However, if you haven’t felt the urge to quit, you’re doing life wrong.
I’m not talking about celebrities who are all, “woe is me I’m famous and people take pictures of me all the time, I wish I had a normal life. I’m quitting.” I’m talking about that band playing shows with five people in the audience, the unknown Steve Jobs next great inventor type, and the struggling writer freelancing until they catch a break.
And people like you and me, who go to work day in and day out because we like what we do. Or because we need the routine of going to a workplace every day. Or maybe it’s just because the bills are due. No matter how many times you’ve made empty threats about quitting, the likelihood of it actually happening is pretty slim.
Wanting to quit doesn’t always mean you can, or that you should. And people telling you to quit because you complain about your job is definitely not a reason to quit.
Wanting to quit is natural and normal. Why? Because you are not perfect. None of us are.
These imperfections are the exact reason why you can do your job. And do it well! You care about the impact you are making in the company. You are passionate about the work, even if it’s not your passion.
You care. And that is the exact reason you’ll want to quit at some point.
If you quit every time you said you were going to, would you have finished your final college internship paper? Your high school algebra class? Or how about the summer lifeguard job that paid for everything you could have wanted?
Stress, anxiety, and much better offers are going to be thrown at you throughout your life; and you are going to want to quit. You might even tell people you are going to. But that doesn’t mean you need or want to follow through.
Give yourself some credit, you are doing better than you think. You are not a terrible person for complaining about your job, you’re an adult. And threatening to quit doesn’t mean you are really going to. What you really need is a reminder that your job plays many roles in your life—it becomes your identity, your source of positive (or negative) reinforcement, how you pay your bills, a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
If you ever feel like quitting, do your best to keep the impulse to yourself and think before you act. Talk yourself off that ledge. Take a break, read a book, go for a run, eat a pint of ice cream, or all of the above. After thinking it through, if you still want to quit, you’ll be logical and detached enough to make sure you have something better lined up before you give notice.
But more often than not, you’ll get a fresh perspective on what’s frustrating to you and how to fix it.