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What to do Before You Quit

Image of orange cat on stone wall high above village. Katherine Broadway, M.Div., LPC, Raleigh Psychotherapy, counseling

Ralph walked in and announced that he had quit his job. He worked for a large accounting firm and found that they expected a 50-hour work week. Even with the extra work time, he was always running behind which led to making mistakes and criticism from his supervisor.

The tension, stress and long hours were causing him to lose time with his daughter and to get sick. His quality of life was low and his enjoyment of life was not what he wanted for himself and his daughter.

Mary Ann came in and announced that she had confronted a close friend and that they decided to end the friendship. This friendship had been floundering for months.

What had once been a supportive and fun friendship, turned into a never-ending series of criticisms and conflicts. She dreaded getting together with her friend because always she walked away feeling depressed and beaten up. She could never do enough for her friend.

Ralph and Mary Ann had very different problems. What they had in common was that they each made a difficult decision that took months to make. Each of them had talked about their difficulties until they had a clear idea the decision to quit was right for their the circumstances.

Quitting is not an easy decision to make, but if you take time and ask yourself some hard questions, you can leave with the feeling that you did your best to sort out the problems.

Questions to ask yourself before you quit:

1. Are you making this about right or wrong, good or bad?

The reason that you quit needs to be about what is the healthiest for you. If your mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health is suffering, you need to take some action to help yourself.

2. Are you making this about success or failure?

We change, others change, circumstances change. When this happens, what we want and need changes as well. What once worked no longer fits within our lives. It means that you need to quit so that you can find people, places and things that fit you where you are now.

3. Have you identified the real causes of your unhappiness and dissatisfaction?

When you quit judging yourself for the need to make a change, it becomes possible to identify what is making you so dissatisfied and unhappy. Sometimes, there is more than one reason you are feeling bad: sleepless nights, a low-level infection that is draining your strength, a constant stream of self-criticism running through your mind. We as humans are complicated and that can make it difficult to see the truth.

4. Have you tried other solutions?

If it is a conflict with a friend, a trip to a therapist may help you sort out what is happening in the relationship. Maybe, something inside of you is hearing criticism where there

is none. In a work situation, you may need more training to do your job in a more comfortable way. A new way to communicate might help you solve the problem.

5. Have you given it time to change?

Trying new ideas and solutions to old problems will take time to learn, and practice to implement. Expect to be discouraged along the way. Rather than seeing it as a reason to quit, see it as a normal part of the process and keep going. Be sure to have a friend who will help and encourage you.

6. Have you asked yourself what you would be losing?

When we are under stress and just want relief, we tend to forget that with every change comes losses. How important are the people, activities and things you will lose. How will you replace the valuable parts of what you are leaving?

7. Do you have a plan?

Life and situations can get so difficult and hard that you want to walk out immediately. That is usually a bad idea. Think through the process of quitting and starting a new life. Visualize every step of the way, all the problems, struggles, joys and accomplishments. Then ask yourself what you need to do to be prepared before you quit.

There are times when it is difficult to know what to do: stay or quit. It is especially difficult when you have invested a lot of time and effort in what you are deciding to quit. No matter how long your history is with a situation, you can take away a great deal of value. Nothing is ever a waste if you can learn and grow from the experience.

I can help you sort out difficult situations, answer hard questions and find the value in what you are experiencing. Call me at (919) 881-2001.

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