How Kim found the courage to quit


I got an email from Kim, who finally decided to quit her job:

I was pushed to the limit at work today with the final act occurring when I was berated by my boss in front of the whole office.

I’ve disliked my job for a while but was using most of your excuses; i.e. I’m not a quitter, things might get better, health care, it may look bad, etc. I actually googled “resignation letter” and was prompted to your page.

I will be submitting my resignation letter tomorrow but felt I was letting down myself, family, the people who work for me, etc. After going through your website I do feel better about proceeding.

I have worked for great companies and great bosses so I know what it SHOULD be like and this is not it. Thank you for reinforcing what I already knew which is that I deserve better.

I asked for a follow-up and got this back:

Thank you Alexander, I did resign today and I feel so relieved.

It couldn’t have gone better and I was asked how they can improve the culture based on my leaving as they recognize there is an issue.

Firs of all: Kudos to Kim for finding the courage to do the necessary and leave that job.

Secondly: I often think that one of the main causes of unhappiness at work is our unwillingness to quit. People stay way too long in unhappy workplaces, under jerk bosses or in bad jobs. And this serves to perpetuate a bad situation.

I’m not saying that quitting a job is easy, in fact it may be one of the hardest decisions a person can make. But I do think that if people quit bad jobs more readily, they’d be happier at work.

So if you’re thinking of quitting, these articles might help:

Update: I just got another email from Kim, who writes:

Thank you for sharing my story. I wanted to follow up with you and let you know that I quickly found a new job wtih a better company, what appears to be a better culture (Start Monday) and with a 17% increase in pay over the bad job I was holding on to.

Even better :o)

21 thoughts on “How Kim found the courage to quit”

  1. congrats, kim! i i did the same 3.5 years ago. i worked in the financial industry, with pretty cushy pay, for 7 years. however, i seriously hated each and every day. i was tired all the time, sarcastic, negative, and really started to hate myself.

    it’s a tough decision, as the current economy isn’t the greatest. i still haven’t found fulltime employment, but it has pushed me to do freelance work.

    i’ve had to seriously cut down my expenses, but giving up my apartment has also afforded me to travel extensively. and yes, you can easily live on 10 dollars a day in asia.

    when i’m struggling to find work, i often remind myself that this still beats working at a toxic company.

    good luck!

  2. Alexander, I agree with you. But I also think that if bad bosses would be fired much faster, that would improve happiness even more.

  3. Great stuff. There are so many messages out there telling people not to quit when sometimes that’s exactly what they need to do when they need to get away from a toxic situation. There will always be something else out there and no one should put up with bad behavior from others. Good for Kim.

  4. My biggest fear of quitting is that I won’t be able to find anything for which I’m qualified. I know that I can find something but will it pay well? Will it be geographically acceptable? I also like this post because it is important from a leadership post as well. If you make your employees feel horrible, they will leave. You will have to retrain others who may not be as good and it will take time to bring them up to competency and you will lose productivity.

  5. I am right there! I am at the end of my career path in my current job and I seriously need to change careers, not just jobs. It is very difficult, especially when you do not have something else to go to after you quit. I am not unwilling to quit anymore, but still can’t afford to don’t have a job at the moment. A bit of a catch 22 situation.

  6. Congratulations, Kim! It sounds as if quitting a job that was the wrong fit was a good decision. I hope you find a place where your work and your skills are valued!

  7. I’m a school teacher.. I like to teach, but I hate doing countless tasks the Principal asks me to do, which in most cases are not related to teaching. If i have other options, I would quit :-)

  8. Kim: you did the right, and healthy thing. Life is too short and spending your days in misery serves no purpose. I’d like to think that a bad boss is a sign of systemic problems in the organization, too. So a fresh start is a great solution for you. (I admit I’m befuddled by _The Devil Wears Prada_ organizations that seem to do well, but I’ll let that be somebody else’s problem to solve.) Alex- kudos to you for having a forum that helps these things happen…

  9. It’s hard to quit. It’s much easier to stay at a joyless job that’s far from perfect. Most people would rather put up with unhappiness as they hold on to “job security” rather than face their fears and pursue happiness. It takes patience, time and faith (in yourself and in your dream). And faith is a gift. Most people, unfortunately, are more blessed with self-doubt and analysis paralysis than courage, which is not the absence of fear but the ability to move forward despite having fear. Congratulations to Kim for taking that big leap of faith. She’ll get back on her feet, as most people who follow her example will. They just have to believe that everything will be all right.

  10. Congrats Kim. It is not the easiest decision to make, but when you do, you feel a great weight lift off your shoulders. It is an opportunity to pick up where you left off and move your life in a different, better direction. I recently left my job I have been at for the past three or so years. At first, I thought I would apply myself and just focus on my work, but that only led to stress, a negative attitude about myself, and health issues. Now that I have left, I feel much more alive and am ready to get back on track. The financial fall out of such a decision is not at all peaches and cream to deal with, but money and health insurance is no good when you cannot enjoy it due to stress during your day to day job. I was drained where I was — physically, emotionally, spiritually. I feel I have my life back.

  11. Most of us like Kim are always afraid of letting go our job. I personally do not derive pleasure from my job, and reading her story encouraged me greatly. It takes courage to do what she did. the fear of the unknown sometimes hinder us from seeing the big picture God has kept in store for us.

  12. I know people’s willingness to stick out a bad job is very common, especially these days, in this economy. But letting the happiness grow and grow can be so harmful to a person’s health and life; relationships can be ruined, whether with friends, family, loved ones, children, and is it worth a paycheck? If people are able, leaving their job, and finding another path for themselves, that might foster happiness, positive wellbeing, might be the answer. It will add years to their lives, and might stumble upon something that will bring endless contentment.

    Thanks for this article and reminding us it’s OK to be courageous, even if it feels like a failure.

  13. How much forethought would you recommend on a action like quitting your job? Of course it has been a long time in coming, but what is your Plan B? Do you wait until you have your next move in the que? Or can you just react finally and feel better for it. The optimist will believe that “it will all work out for the best” but the realist doesn’t quit their job without having their next move in place. Thanks for the encouragement!

  14. Quitting, sometimes, is the best solution one can have but yes the wise do not sit idle and wait for opportunities to come afterwards… rather they create….

  15. Two months and nine days after I first commented I just could not take it anymore. I quit my job today! Don’t know what I am going to for sure, I just know that by quitting I instantly improved the quality of my life.

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