“I quit my job.”
Everyone thinks about it. Few of us ever do.
Monday, March 15th, I sent an email to quit my job as a teaching assistant (TA) at my graduate school.
This is not a recommendation that you impulsively and immediately quit your job. This was a very new situation for me.
I made a list of numerous reasons why quitting was the right choice.
In the end, it came down to five basic principles though.
- Income: I was working two jobs. An extra shift on my IT job would mean no lost income.
- Time: Being a TA meant a lot of odd hours driving to campus to meet students or my professor.
- Others: Quitting as a TA wouldn’t greatly negatively impact the class.
- Goals: Being a teacher or getting a Ph D isn’t in my near future so this was a dead end path.
- Happiness: Overall, I was not happy as a TA because the course material didn’t interest me.
My thoughts about quitting was sparked by reading The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin. The message is very simple: Quit the bad stuff, stick with the good stuff.
Seth Godin is the authority in 21st century marketing and business with the #1 most popular business blog. I wholeheartedly recommend reading him. I read The Dip at Borders in under 30 minutes and immediately brought a copy. It’s less than 100 pages.
In case you’re wondering whehter to quit or stick with your current job, here’s my condensed summary.
This is the dip:
This is the cul-de-sac (dead-end) and the cliff:
Deadends (Cul-de-Sacs) lead nowhere. Cliffs are initiallly enjoyable but inevitably disasterous (alcohol). Don’t even bother thinking about going into a dead-end or a cliff. (Or perhaps moderation is the message for cliffs)
Dips are just a little more complex.
Some quotes from the book:
If It Is Worth Doing, There’s Probably a Dip
The Dip Is Where Success Happens
The people who set out to make it through the Dip — the people who invest the time and energy and the effort to power through the Dip — those are the ones who become the best in the world.
Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny miniority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most.
Extraordinary benefits also accrue to the tiny miniority with the guts to quit early and refocus their efforts on something new.
Quit the wrong stuff.
Stick with the right stuff.
Have the guts to do one or the other.
It’s easier to be mediocre than it is to confront reality and quit.
If you’re not able to get through the Dip in an exceptional way, you must quit. And quit right now.
The Opposite of Quitting Isn’t “Waiting Around”. No, the opposite of quitting is rededication.
Quitting Is Not the Same as Failing
Strategic quitting is a conscious decision you make based on the choices that are available to you.
After reading this book, I figured out I wasn’t going to progress through the Dip of Academia. Getting my Masters was a terminal point with no plans of teaching in the near future. If I stayed as a TA, I would be continuing the status quo of no growth. Whereas, if I quit, I would have the time and energy to grow in areas that truly mattered to me.
So, should you quit something? Or should you be pushing the envelop to break through the dip? Most likely, it’s one or the other. Or both.