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I recently published an article titled “Quitting is not a sign of failure” and I totally believe it. There are times when we should quit things. However, something that I mentioned during the article was putting a plan in place to quit and I wanted to elaborate on that today.
When we’re deciding whether to quit something, we need to consider the best way and time to do it. For example, if we’re thinking about quitting our current job, we have to think about:
- Can I just quit? Or should I look for a new job while I’m still working?
- Should I take some classes before I start looking?
- When should I reach out to friends and colleagues to let them know I’m looking?
- Is my resume up to date? Are my social media profiles current?
There are more questions, but you get the point. If we’re considering quitting our current job, it just makes sense to put together a plan that gets us ready for that search. Especially if the plan might take a while to complete. In the case of a job search, we can work on our resume, social media profiles, and start reaching out to our network over time. That way, we’re not rushing to get things done. Job searches are hard enough without adding the extra pressure.
Using a job search as an example of a quitting plan is probably an obvious example. There will be times that we don’t have the luxury of putting together a plan. For instance, if we’re being placed in an illegal, unethical, or unsafe position, we might not be able to step back and take days, weeks, or months to plan. That being said, it’s possible that if we see signs that something is coming that we might be able to say to ourselves, “I don’t like what’s happening right now, I should be prepared if I’m asked to do something illegal, unethical, or unsafe.” And spend some time thinking about how you would like to respond if you’re ever placed in that position.
Another aspect to consider in your quitting plan is timing and cost. Having a plan can help us manage the cost of quitting, because sometimes there could be an expense. Personal story – several years ago, I decided I wanted to “quit” drinking coffee. No one was telling me to quit like for a health reason, I just wanted to switch to tea. Well, Mr. Bartender and I had lots of coffee around the house. So, we came up with a plan so I could switch to tea, and we wouldn’t throw a bunch of coffee away. It took some time to make the transition, but now he drinks coffee and I drink tea.
If we think about it, quitting is simply a form of change. And change is okay. We can use our skills in problem solving, decision making, change management, and goal setting to help us successfully quit and restart. Maybe make a SMART plan to help us get ready for a job search. The SMART plan would allow us to stay focused on our goal while outlining the steps we need to take as well as our timeline to success.
Or maybe our plan is to commit to buying less coffee and more tea. We don’t need to throw anything away, but we want to create change.
This doesn’t mean quitting isn’t hard. All change is hard. Even the changes we plan for. But creating a plan can help us to think about the steps we need to take and when we’d like to take them. Sometimes having that kind of control can make quitting and changing a lot easier.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Scottsdale, AZ60