Thursday, May 31, 2007

Knowing When to Quit

In his book, “The Dip,” author Seth Godin says that the first step to becoming the best in the world is realizing that quitting may be really important for your future success.

While you may think this flies in the face of conventional wisdom that winners never quit and quitters never win, Godin says that quitting something that will not make you the best makes perfect sense. Superstars, he says, are the ones who know when to quit something that is a dead end and stay focused and motivated when it really counts.

If you’re considering quitting something, Godin says you should first ask yourself:

1. Am I panicking? “Quitting when you’re panicked,” he writes in his book, “is dangerous and expensive.” Why? Because the smartest move is to make the decision ahead of time that you’re going to quit. “When the pressure is the greatest to compromise, to drop out, or to settle, your desire to quit should be at its lowest,” he says. “The decision to quit is often made in the moment. But that exactly the wrong time to make such a critical decision.”

2. Who am I trying to influence? If you’ve got a boss who just won’t let up on you, then you’re probably considering quitting your job. “If you’re trying to influence just one person, persistence has its limits. It’s easy to cross the line between demonstrating your commitment and being a pest. If you haven’t influenced him yet, it may very well be time to quit,” Godin writes. “One person will make up his mind and if you’re going to succeed, you’ll have to change it. And changing someone’s mind is difficult, if not impossible.”

3. What sort of measurable progress am I making? On the job, you’re either moving forward, standing still or falling behind. Godin says that if you decide to quit your job because you’re not making progress, then you need to understand it doesn’t mean you’re quitting “your quest to make a living or a difference or an impact.” He says that you’re not giving up because a job is just a “tactic,” a way to get you what you really want. He emphasizes that all those stories about authors who were turned down again and again – and then became a mega-hit overnight with a bestseller – are not stories about sticking it out in a dead-end, but rather the ability of these people to move through a market.
Consider Godin’s observation: “…when was the last time you heard about someone who stuck with a dead-end job or a dead-end relationship or a dead-end sales prospect until suddenly, one day, the person at the other end said, ‘Wow, I really admire your persistence; let’s change our relationship for the better’? It doesn’t happen.”


Anonymous said...

In today's marketplace, you've got to be able to react quickly and respond to the demand. Those who know their ultimate goal, and their passion, should be able to quit and move on to what matters to them and will have the biggest payoff for them.

Anonymous said...

I think I like what I do but hate where I work. Do I feel passionate about it? I'm not sure. Just going to work every day takes more out of me than I think is healthy. Maybe my problem isn't where I work but what I do. It's something I need to think about...if I just had the energy. I think a lot of people are like me, caught up in the rat race of working, working, working and never even considering that there's anything else.

Anonymous said...

The smartest thing I ever did was quit my job last year. My boss was a complete a**hole, and my co-workers were morons. I finally decided I was going insane and just packed up my stuff and left. Two weeks later, I had launched my own business. I may not be rich, but I'm not giving myself a lobotomy just by going to some job I hate every day.