Quitting

Alright, I’ve already confessed about my lapse in the PBP. If you really care why, check out my post on relocating. But I do want to take a moment to revisit “Q”, a letter I missed. Just for the record, I completely skipped “O”, “P” and “Q”, and I had a pretty good “P” topic, but never mind. However, I am going to take a moment to go back and share my thoughts on quitting.

Generally, quitting, or being a quitter, is totally frowned upon. But I’d like to say, sometimes it’s alright to quit, and sometimes it’s the best decision. Knowing when to say no, or quit a project or some such thing, I actually see as a skill. No, I am not saying be a quitter; rather, know when it is in your best interest to quit.

Examples? I was writing a textbook, and then things got all out of whack. I was having trouble with how it would be piloted, and the writing had become so stressful and all consuming that I was loosing sleep, and it was seeping into all areas of my life. So I quit. I called the publisher and said I just cannot do this right now. I figured that’d be it, but surprisingly they worked with me. They gave me a number of months off, and then we reset the publishing schedule to be something I could better handle.

Another one? I am a college dance professor and adult beginning ice-skater. The skating director at the rink asked if I wanted to teach dance for figure skaters at the rink in exchange for free lessons and ice time. Sure I said. Well, that totally sucked. The air conditioning in the dance studio was broken, and keep in mind it was summer in Houston. We’re talking about 90 plus degree days with humidity around 80%. The room was tiny, and although I had taught kids for many years, after teaching college for almost ten years I had just lost the desire to work with children. Teaching that class was absolutely miserable. I hated doing it and I’m sure the kids could feel it, so I quit. I did it in the best way possible because I still skate at that rink, and I didn’t want to mess up my relationship with everyone there. And it all worked out for the best, and I am so glad I quit that teaching gig. Although, I quit so gracefully that the skating director still approaches me all the time to see if I’m interested in teaching classes again.

Maybe I’m fooling myself, but I think it is a skill to recognize when quitting is the best option. And let me be clear, I do not think it is good to be a quitter. That is, someone who quits projects and whatnot all the time. I think quitting is an extreme decision, and should be used very sparingly. The skill lies in knowing when to quit, and knowing when it is truly the best option.

Advertisements