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.