But it’s a fantasy, not a future.
Image Credit: Huck Mag/FosterHunting
It was the beginning of a new career. I’d accepted a new role and had done my fair share of due diligence. During the process there were many different careers I looked at and there were some excellent offers.
Thankfully, I settled on one such offer and took the job. There was a high probability things would work out — or so I thought.
A few days into the job, a family member had a stroke. It became clear that they wouldn’t survive long. Given I was only new in my role, I was conscious of not disappearing. The solution I rationalized was to tell my boss that I needed to leave on time that day after explaining what had happened. They were okay with it and told me to take all the time required.
Then the clock struck 4:55 PM. My phone rings and it was my boss.
They needed me to come to the boardroom right away as there had been a crisis with a big client. I entered the room, explained I had to leave and was told that my presence was required. The value I could bring to the situation seemed minimal given I hadn’t even done the product training yet.
The meeting went on and on and on. Every minute I sat there was another minute I wasn’t at the hospital. It was almost unbearable, but I was in a new career and didn’t know my place yet. Not wanting to rock the boat or make any early mistakes was my focus. Looking back, this was the wrong way to think about the situation.
After two hours, the meeting finally ended. I ran to the lift, went to the ground floor and ran to the train station to get to the hospital as quick as I could. It wasn’t too late and I made it to visit my sick family member before they later passed away.
After this initial situation happened, things calmed down for a bit — that was until a new boss took over. On their second day, they explained their philosophy on leadership. It centered around making people fearful of them, hiring people who had mortgages so they could be intimidated easier, and sacking people regularly to retain only the best.
As soon as the words left his mouth, I knew deep down in my body that I wouldn’t last. That’s when the delicious thoughts of quitting came to mind.
These thoughts didn’t last a day or even two — I had these thoughts every single day for the rest of my time at this company.
While sitting on the couch or riding the train to work, I would have these deliciously addictive thoughts of how I was going to quit. In the fantasies, I’d get on my moral high horse, tell them why they sucked as a leader and tell them I was quitting.
These delicious thoughts continued at night too where instead of sleeping, I’d unconsciously plan out my exit speech. I’d try to stop these thoughts, but no amount of self-control worked. Quitting can be just too delicious to ignore.
What you will realize
The fantasy of quitting your career or a relationship or living in a shared house is not helpful. Seeking revenge or lighting the whole dream on fire doesn’t serve anybody — especially not yourself.
The time you waste on thinking about quitting is far better spent on coming up with a solution. The solution is to move yourself closer to what feels right or makes you happy. That requires a plan, careful execution, patience and a rational view of the situation. Delicious thoughts of quitting are not rational and most of the time not practical.
With this realization, I changed my strategy to be solution orientated. This meant giving up the story, stopping the complaining to my partner and looking for my next career.
Instead of fantasizing, I applied for jobs, reached out to my network and began doing interviews at other companies. This shift in strategy made me feel a lot better because all of a sudden there was light at the end of the tunnel.
A fantasy of quitting, I realized, is not a future.
There’s a bizarre ending to this story. While I committed to getting away from this bad boss and company, other challenges arose and I was forced to leave. On my way out, I resisted the temptation of my previous delicious thoughts and went quietly.
The positive thoughts of my new and exciting future were far louder than the thoughts of quitting. The future gave me energy and hope — thoughts of quitting didn’t give me anything at all other than a dopamine hit.
We’ve all had fantasies of quitting or heard someone talk of theirs. They may sound amazing but what I want you to learn from this experience I’ve described is that there is no value in it.
The worst way to quit is by giving in to your fantasy and not having a brighter future to go to right away — thus serving no purpose.
The best way to quit is to find a better future and move on gracefully.