Quitting your job sometimes gets such a bad rap. When you step down from your role, others may assume you couldn’t stand it. Or that you are unfaithful. Or that they got you.
Quitting smoking is rarely seen as a positive move. Just look at any motivational movie, book, poster, quote, article, song or any piece of media profile. Most narratives celebrate the idea of never giving up, overcoming adversity, and staying the course no matter what.
Most people I talk to resist the idea of quitting smoking. Persisting through challenges can be worth the effort. You may have heard the saying, winners never quit and quitters never win.
But is quitting really that bad? Could quitting smoking actually be the healthiest career move you could make, allowing you to avoid unnecessary heartache, stress and strain?
Never giving up has its advantages
On the one hand, I like the philosophy of doing whatever it takes to achieve your professional goals. I consider myself someone who embraces and even thrives on competition. I believe that achieving your goals has a lot more to do with persistence, persistence and never giving up than just talent or ability.
In my career, I’ve seen how hanging in there just a little longer to make one more phone call, send one more resume, or take one last follow-up step can really make the difference between reaching my goals and failing. » Staying the course can definitely pay off in the long run.
However, staying put is not always the way to achieve your larger ambitions.
Quitting may be your best move
People often attribute quitting to failure, but quitting is sometimes the best course of action for your life and career. Sometimes, you reach a point where you have nothing left to give or prove. And staying the course no longer serves your best interests.
I will share some examples from my life when I decided to quit. For most of my childhood, I played the violin quite seriously. By the end of high school, most of my classmates were asking me if I planned to major in music in college. However, when I got to college, I remember joining orchestra and then quitting after just one rehearsal. I just didn’t want to play the violin anymore and freed up that time to focus on my other interests like psychology, my pre-med studies and even dance.
A few years later, after entering medical school and finishing my studies, I dropped out after two weeks, realizing that it made more sense for me to go to business school. And later, after 10 years of working in the corporate world as a brand marketer, I got to a point where I had managed the brands, projects, campaigns, product launches and teams that I wanted. So I decided to leave to start my own business, one of the most rewarding moves I’ve ever made in my career.
Leaving is never easy
The choice to cut it is deeply personal. Walking away from anything you’ve invested energy into is rarely easy. Even if you feel like you have nothing more to prove to yourself or anyone else, you will inevitably feel torn. You will have unfinished business. You’ll have the next carrot dangling in the distance, whether it’s a promotion, completing a degree or a professional accolade.
Quitting your job often means not finishing what you started and leaving some loose ends behind. However, it also creates space in your career for other pursuits that may better align with your professional vision.
Therein lies the challenge. Because even in those situations where it’s clear you’re no longer growing or feeling engaged or excited by the task at hand, there’s always something more could I am doing.
That is why labor is so difficult. It often involves leaving that next milestone behind could cross if you stay a little longer. At the same time, letting go is a necessary step you must take to make room for other pursuits that you consider more worthwhile.
The hard choices are the most important
Moving away is often harder than staying the course because you will always have unfinished business. We all have a natural tendency to finish what we start. To close our projects.
At the same time, experiences have a lifetime. They can and should end when your life and career move in a new direction.
You always have a choice as to whether you can leave it all behind. Stepping away is actually okay, especially if it allows you to remove yourself from an experience that no longer serves your interests, enriches your knowledge, or feeds your soul.
Decide if your pursuits are worth the cost
What is the carrot you are chasing in your career? Maybe you’re trying to get that bonus at the end of the year. Alternatively, get that promotion that gives you the fancy title you’ve been wanting for so long. Or achieve some goal that you believe benefits the wider professional community you represent.
No matter what milestone you’re trying to reach, you should always ask yourself what that pursuit is costing you. If crossing that milestone does indeed still serve you and aligns with where you want to take your life and career, by all means do whatever it takes to stay the course. However, if the long road ahead costs too much, conflicts with your values, or compromises your well-being, be sure to take some time to ask yourself if the pursuit is still worth it.
Remember, you always have a choice. You can always leave. And when you do, you might just be surprised what opens up for you once you make room for something else.