When Should You Quit?

by Jul 15, 2021Success

Nobody wants to be a quitter… but clearly there are situations where you should quit. 

If your job makes you miserable, should you stick it out for the sake of not quitting? 

Of course not. 

So when should you quit? How do you know? Will it make your resume look bad? What will others think? What about other important decisions that are not work-related? 

After all, we live in a culture filled with anti-quitting quotes and sayings:

  • “Never quit.”
  • “Don’t ever give up.”
  • Only quitters quit.”
  • “There are no failures, only quitters.”
  • “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
  • “Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”
  • “Every time you quit, you make it easier to tell yourself that quitting is acceptable.”
  • And of course, there is Winston Churchill’s famous quote: “never, never, never give up.”

Wow, after reading these quotes that are found all over social media and motivational posters, who in their right mind would want to quit? 

Since emotions are clearly very much involved before reaching the conclusion that it’s time to quit, are there objective ways to make the decision? 

Does quitting make you a bad person? 

Quite the opposite! There are many situations where you absolutely should quit in order to – ironically – become successful. 

Here is a more realistic quote by Mark Twain: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If you still don’t succeed, quit and stop being a damn fool.” 

So again, how do you know when it’s time to quit? 

Here are 10 reasons to guide you through this sometimes difficult decision. 

1. You can’t get your project off the ground 

You may think your idea is brilliant, but sometimes you just can’t make it happen. Maybe you can’t get a loan, or you can’t recruit enough talent, or nobody wants to pick up what you’re putting down. 

It’s OK to hang in there for a while, but if nobody is buying, you don’t have a business. 

2. The numbers don’t work 

For a business to be successful, it needs to generate a profit. No profit, no business. At least not for long. 

So if the cost of doing business is too high, you’re not “selling” enough, your profit margins are too small, or your expenses are too high, then it’s time to believe the math: your business is not sustainable.

3. You don’t have enough customers 

If you open the 10th fast food joint in the same small town and you are no different than the 9 other places, then customers have little to no incentive to come to you. 

Like it or not, customers are who pays the bills. 

If you don’t have a “unique selling proposition,” you don’t have a viable business.

4. You hate your life 

Sure, you were passionate about your business or your position at one point, but now that the honeymoon is over, your passion may have eroded. 

If you’re struggling to get out of bed, if the commute to work is too painful, if walking in the building gives you an ulcer, if there are more cons than pros, if you hate your work life, it may be time to make a radical change. 

5. You hate who you’ve become 

Has your personality changed? 

Do you snap at people for insignificant reasons? 

Have you become greedy to make more money at all costs? 

Once you recognize that you hate the person you’ve become, it might be a sign that you need to change your life. 

6. You do things because you think you should 

Sometimes we do things because our parents, a mentor, a guidance counselor, a friend, or our significant other convinced us that it was the right thing to do. 

Or we had idealized a position, a title, a career, which turns out to be something we didn’t or couldn’t predict. 

Once you realize what situation you’ve in, it’s time to move on. 

7. The fallacy of sunk cost 

Especially with the burden of school debt, we often feel that our degree is a sunk cost and we can’t make a change. 

According to Dr. Google, a sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. Example: the cost of your degree. 

In reality, this is a myth, a fallacy. The alternate approach is to lick your wounds, cut your losses and move on to a better life. 

Just because you are a vet doesn’t mean you have to be a practitioner. We’ve discussed multiple alternate career paths within the Vet Financial Summit community. Some vets have flourished in real estate, politics, industry, teaching, venture capital and countless other fields. 

8. Get out on top 

Sometimes, you have to quit when you’re on top. 

You may have read that most businesses go through 4 stages: start-up, growth, maturity, and decline. 

Traditionally, most owners slow down as they age, and they sell when their business is declining and generating less income. Sometimes much less. 

A much wiser strategy may be to “get out on top,” i.e. at the peak of your game, when your business is most profitable. 

Classic examples of people who quit at the top of their game include Jerry Seinfeld, Peyton Manning and the cast of Friends. 

9. You just have too much on your plate 

Many of us are victims of the shiny object syndrome. This new idea, this new business, this new project sounded like a good idea at the time. But things change. People change. Life changes. 

If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of your projects and you literally cannot keep up or catch up, then it might be time to move on. 

10. Your skills are underutilized 

If you are not allowed or encouraged to fully use your skill set, that might lead to frustration, complacency or resentment. 

Hardly feelings you should allow in your life. 

A-players need to be challenged to be happy. So if you are an A-player, and you are not challenged, you know what you should do… 

Of course, we are not advocating quitting at the first challenge or obstacle. Hard work, grit, and commitment are important qualities. 

But banging your head against the wall week after week, month after month, year after year, is not grit. It’s insanity. 

After all, you are the designer of your life. Why in the world would you design one that you don’t love? 

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Meredith Jones, DVM
Co-Founders of Veterinary Financial Summit

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