I Quit My Job

“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.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

This is the dip:

the dip

This is the cul-de-sac (dead-end) and the cliff:

dead end and 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.

Waking Early : Day 5

Attempted Sleep Time: 12:30am

Wakeup Time: 7:30am

Out of Bed Time: 7:30am

SUCCESS – Day 5, Conclusion

So, it’s Day 5, I have completed the early riser five day challenge! I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it.

With the exception of Day 4 – Thursday, waking at 7:30am has been quite easy. What’s been more difficult is adjusting to an earlier sleeping time.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the results and looking forward to try waking up even earlier at 7am next week. But I do have a very social weekend with several friends visiting from out of town though so we will see what happens.

Next week, I’m planning on a new self-discipline in 10 days regime along with other projects. I’m attempting to post regularly to improve my writing before I slow down to only a few posts/week.

Thanks to everyone who have visited, emailed, and/or commented.

Waking Early : Day 4

Attempted Sleep Time: 12:00am

Actual Sleep Time: 2:30am+

Wakeup Time: 7:30am, 11:30am

Out of Bed Time: 7:30am, 11:30am

FAILED– Day 4, aka Recuperation

Yesterday early evening, I felt utterly exhausted. The first three days of the challenge, I had only been getting 4-6 hours of sleep a night. My body was rebelling against me.

I took a short twenty minute nap but not good enough. If I slept so early, I was concerned that it would throw off my entire sleep schedule. So, I stayed awake and eventually caught a second wind which ended up being a curse. I didn’t fall asleep until past 2:30am.

I woke up promptly at 7:30am, went to the bathroom, and went back to bed. I don’t have anything to do this morning, and my body demanded sleep.

So, I finally got my 8 hours of sleep. It’s yet to be seen how this will impact me tonight though. I’m okay though, I understand I needed the makeup hours. The question is just whether I can ever adjust to sleeping at 11pm or earlier.

On one hand, I really enjoy waking up early. However, my most creative periods are still late at night, and I like to be social late night on weekends. So, this will be an interesting challenge to continue.

Waking Early : Day 3

march 24 morning

Attempted Sleep Time: 12:30am?

Actual Sleep Time: Unknown

Wakeup Time: 7:15am, 7:30am

Out of Bed Time: 7:30am

SUCCESS – Day 3, aka Relaxation

Yesterday night, I returned from my night class past 11pm. I spent time writing down the day’s thoughts in my private journal and spoke briefly with a friend online. I didn’t turn off my computer until past midnight so I was worried I might be having an insomnia night.

Luckily, I read some Dostoevsky and promptly fell into slumber.

Waking up this morning was actually pretty easy. Maybe, my body has adjusted to the new times.

Whenever I have a difficulty getting out of bed, I like to stare at the daylight. It causes a biofeedback of hormones in my body to wake the hell up. Whereas, if I bury my head into my pillows, I’ll fall asleep in an instant.

Today’s the first day that I don’t have any work or errands to do in the morning. So, I enjoyed making a hearty breakfast, brewing tea, and peacefully watching the world unfold outside my dining room (hence the photo above, I need a better camera…)

Maybe, I’ll make this part of my morning ritual. I might go do some tai chi, meditation, and take a shower now.

Waking Early : Day 2

Attempted Sleep Time: 1:00am?

Actual Sleep Time: Unknown

Wakeup Time: 7:15am, 7:30am, 7:45am

Out of Bed Time: 7:50am

Mini-Failure – Day 2, aka Doomsday

Last night, I got a phone call from an old friend and ended up chatting until 11:30pm. It messed up my night schedule, but it was good to catch up so I’m not complaining.

In bed, I usually read a novel to clear my head before falling to sleep. I heard that if you don’t fall asleep within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow then you’re not sufficiently relaxed and/or tired to sleep. Currently, I’m reading Dostoevsky’s House of the Dead

. My goal is to eventually read all of Dostoevsky’s novels.

So, anyway, I don’t know what time I actually went to sleep, but my guess is around 1:30am.

My alarm went blazing at 7:15am. My body was worn out; debt with the sleep bank is pilling up. I kept falling in and out of consciousness until finally 7:50am.

Tonight, my graduate seminar runs very late, and I won’t get back home until 11pm. I’m a little worried that I’m not getting sufficient sleep, and I was planning on hitting the gym today. Is it cheating to take a long nap?

Oh well, off to brew some tea.