When is it okay to quit?

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A timeless adage: quitters never win and winners never quit, ingrained in us from the time we’re young, hopeful, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, big people in the making. To succeed in this world you need to persevere, never give up and refuse the label quitter. But what about those times when quitting is the only option, when giving up is not the equivalent of failure but of a move toward greater success. So yes, dear friend perennially donning those rose-colored glasses, there is a time and a place for everything, even quitting.


The Dead End Job Syndrome

Okay, so you need to work, because working means money and money means survival, and so on and so forth. But here you are at this job you absolutely hate despite the fact that it does pay the requisite bills. When you look out over your vocational horizon, you can only see yourself swallowed up in the blackhole that is this office, in the quicksand that is your tiny cubicle within that abysmal office. There appears to be zero chance for promotion and even if there were, it is not a place in which you really want to climb the ladder anyway. So what do you do…

The Quitter’s Playbook, Scenario #1…Bad job = you quit. Life is way too short to remain in a place that, regardless of your best intentions, simply doesn’t fit you. All that will happen by remaining at this dead end job and by sticking it out in this workaday grind, is that your spirit and your ambition will eventually dissolve into nothing. This is the point where you take your creativity, blend it with a pinch of drive, add in some imagination underlined by your skills and get out there and find your passion.

Maybe you always wanted to be a writer---go write! Perhaps photography is in your future—start snapping those pics. Whatever it is, do it. Quit that job which is wholly unsuited to you and go after that which will bring the spark and excitement back into your occupational life. The profoundly successful Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Go ahead, be a quitter and live the life you were supposed to live.


Time to Bail on That Business

The Quitter’s Playbook, Scenario #2: Your business is sinking, jump ship! Many entrepreneurs have sadly had to watch their business dreams fade. And that is okay. Bill Gates began with a data analyzing company that ended up being a miserable failure. The founder of GoPro, Nick Woodman, prior to his internationally acclaimed venture, first had a company that went belly up and subsequently lost its investors millions.

Owning and running a business is difficult—this, the understatement of the century. And maybe one of the most difficult parts is knowing when to bail on a failing business. Certainly you’ve put your heart and soul into the idea, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a winner. If you’re faced with losing everything you own, with losing your investors their money, with the prospect of having to sink more capital into a project that just doesn’t seem to be taking off, then maybe it is time to quit.

This doesn’t mean give up, it just means that it is time to quit that particular venture, regroup, gain a little perspective, a clearer head and approach the business world with a new, better and more profitable concept. After all, look what happened to that uber-successful “quitter” Bill Gates…


Here’s an invaluable life hack…When the short term gets in the way, push it aside and look way down the road, way, way down the road. If your job is a drain, if your business is going down the tubes, quitting is the short-term answer that will solve that immediate problem. Next step, push it out of the way and start thinking long term. Ask yourself the kinds of questions that will help you attain your dreams, go after your sought after goals and realize the person and professional you always wanted to be. So there it is—be a quitter and then push on past it to be the winner you know you can be.


Posted 31 May, 2017


Copywriter, Content Writer, Proofreader, Marketer.

Dunja is the Content & Email Manager at Freelancer HQ (Sydney). She is an Oxford graduate, and is the mother of a pet parrot called DJ Bobo.

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