How to know when it's time to quit 🚫
Walking the tightrope of quitting spontaneously and waiting too long ⚖
I often talk about toxic productivity and hustle culture. These topics go hand-in-hand with the glamourisation of working hard and how quitting = failure. You only have to spend a few minutes on YouTube before you’re hit with "this “never quit” rhetoric, usually superimposed on a photo of a lion or something equally “manly”. Roooar.
“When you feel like quitting, think about why you started” - Gary Vee clones everywhere
I, however, am a strong proponent of quitting. Whether that’s quitting a toxic relationship, a dead-end job, a parasitic friendship or whatever else is bringing you down, quitting can be very freeing - if you do it for the right reasons and take time to consider your choices.
The general consensus is that you should never quit something without forethought, so… how do you know when it’s time to quit?
That time I should’ve quit, but I didn’t
Back in 2017, I had no idea how to quit. I was working in a corporate B2C marketing role and I had been promoted at the end of ‘16 to manage the company’s social media strategy.
I had a company car and being a 26-year-old manager, I thought I was doing pretty good on this journey we call life. I was even carted about the local high schools by the company CEO who wanted to draw the attention of young females who may not previously consider working in a male-dominated industry (would not recommend).
While I was at this company, I was approached no fewer than six times by different recruiters for this one role at another organisation nearby. The money at this other position was much better and I was basically a shoo-in, but I kept turning them down because I was determined to see this strategy to fruition - even if my mental health suffered as a result. I didn’t want to quit - I couldn’t quit.
I was already an anxious person when I started this role, and that was soon perpetuated by a company culture of manipulation, bullying and gaslighting. A horror story that came to a climax when I was told my HR in a mediation session that I was “just being paranoid” less than a week before being made redundant (funny, that).
Upon being told that I was being made redundant, they escorted me out of the building before I could even collect my belongings or say goodbye to my team and I drove home to contemplate my new reality:
All of it was for nothing
And surprisingly… I felt better
Never again would I have to argue why buying 1,000,000 Facebook ‘likes’ wasn’t a social media strategy.
Never again would I hide in the toilet trying to catch my breath before meetings.
Never again would I be forced to drive across the country and back in a day to teach a bunch of boomers how to use Facebook.
What a glorious feeling that was.
I got precisely two weeks redundancy pay plus my four-week notice. Six whole weeks to sort my life out. It seemed like a lifetime and the opportunities were endless. I learned how to create and edit YouTube videos, we started planning a year-long travel adventure and we served notice on the flat to move in with my parents.
I also approached the company who had tried to get me to join them and before, while the role was no longer available, they offered me a sturdy content exec role with the same salary as my management role and zero line manager responsibility. As if I hadn’t already realised what an idiot my previous employer had made of me, it really was clear now.
Back to the topic of quitting, I’m not one to dwell on “what ifs” but I really should have quit that job when the anxiety stopped me living any kind of life without crippling panic attacks and chronic IBS (read more about my MH & digestion links in this piece I wrote for The Mighty & Yahoo).
Since then, I’ve had to quit things through no choice of my own. Like when I left my job in Sydney to fly home to look after my Mam, who had pancreatic cancer. At the ripe old age of 28, turning 29, I am much more attuned to when I need to quit. I am still known to overwork but I am better at having breaks and I take no issues with parting ways with a client who is more of a ballache than they’re worth.
Learning how to quit (and when to quit) is a vital part of modern life.
This is the part of the newsletter where I share what I’ve been enjoying this week. I read The City We Became by NK Jemisin, a Lovecraftian urban sci-fi horror about New You City quite literally coming to life. What makes this novel so interesting is that Jemisin is reclaiming a very specific style of prose that was pioneered by problematic author HP Lovecraft in the 1930s.
I briefly mentioned Lovecraft in my newsletter about separating the art from the artist, as the existence of his complete works taunts me from the bookshelf. Lovecraft was not just a racist but he wrote horror stories that pictured black people as “other” further perpetuating the fear and anxiety directed towards the black community for centuries. He really was a dreadful person and has no place in the “things I’ve enjoyed” section, but the reason I am mentioning this is that Jeminsin’s story takes hold of Lovecraft’s concepts and shoves them right back in his face. Pairing this with the creative take on the effects of gentrification makes for a great read.
For the next few weeks, this section will be even more boring than usual as I embark on Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy book series The Stormlight Archive, I’ll see you all in 3,500+ pages …
Thank you and nice comments
Last week, Conversations By The Sea reached 100 subscribers! This is a big goal I’ve been working towards for the last 20 or so weeks, and I am over the moon that people actually read what I write and even tweet about it. Thank you so much ❤ I will keep writing as long as you keep reading.
Don’t forget, along with writing this newsletter, serving clients and reading a stupid amount of books, I also run the LinkedIn Toolkit - a monthly subscription to support your LinkedIn content creation.
Find out more about the LinkedIn Toolkit and sign up on my website.
That’s all from me!
See you next week,
Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:
22 July - You’ve got a friend in me 🤠👩🚀
15 July - The hardest part of writing is writing 🖊
8 July - The dangers of the side hustle
1 July - I timed my working life for a month 📅
24 June - Hi, I'm Ellen and I'm a productivity addict ✅
17 June - Grow through what you go through 🌿
10 June - Can you separate the art from the artist?
3 June - Know your worth 💸
27 May - Let's talk about money