November 5, 2007
News & Opinion: Ask 8cr! - Quitting
Welcome to "Ask 8cr!" - a new section of our blog where we've created a forum to find out what kinds of issues and challenges people are having in the workplace. We then take these issues and apply a business book we feel offers a viable solution. Others then chime in via the comments section. The person with the selected challenge gets a free copy of the book, but everyone who reads these posts, wins. Do you have a challenge at work? Send it to me at jon(a)800ceoread(dot)com.
Today's challenge deals with knowing when to quit (or not). Here's the brief challenge sent from one of our readers:
"When do I know it's time to quit my job and move on?" - Kevin
Seth Godin has written a most appropriate book for this challenge called The Dip. In it, he states:
"Most people will tell you that you need to persevere - to try harder, put in more hours, get more training, and work hard. 'Don"t quit!' they implore. But if all you need to do to succeed is not quit, then why do organizations less motivate than your succeed? Why do individuals less talented than you win?
It involves understanding the architecture of quitting, and, believe it or not, it means quitting a lot more than you do now."
It's a short book; a really short book. But it says a lot; much more than simply how to quit. Godin is a master at analyzing situations and injecting a slight shift into the common perspective to create an astounding result. In Kevin's case, he would first need to take a good look at his "Dip" (the moment where he starts questioning what he's doing as being the right thing). This is the important first step. As Seth Godin points out, sometimes Dips can be misleading - we feel like quitting, but will someday look back on challenging times thankful we stuck it through to the tremendous success awaiting around the corner. Other times, the misery we experience will never go away, and what we do has little positive effect on us, our work, the company, and the world in general, so we quit. Those are the two routes, and deciding which one to take is never easy. As Godin states, "the Dip is your secret to success."
From there, Godin tells many examples of common Dips, and the variety of choices you can make when experiencing them: brave, mature, and stupid. Unfortunately, "stupid" is the most common route, and when you read his definition of it, you can understand why. Understanding the architecture of quitting, as referred to in Godin's quote above, is the key to making the right decision between these three categories. In a nutshell: no one should remain mediocre in a dead end. Avoid it at all costs, and if that means quitting, it's not accepting failure, it's being smart.
Quite literally, everyone should read this book. Regardless of position, industry, or personality, everyone faces The Dip, and if we could all react to it wisely, think of what that would do for us, our companies, and eventually, our economy. It's a big deal. If you haven't read this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up. In fact, I'll send the first three people who send me their challenge at work a free copy.
About Aaron Schleicher
Aaron Schleicher has been the author services specialist at 800-CEO-READ since 2004. You can usually find him hidden under a baseball cap, feet kicked up on his desk, talking with authors, publishers, and businesses. Outside the office you can find him crafting candles, listening to records, and making music with friends and family.