When It’s OK (even advisable) To Quit

Recently, a friend of mine took a full-time job, and then had to resign soon thereafter due to a number of factors. I know she struggled with the decision. I understood her angst. I have taken on too much of late, and I’m having to rethink some of my goals. It feels like such a failure I can’t do everything I set out to do. But how many of us set unrealistic expectations for ourselves? My husband says I do (and he’s usually right).

When I googled quitting, there were literally pages of inspirational quotes about why quitting is bad. (You know, quitters never win, and all that stuff.) But I did find a Chinese Proverb that took a different view: “Of all the strategems, to know when to quit is the best.”  Yea!

But how do you know when is when? When is it okay to quit and when should you tough it out?  These are some very loose guidelines I came up with for myself:

It’s okay to quit…

…when you’ve gathered new information that makes the original plan unworkable;

…when the timing is wrong;

…when you thought you could do more than you can;

…when you’re changing directions;

…when to keep going will deplete you of energy you need for something else (or allows you to regroup your energy);

…when you made a mistake;

…when quitting is the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself at the moment (my personal favorite).

This is the shortest blog post I’ve ever written. I really thought about developing each and every point above, and giving more examples. But sometimes you have to know when to quit…

(Note: This is an old post from a different blog, but someone I care about is going through a rough time with a decision, and I think this may speak to her.)

6 thoughts on “When It’s OK (even advisable) To Quit

  1. Related to jobs specifically, I know it’s time to quit when I get bored. By that point, I feel bad because I know I’m just phoning it in and it’s not fair to my employer that I’m not giving my full effort. Better for both of us for me to move on and for the employer to find someone who’s enthusiastic about the job.

  2. The post did seem familiar, but the advice is solid even for the 2nd read. When I had to quit a job due to my illness it was quite defeating but probably the best decision that I ever made (or was forced to make). It helped me to find a job that I truly enjoy, a job that helps me fight my anxiety and depression rather than encouraging it.

  3. i think moving forward – from a job, comes down to your own health. I have dealt with people – who make your life extremely hard day in and day out, and its just not fun to get up and go to work. The cost you pay in terms of health, much outweighs the benefits you get from being in that job. Those times – you ideally want to have another short term or long term option in hand, but even if you dont have an option – I would say, it you are qualified enough, then you try your best to move laterally within the same organisation, but if not – your health comes first. At least that’s what I did – really like this post. At some time, everything comes down to a cost benefit analyses

  4. I came across your blog while I was doing some research on unrealistic expectations. I have realized that my expectations for myself are so high, that I often find myself not meeting them. I was at the gym, almost in tears, because I couldn’t do a certain Olympic lift with the barbell. I was saying to myself all kinds of negative things like “Why can’t I do this?” “I should be able to do this.” “What’s wrong with me?”. It was then that I realized, maybe it is because I haven’t been feeling good and I should have taken the day off. I felt guilty for doing that, so I went anyway. It is like a vicious loop. I went home feeling bad, literally, and bad because I am so hard on myself all the time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s