When Is It Time to Quit?

In our society, persistence is lauded as a positive trait, and rightly so.

Edison wouldn’t have invented the light bulb if he gave up easily. Sir Edmund Hillary wouldn’t have reached the peak of Mount Everest. And no one would have heard of Barack Obama.

But today we’re gonna talk about quitting.

Because sometimes quitting is good. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve quit jobs, relationships, good habits and bad habits alike. And while the below points come from a career point of view, they’re applicable to other things too. Some are good questions for a relationship.

Assuming that there aren’t major issues — you’re not getting abused, sexually harassed, or doing anything illegal… What if things are kinda OK, but you’re not sure if you should stay? Here are six things to consider:


1. You’ve given it a fair chance

Don’t quit too soon.

I’ve personally witnessed people who start complaining from Day One. That’s usually a problem with the person, not the company.

But if you’ve allowed some time to pass… To fully immerse yourself in the culture. To understand what kind of time and energy it will take from you. What you will get in return. And what kind of person your boss is. Then you can make an informed decision.

I think six months is long enough to decide.

Don’t wait too long.

Life’s too short.


2. It doesn’t make you feel alive anymore

Every relationship, job or activity has its ups and downs. It’s not realistic to expect every day to feel like your first kiss.

It should feel right in your heart though. Like when you marry someone. You may frequently fight, but I hope deep down, you really feel that both of you are compatible.

If not, then you should break up.

If the majority of the time, all you feel is dread. And boredom. Or even worse, if your job is actually affecting your health: realize that it’s killing you.

This may sound overly idealistic, since we’re “just” talking about a job. But trust me, there are many people who wake up most mornings, excited to do work they love.

You and I can be one of them too. We just need to find work that makes us feel alive.


3. You don’t feel honest anymore

Most of us are guilty of slacking sometimes. You know, those days when all you feel like doing is the bare minimum?

That’s human nature — especially when you’re feeling down, demotivated, or if your son is ill.

But if you’re constantly not doing the best you can — you start to feel dishonest. That horrible feeling when you realize you’re actually robbing the people you’re supposed to serve. If it gets to that point, consider quitting, before dishonesty starts polluting your character.

You can lie to your lover, bosses and colleagues without them ever knowing.

But you can’t lie to yourself forever.


4. You’re not growing anymore

All relationships — professional, romantic or platonic are about growth.

They’re about helping each other become better.

In a professional sense, you’re supposed to help your company make profits. In return, the company pays you a salary — but also gives you opportunities to learn. Not just technical skills you need for the job — but intangibles like responsibility, motivation and leadership.

If your relationship has come to the point where you’re not learning anything. Where you’re not growing better as an individual, or even worse — if you’re becoming a badder person — it’s time to leave.

Quit before you start hating each other.


5. Your friends and colleagues scare you

“Do you wanna know how you’ll be like in five years?” one of my ex-colleagues once asked me. “Look at someone who’s been in the company for five years.”

I looked around, and the person in view scared the shit out of me.

(A few months later, I quit).

Of course, everyone’s experience will be different. Maybe you’re a unicorn. Who’s to say you won’t become the youngest, highest-paid and most good-looking vice president in the company’s history? It’s definitely possible.

But for most people, your older friends and colleagues are a good guideline of who you’ll be in a few years.

If that scares you, maybe it’s time to find new ones.


6. You can’t see a future together

Imagine yourself in five years time. Would you be happy if everything at work was the same? (With a bigger salary, of course).

Now look at what your boss does. And his boss. If you were promoted to one of their roles, do you think you’d be happy?

Because if you don’t believe in a future together, realize that you need to quit.

Of course, not everything has to be a lifelong commitment. Sometimes people stay in jobs just for the short term benefits. Or just as a stepping stone for something greater. Some people do that with relationships too.

Maybe you can’t quit today. Or tomorrow. Maybe you think you need twelve months.

It just begs the question:

If you already have your heart set on doing something else, what’s stopping you from doing it today?



This article first appeared at Emmagem

Further reading: Lifehacker, Entrepreneur, Fortune

Photo at Pexels

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  • Point 3… ouch! but TQ for the timely reminder. Glad I found this blog from genxyz’s recommendation. You are a lot more than personal finance and I may be the first person to say this. Your non-money posts are better than the money related ones 🙂

  • I wish I had found your website sometime ago. It would have inspire me to leave situations instead of hanging on and expecting bad people to change when they are not going to. As you said, persistence is a good thing; however, there are times when you need to quit because due to various factors. I would add one more factor why you should quit and that is when the people you work with are doing everything in their power to destroy you physically and mentally and will never accept you.

  • Good read Aaron, recommended your site to several peers, your articles have been consistently inspiring. You are one author, I can’t help following for more reads! Good job and write on!

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