  • Shawn Tuttle

    Hi Farnoosh, I think this might be the first time I’ve posted on your blog. I’ve been reading for a while and love your energy and take-charge-of-your-life attitude!

    It makes me a sad to know there are so many people feeling like their soul is being crushed by their job. “Work” has practically turned into bad word—which is unfortunate because for me, work has been such an awesome opportunity to explore my potential.

    Thanks for being such a positive role model & for being a pro-active crusader for Living Life!
    XO Shawn

    • Farnoosh

      Hi dear Shawn, then welcome here and I am so glad to have you.

      It is VERY very sad, you are absolutely right. Work is to me sacred now, so invaluable, so wonderful, and it’s hard to see that in the corporate world to any degree. I am so glad that you are in a place in life where you can enjoy your work.

      Thank you for the very kind words and may we speak again!! :)

  • Alison Moore Smith

    Great post, Farnoosh.

    What I think many people don’t realize is that very large cooperations often have so many layers of bureaucracy, that it isn’t about trying to make a great company/product/service, it isn’t about doing quality work, instead it’s about vying for position, undercutting your “competition” (meaning your co-workers), blaming others for problems, trying to make yourself look good, getting “in” with the right people, etc.

    That kind of environment can be very demoralizing, no matter how much money you make.

    P.S. I’m dying to know what quote from Quitter you heard!

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Alison, how can I make you wait when you put it that way – it didn’t even occur to me to share it, THANK YOU for helping me think clearly 😉

      Here it is:
      “Essentially, In the face of all the leap-and-the-net-will-appear, zen philosophy of pursuing your dream, Acuff’s advice is to “fall in like” with a job you do not necessarily love so that it becomes a launch pad for your dream job. He encourages his readers to stay put in the day job, pointing out how much more easily a dream can flourish when there is money in the bank, food on the table and no creditors on the phone.”

      You know, I think people do complain and see the bureaucracy and politics, but they may sadly believe that ALL work has become that way everywhere, and that’s far from the truth. You put it very well though, I concur. Are you still in corporate?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • Alison Moore Smith

        Thank you! :)

        I have to think about that quote more. My comment turned into a novel, so I’ll save it for a future post and let you know. :)

        No, I’ve never been “in corporate.” I graduated from college three weeks after our first baby was born. I opted to stay home (yes, even though my husband was in graduate school and we were stinking dirt poor) and start a home business. Been doing that ever since.

        My husband started out as a university professor, then after receiving full tenure, he quit to run his company. :) He has also worked very large corporate and small startup.

        Definitely agree, all work is not remotely like that. The more people can see that, the more they can see their options and move to those that better suit them.

  • Kay


    I came across your site over the weekend and haven’t stopped reading. That’s a testament to the powerful tone of your writing and the relevance of your stories.

    Now, I wonder whether you have heard this before. I quit a corporate job at a Fortune 200 company in 2006 (because they wouldn’t promote me and because it was a soul-less place). I started consulting (in IT) and loved it! I could relate to my customers and my performance was so much better because I felt motivated. However, I left my consulting job (due to family issues) and am back at my soul sucking employer! I am living proof that LOA works. My thought process during the entire time I was trying to get a business going was “how can I do this?” and “please don’t let me go back there”.

    The funny part is that everyone thinks that I have struck gold! To leave and come back at a higher (almost 6 figure) pay, why shouldn’t I be excited. However, I have felt this sinking feeling in my heart since my second week back (its been 5 months). I have started seeing a therapist, gained weight, I am feel distanced from my family. Anyways… I am at a crossroads. Part of me wants to go back to what I thrived at (working with government agencies in an IT capacity) and part of me wants to risk it all and ultimately go for that business.

    Either ways I am committed to this position atleast for the next 7 months (sigh). I have to uphold the trust of friends who brought me back. I am curious, what would do you if you were in a similar position?

    PS: I have three kids and love them very much. Part of my reason for quitting was having a better balance, however, I do need a fulfilling career.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Kay, welcome to my blog and I am very happy to have you. Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts. I am happy to share with you my response of course. First, I followed your story all the way to when you said “ultimately go for that business.” …. So what I gather is you were working in corporate, you were miserable, you left to do your consult work, you loved it, you had to come back to corporate and now wondering: should you go back to your IT work or ?? What is “that business”?
      I think that it’s important to know your core values, what you hold near and dear to your heart in this life, and that translates into your goals in your profession. Then you need to examine other places in your life to see whether you are ready to fully immerse yourself in your dream job or if you are at a stage where you might need a side-hustle now while still holding on to the corporate job. Without knowing a lot more and working with you closely, I am not sure I can give you the best advice. So I will leave you with this one thought: Deep in your heart, what do you hear? And if you knew it would not fail, what do you really want to do?
      I hope this helps! :)

      • Kay

        Dear Farnoosh,

        Thank you for responding to my rather hasty and incoherent comment earlier today. The thoughts couldn’t be contained and I just had to get them out! 5:30 the bewitching hour, yet another reason I crave to be my own boss so that I can set my own hours.

        My problem has been that I have many business ideas. Narrowing it down to one business seems confining. However, one has to start somewhere! I am starting to research how best to launch “that” business and the next and the next. For now, as you mentioned it will be a side hustle. I stumbled on your “What does a blogger do?” post just in time. Thanks for defining and demystifying the process for a newbie like me.

        I would love to setup an initial consultation with you to find out if we are a good fit. I will send you an email.


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  • Aaaaahhhhh

    Well hello Farnoosh,

    Just came across your blog – interesting…

    I haven’t read Quitter but you bet I will! I just quit my 2nd (yes, 2nd!) corporate job in 3 years with no prospects : ).

    The first escape was due to a company with low integrity and unscrupulous ways then after working a few temporary gigs I then landed a GREAT job in a EXTREMELY WELL Respected global company. Wow! Life couldn’t be better right? Before I knew it I was being whisked away to Europe to their home office – wow! how fun! Then, the honeymoon period was over, it sank in – 80-hr weeks is not only the norm – corporate mgmt encourages it (well, feigns concern but really?)… feels almost like a brainwashing cult sometimes – besides company demands the self induced stress meant many sleepless nights, working weekends, having conference calls at all hour, to accommodate global co-workers, and travel that interfered with family life. Realized that those thriving in this environment were, yes, soul-less, few with strong family values and many, just young, unmarried and/or childless. The others, showed signs of stress; mainly overweight and haggered looking so after my last sleepless nights (and my own increased weight, blood pressure and poor eating habits) – went in and quit! Just like that, … again – a no-brainer … was not being true to myself to force my square peg into their round hole – at what cost? my health – NOT!

    So now what? hmmm…. don’t know, but will decompress, then figure it out again. The last time I said I’d find less stress related, more rewarding work, but was so flattered by the offer this renowned company gave me – I couldn’t resist. Funny thing is that while I could use the income, the only thing the income is used for is additional retirement savings. Spoiled? maybe, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to work – just don’t feel there’s a need to jeopordize my physical or emotional health while doing so.

    I wouldn’t encourage those unhappy to leave the corporate environment unless they have financial resources – but definitely, encourage them to seek alternatives.

    I’ll be watching your blog – this global economy and worker abuse has to stop at some point – I worry about the generations to follow…. how much more can we work for corporate greed?

    • Farnoosh

      Hi there – you didn’t tell me your name! Thank you so much for your heart-felt comment here. I just can’t figure it out either. I was right there in that environment with you – well, not with you but you get it – and I was too young to know any better, then I was too bitter to do anything – oh the joyous phases we go through and I certainly did not have the courage that you do. I worked up to it when I was in a lot of pain from doing things I hated, and finally quit after a smart exit strategy and years of saving up! I have no doubt from what you describe that this was the right move for you – and I am so glad you put your health above everything else – my mantra itself! If you need any help putting together the rest of your exit strategy – as in, what you will be doing, just let me know. We can’t worry about future generations -we can only change ourselves and help change others one person at a time. But I hear you! Thank you SO MUCH for your honesty and sincerity here. I am sending you lots of good vibes! Please do come back whenever you like.

  • Aaaaahhhhh

    Wow! Farnoosh – that’s quite a quick response …. probably from years of multi-tasking with Outlook email pop-ups in the corner of your PC screen and feeling the need to respond right away … okay, being a little sarcastic but we all do it. Know we should ignore, or even close Outlook, but don’t – don’t want to miss the emails!

    Thanks for your compliment – but don’t feel very courageous – in fact, beat myself up for weeks knowing that I was in an unhealthy situation but feeling inadequate that I couldn’t, and didn’t want to, succeed in the corporate atmosphere. Some days, in some meetings, I felt so removed, … like how long could I fake ‘caring’ about the company’s additional profits… really, a multi-billion dollar company trying to cut back on even more FTE’s to maintain existing or improve prior year profits… give me a break.

    So although I haven’t fully escaped my current position, in due time, want to avoid added stress that it would impose on my other co-cogs, the monkey’s off my back – no guilt feelings after taking a lunch break or leaving after an 8-9 hr day. Turning my cell phone off when getting in my car & no logging in when getting home… it’s what life should be – like corporate work entailed back when I was your age. Okay – now I sound old, but the corporate world was much more manageable without cell phones, voice mail, or personal computers.

    Thanks for your encouragement. I haven’t decided, maybe after the summer, whether to pursue some self employment or seek, less stressful, maybe even parttime work.

    When we close one door – we open another for better opportunities and happiness

    • Farnoosh

      Hi there, just came back here to respond to more comments and wanted to check on you – how is your situation going? Are you in a better position now? I see from this June 1st update that you were really in a hard place. Do keep me posted and all the best. (Oh another reason I thought of you, I am launching my course and wonder if this might not be the nudge for your next career phase? :) Smart Exit Blueprint.

      • Aaaaahhhhh

        Hey there Farnoosh –
        Just left my position. Aaaahhhh… feels great! Not interested in a course at the present time – enjoying the remainder of my summer – Enjoy yours!

        • Farnoosh

          Congratulations!!! I am very excited for you :)!

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  • Bob


    Thanks for the post and insights. However, I couldn’t relate to your “Should Quit” nor “Should NOT Quit” situations.

    I guess because I’m in the middle of a “Should I Switch” more so than “Should I Quit” dilemma and am hoping for some advice.

    I just broke the 6-digits barrier in an IT job that I’m quite successful and happy with. The boss/company has been fair to me and compensate me fairly (I think). The environment allows me to flex my creativity muscle to do what needs to be done.

    Problem comes from an ex-colleague whom I had successful interaction with is reaching out to me offering a higher pay gig in a more challenging industry. I’m thinking of switching because it’s a substantially higher salary (30% raise), a business position instead of IT (a scary and exciting proposition). I’m hesitant to leave in fear of breaking long/old relationships with my current company, fear of being the first come = first cut in the new company.

    Any insights are much appreciated, especially around how to leave gracefully.

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Bob, thanks for your message and your question. Oh the IT world in corporate. You are bringing back memories for me :)! And it’s good to hear you are well compensated with 6-figure job etc, I was there and had all that too. More important: you can be creative and hopefully have a nice outlet for it, very important!
      The ultimate question: Should you jump ship for more money? The fact that you have this hesitation should tell you to at least consider it from all angles. It’s NOT all about the $$ but it really comes down to what’s important – why would you leave if you do? Is it just more $$? If you are giving up relationships, that’s something to consider. But also remember, teams and bosses are fluid in corporate and move around. I would say if it’s just more money, stay put but …. use it as a way to tell your current boss about it – “I got a better offer but I love it so much here and feel so loyal …. blah blah” that’ll buy you more gold in your career where you are.
      Want to go deeper? Contact me for a power business coaching session! :) Hope this helped!

      • Aaaaahhhhh

        On another prospective re: the telling current boss about a better offer: this may backfire – more often than not current employers will just tell you to leave for the additional $.

        • Farnoosh

          Exactly. I think you should either leave or stay and then tell them why you chose to stay. Good points!