Quit Before You Disappear

It’s Thursday and those thoughts you had about leaving your job earlier in the week have faded, as you anticipate a weekend break from work. Maybe it’s a good time to rethink your position in the workplace, before another week ends and you disappear into world of someone else’s definition.

Researchers with Citizens Advice, a problem solving service in Great Britain found that “workers reach their happiest moment at 6:08 pm on a Friday afternoon, just as they are heading home.”

Inevitably the weekend will come to an end, and along with it the anxiety at the prospect of returning to workplace frustration.

Georgia Graham reported on an interview with Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice in The Telegraph.

“People really don’t like Mondays, as employment woes are at their worst and job stresses kick in after a few days away from the workplace.

Anxieties start building on the eve of returning to work and reach fever pitch by lunchtime on the following day, with more people looking for guidance then than at any other time.”

Jessica Brinton, writing in the Sunday Times, profiled women who took that Monday feeling and quit while they were at the top of their game. Quoting Liv, a marketing agency star, “Then, one Monday morning, I was on my way to a meeting at an industrial park in Slough. Suddenly, it came over me like a cloak of sadness. I thought, “This is not how I want my life to be. It’s heartless.”

Katherine Losse, was Mark Zuckerberg’s copywriter in the early days of Facebook. In her 2012 book, ‘The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network’ she shared her decision moment:

“It’s a form of crisis. You think ‘I’m smarter than this.’ You think you are working your way up, but, really, you’re just servicing someone else’s vision and it’s making you disappear. I was using all my intelligence to cope with the fact that I was in an environment that had nothing to do with who I was. So I left.” 

Daniel Gulati, a tech entrepreneur based in New York, recounts a Q&A session after a presentation at Parsons School for Design in a Harvard Business Review post. He was asked, ‘What do you most regret about your career?’ The question was a catalyst for additional research. He interviewed a diverse group of professionals and came up with the ‘The Top Five Career Regrets’ as a way to help folks minimize regret in their own career.

Number two on the list:

“I wish I had quit earlier. Almost uniformly, those who had actually quit their jobs to pursue their passions wished they had done so earlier. Variable reinforcement schedules prevalent in large corporations, the visibility of social media, and the desire to log incremental gains are three reasons that the 80% of people dissatisfied with their jobs don’t quit when they know they should. Said one sales executive, “Those years could have been spent working on problems that mattered to me. You can’t ever get those years back.”

Leaving a workplace is a difficult decision. Timing is unique to each situation. Quit when it’s time to move. Don’t wait until you lose yourself in someone else’s career.

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