Staying On

Bob Goldman on

In last week's sermonette, we discussed when it's time to quit your job. This week, we will discuss when it's time to not quit your job.

Confused? Good! I'm doing my job.

Also doing her job is Alison Doyle, who covered the matter of "to quit or not to quit" in a matched pair of articles on the job site The Balance Careers.

As is apparent in the "don't you dare quit" article, Doyle has a lot more faith in your maturity than I do. "Even if you hate your job," she writes, "it's better to make an informed decision and leave when the timing is right. Don't decide in haste and quit in the heat of the moment."

Good advice. Quitting in a red-hot, hotheaded burst of rage could indeed "cost you money and negatively affect your future career prospects." On the other hand, going out by flaming out could make you a hero to your co-workers and an inspiration to the Cautious Clarence types who cling to their horrible jobs because they're afraid to let go.

Certainly, there could be catastrophic financial consequences from your actions, but I wouldn't worry about it. Eating is overrated.


One very good reason to not quit your job is that you are about to be fired. Be careful making this judgement; you probably thought you were going to be fired on Day One. Still, if you are certain that the ax is about to fall, keep doing what you're not doing. By being fired, you could be in a better position to collect unemployment insurance. You may also put yourself in line to get a sweet severance package.

This won't be the kind of package incompetent CEOs get when they take off the golden handcuffs, but you could be in line for a gift certificate to the 99-cent store and a set of Ginsu knives. And believe me, you deserve it.

Another reason to stay on at a job that is well past it's sell-by date is that "you haven't really decided on a career yet." This is asking a big ask. The time to decide on a career is when you're ready to retire. That's the point when you look in the mirror, slap your forehead, and say, "Holy smokes, I should have been a forest ranger!" (If you are forest ranger, you say, "Holy smokes, I should have been an investment banker.")

Until that point, you shouldn't quit. Or you should. It doesn't really matter.


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