“Take this job and shove it!” the saying goes but when would that be a truly bad idea?
Quitting in the American culture has traditionally been viewed as a bad thing and to be avoided. In recent years this has changed a bit due to more turnover, and job change in the name of career growth and development. There has also been an increase in the awareness of workplace toxicity and dysfunctional workplace environments, and fewer people than traditionally seen are leaving their jobs due to mistreatment.
My clients are used to hearing me say that “Sometimes you’ve got to quit to win!” and that is absolutely true! Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your career is to quit. Sometimes it is quitting a job that isn’t right for you. Sometimes it is quitting a job where you are being mistreated. Sometimes it is quitting a job for a better one. Although sometimes, it is quitting something else; a volunteer position, an intangible role you’ve taken on with friends or family, or even a recreational activity that has become a burden. There are many reasons to quit that will benefit you and your career. But, there is one reason that you should never quit, that never benefits you or your career:
You should never quit your job because everyone else is.
That may seem like obvious advice, something akin to “if everyone was jumping off the bridge would you do it?” But there is a mysteriously strong pull when a critical mass situation begins to take place in an organization.
I’m sure you have seen this scenario. The company is short-staffed, there have been layoffs, there has been some bonus reductions, there is construction on the building, there’s a super smelly annoying person in the office… whatever it may be! Morale plummets, and there is a general sense of discontent within the troops.
For some individuals this may be the impetus they need to take necessary action to further their career advancement or development. The proverbial “last straw” if you will. In fact, it may be very genuinely time for one or more individuals to move on from a company when things are getting bad. However, that does not mean that you have to.
If you are in the situation where there is a mass turnover at your organization, where people are willingly giving notice and walking out, or if you ever find yourself in this position there are three things you must do as soon as you discover that this situation is taking place:
#1: Cease discussing the situation with people you work with. Einstein was quoted as saying that “you cannot solve a problem from the mindset it was created in”. In this situation it means that you cannot make a decision that is best for you while marinating in the environment that created the problem. If you discuss your discontent with others in your organization that are also discontent, is there any doubt what the conclusion from the discussion would lead to? Of course not! It will breed more discontent which is contagious within an organization.
#2: Take your concerns ideas and frustration to someone outside of your organization, and maybe even outside of your home; a non-biased individual such as a coach, a counselor, or even just a friend that is known for being a good listener. You must discuss your frustrations! But you must not discuss them with someone who has a stake in your decision whatsoever. Call your grandpa if you must! Or just chat it up with the guy sitting next to you at the coffee shop. But do talk! Ideally this is where a career coach comes in very handy (and if you are in this place please, go to my website now and schedule your free get-acquainted session). Do not put off talking about your situation just because you don’t have a coach or think you can’t afford one. Talk to somebody, and ideally as soon as the situation starts bothering you.
#3: DO NOT QUIT! At least don’t quit while the quitting is going on. If you feel or recognize a mass exodus occurring, promised yourself one month to distance yourself from the mass hysteria that does occur. Put it on the calendar, circle the date, and tell yourself you will postpone your decision until the wave has passed.
You may be angry, you may be frustrated, you may empathize deeply with those who are leaving! But commit to yourself to establishing some distance between their decisions, and yours so that your decisions are made in your best interest and with thoughtful consideration that does not result in you taking action you wouldn’t have taken without the influence of the negative influence.
AND… since you have stopped discussing your frustrations with the negative team, and you are discussing your frustrations with someone outside of the office, and you have postponed your decision until a later date, you will be free and open to be a friendly ear to those around you. You will be a supportive smile, without their results having anything to do with you. Enjoy the freedom that this allows you, and when you ever do get to the point that you need to make that decision, you will know what the right thing to do is. What if you don’t? No worries. Just give us a call.