I feel like quitting. I hate to say this for a few reasons.
One of them is that it doesn’t feel good to feel like quitting, unless you have one of those Ah-ha! moments in which you realize quitting is the best thing you could do and it changes your whole life and they make a movie about you. Or better yet, you write a memoir about it and then it gets made into a movie and, if you live even relatively frugally, you barely have to work anymore. In that type of situation, feeling like quitting is just one more step in the right direction.
Another reason it’s hard to admit that I want to quit is that I read posts and inspirational quotes all that time stating that successful business owners are delusionally optimistic, passionate about what they do, and similar. Delusional optimism and passion sound more appropriate for a small business owner like myself than “desire to quit,” right?
Wanting to quit, especially if you are American, is also embarrassing. We are the can-do culture. Quitting is for communists.
The reality, though, is that I do feel like quitting. And all delusional optimism aside, I am not alone. According to various sources on the internet, a good 70% of Americans dislike their jobs. I was on the phone with a friend just the other day and I hadn’t even told her I was writing this post when she told me, almost out of nowhere, that she felt like quitting. It was kind of an exciting moment.
Self help books have been written for the temporarily pessimistic, unpassionate entrepreneur. I just read one by Seth Godin called The Dip. Seth admits, first thing, that he feels like quitting at least once per day. The idea is that entrepreneurs have dips and periods during which we want to quit, but we can turn these dips into triumphant blog posts later (if not memoirs and movies). Right about now, this is the closest thing to that triumphant blog post you’re going to get from me. So keep reading.
The only good thing about admitting that I feel like quitting is that it’s true. The only thing that might be truer is that the feeling is most likely temporary. But who wants to admit that? So while it’s here it’s real and it does feel at least a little good to mentally lay effort aside, sigh, and say —
I’m tired of feeling obligated to be passionate and delusionally optimistic and I want to quit.
The truest truth is that quitting is not currently a realistic option — at least not for me. Instead, I’ll need to find ways to rekindle my delusional optimism and passion. Or at least make peace with the fact that I don’t feel delusionally optimistic and passionate.
But let’s just pretend for a minute that I did quit. What would it look like? I would definitely start with email, and quit answering it. Then I would quit texting, paying my rent, listening to voicemail, checking my Yelp reviews, brushing my teeth, and bathing. No more dishes for me!
In fact, while I was quitting, I’d quit eating. Why not? I’ve already quit drinking. I could even quit talking, but nobody who knows me believes that’s going to happen.
So you see. I may feel like quitting, but what else is there to do?