How many times have you told someone or yourself to ‘never give up’? I know that I’ve done it many, many times. As I cycled 450km through one of the world’s toughest mountain bike trails, I told myself hourly not to quit. But there are times where you just NEED to quit!
I remember sitting in the office knowing that I shouldn’t be there. I wanted to quit! I knew there was more for me out there: the places I needed to be, the people I needed to meet and the experiences I needed to have.
BUT my aunt’s words stuck with me. She said “You are young. It will look bad on your resume if you quit and you will be labelled as a quitter, a job hopper.”
Does that label really matter? Was I the only one with a head heavy on my pillow? Was I the only one dragging to get myself to work? Would quitting be the end of my career?
But, I wasn’t a quitter, I am the overachiever with tons of things off my bucket list.
I was happy to find out that according to Experience.com recent “Life After College” survey, the statistics show that Gen Y are expected to leave their jobs within two years. A more interesting statistic by Harvard Business Review is that 95% of over achievers under 30 spend less than three years at a job and are always looking out for new opportunities.
So obviously I wasn’t the only one. Here are “9 Reasons to Quit”:
1. The Need to be Mentally Stimulated
During my last corporate job, I was feeling restless. I got involved and launched a ton of different projects including launching my own social project called Gone Cyclin’ where we cycled 450km to raise 50k to enable women in East Timor. I also enrolled myself in a 6 month coaching program and organized adventure trips for my colleagues.
Then one day my colleague said “Yasmine, your problem is that your outside activities are overly stimulating and that makes your work seem boring”. The words all of a sudden gave me a new perspective. Even though I was spending nearly 12 hours at work, I was bored and got myself involved in so many things outside of the job. Although the pay, the security and the benefits were great, I had already got the most out of my experience. I felt a lot of pain still being there.
I wanted to be mentally stimulated all the time, So I quit!
2. Clock is Ticking: Time is Precious
Steve Job says, “If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” Whether we are stuck in a bad habit, job, career, relationship or even with friendships, remember: Time is precious!
When I lost my dad, I started to think about this question “When I am 90, looking back on my life, is this the life I wanted to live?”
I got tired of putting my passions in the backseat. Even in Psychology there is a theory called “Cognitive dissonance theory” which basically refers to a situation which involves conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. What happens is that this produces a feeling of discomfort in which we need to alter one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance etc. I got tired of waiting for the right moment and feeling uncomfortable.
I think right now is as good as any to start, so I quit!
3. Organizational Ethics not aligned with Personal Values
During my first job with a conference company, I was organizing multi million dollar events for the oil and gas industry. I loved it. It was exhilarating and again the pay was Ah-mazing! Not only was I getting a sizable base, but also a percentage of all the conferences I organized.
But there was something that was not right. The company had the highest attrition rate I have ever seen and that meant that every Friday it was ‘goodbye drinks’. Lunchtime conversation revolved around who was leaving next. But, the part that troubled me the most was my boss encouraging me to live to make the sale and sign on the speakers and that was totally against my value system.
The money was great. I was making nearly double what my friends were, but at the end, I didn’t agree with my manager, and had different principles. If I scarified my values that would be who I became.
I wasn’t prepared to be a liar, So I quit.
4. Being Mediocre or Being Remarkable?
When we were young, we had these wonderful dreams and ambitions. From being a doctor, to a president, dancer, saving the world from evil aliens, etc. Let’s just call those dreams the stars, but as we get older we start to realize that sometimes going after our dreams is difficult, so we settle for mediocrity. In School, instead of getting an A we settle for B; instead of competing on the national level we settle for the city level.
But the thing is, if we keep on settling on being mediocre, we will always be mediocre. Look at Nick Vujicic, a limbless man who teaches people how to get up. He could have settled for being limited to what he had but, he chose to be extraordinary. Or Jessica Cox who became the first pilot with no arms. She choose to be extraordinary. Randy Pausch embraced death and left a legacy by inspiring millions of people with his dying speech. Being extraordinary mean your need to try, a lot of people don’t even do that.
I wasn’t prepared to be mediocre, so I quit!
5. In Search of a Cause:
“What is the point of two strong legs?
If you only run away?
And what use is the finest voice
If you’ve nothing good to say?
And what good is strength and muscle
If you only push and shove?”
I think we are the generation in search of a cause or a movement. We see it happening with the rise of brands like Toms, Kiva, etc. We all have this thing where we want to do something bigger.
I always thought this whole app/tech space had a lot of people who wanted to find the next billion dollar idea. I recently had a change of perspective when I met Nathan from Inspire9, who shared how his why was because he wanted to make a bigger global impact.
Now looking at my career, my network of changemakers, we didn’t just want a job to take up our time and create no impact – we wanted to be part of a movement.
I didn’t want to NOT make an impact… So I quit!
6. People around you: Where is that R-E-S-P-E-C-T?
In today’s world, we are expected to put lots of hours into work and this means we have to cope with a lot of stress. That’s why not having a supportive work environment where we feel valued and R-E-S-P-E-C-T-ed to help you learn and grow where you need to, can become excruciatingly difficult. This is because if we feel that we are put in a situation where we are being taken advantage of, and we keep on “giving, giving, giving” and we get nothing in return.
Perhaps because our career growth is being halted by a non-supportive boss, unsupportive team, or we are being discriminated because our age, race, gender, weight – we might begin to feel the whole world is against us.
This psychological distress can also affect our health, wellbeing, and start to affect our productivity. We start to lose patience and this does not only affect our work but this kind of soap opera drama also impacts our life. This year, I cut off a couple of friendships with some people who I didn’t feel respected by.
I am tired of letting people disrespect me… So I quit!
7. I am Enough!
When things don’t go as anticipated, we sometimes feel that we’re not good enough. We think that we’re destined to failure. But that’s just wrong! Lighten up on yourself!
I hear this alot in my line of work. People let their past define them. I had a client who had a hard time letting go of something that happen years ago at work. He didn’t realize how much it was affecting him until he let go of it.
A new start is required and in order to do that.
I am tired of letting my past define me… So I quit!
8. Need to Reinvent & Redirect
Sometimes things happen, that are unexpected. I met a Norwegian lady last year, whose husband shot her before he shot himself and she lost an arm. She needed to quit what she was doing and find a new path.
I also remember another story of a father who needed to quit his job when his son became very sick, so he could spend more time at home with him. Or for example Pat Flynn, who lost his job and then went on to start a multi-million dollar blog called Smart Passive Income.
I am not sure either one had thought that is where their life would be, life changes that is a fact and you need to get on board and adapt.
There is no need to keep dwelling about on past… So I quit!
9. Winners Sometimes DO Quit
Not every venture is in our best interest, but pride can keep us from cutting our losses and moving on to something new. I love the example of Andrew Mason from Groupon. He used to run a site called The Point. He had to let go of it, and the results speak for themselves.
I have learned that when something is not feeling good, when it doesn’t flow as it should, it’s probably not meant to be on my life-course. That’s when I am quick to remind myself that winners sometimes have to quit (something that’s not ideal) to pursue something better and make a huge success of it.
I wanted to be in constant state of flow… So I quit!
Quitting is a game, and you should only quit if what you’re working with is not worth it, and it affects you negatively, taking you off the course you were meant to take. There are some factors that will push you to quit while there will be others that will pull you to stay. There is no right or wrong answer except:
You can quit only if you move on to bigger things!
Have you ever quit anything? How do you feel looking back at it? Did you learn anything valuable? I’d love to hear your thoughts on lessons learned from quitting…
Yasmine is marketing & lifestyle expert, adventurerandis the founder of Transpiral.org, a leading institute that equips women to take their careers and businesses to the next level. She is the author of the forthcoming book called Wonder Women’s Guide Asia where she is interviewing 50 most Powerful Women. Connect with her on Twitter @yasminekhater and Facebook www.facebook.com/yasminekhater.