Register | Forgotten password?

Job Hunting
In Work
Thinking About Quitting

Four Reasons to Quit Right Now

"For long decades we were shackled by a system under which no worker could quit work of his own accord... it was an insane piece of daring to protest in the place where you lived or worked."

Alexander Solzhenistyn , The Gulag Archipelago

1. There is nothing to fear but fear itself

"But I can't leave this job" you say! Perhaps this job is not as bad as your last and you're afraid that your next move could end up taking you backwards? Or perhaps you fear that your next step will be onto a career escalator that will whisk you upwards faster than you can cope?

Aung San Suu Kyi has had a great deal to be scared of in her fight to overturn the brutal military dictatorship in her native Burma (now renamed Myanmar). Her party won the election of 1990, but as she had been placed under house arrest since 1989 she was not allowed to take power. Suu Kyi says, "Free men are the oppressed who go on trying". This observation had been already codified in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It states that "every individual and organ of society" should strive to promote the basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled, regardless of who they are or where they found themselves.

By exercising your right to quit your job and biting the hand that holds your lead, you will leave behind whatever holds you back and crushes your spirit, action that will make the world a better, more liberated place. In stark contrast, deciding to do nothing, to stay put or give in your anxiety about moving on and you become just another means for despair and stagnation to gain a firmer foothold on society and the world at large.

2. Quitting your job is an exercise in freedom

Alexander Solzhenistyn, the Soviet dissident who catalogued the 'full loathsomeness' of the Soviet state, observed that one of totalitarian society's favourite techniques is the restriction it places on the freedom to choose where to work and when to leave. Resigning simply was not possible in the Soviet Union. Workers had to stay in their assigned job until they were given another, retired or died. Stirring up too much trouble (or any trouble at all) would mean forced relocation to an unbearably harsh prison camp, years of hard labour and almost certain death. People have lived, worked and died without the freedom to quit their job as and when they choose. Even if you believe that it is practically or financially impossible for you to escape a particular job, your situation is infinitely better than many people in the past could have dreamed of.

Quitting is the purest expression of personal freedom at work and one of the few means of protesting against poor conditions or stupid management. Big business has longs for flexible employment markets that are compatible with the economic liberalisation and frictionless flow of capital that exists between companies and nations. Organisatons that are free to hire and fire employees at will have an advantage over their more cautious competitors: they can shed personnel to boost profits in hard times and limit the cost and rights of employees when the order book is full once more. This dual strategy of fragmenting, disarming and then shrinking the workforce at will has flourished wherever workers have become disunited and unable to organise themselves effectively.

Of course, it was never meant to turn out like this. One conception of the flexible workforce relied on well-trained employees who were able to adapt to changing commercial conditions and technology throughout their working lives. In fact, this may be the case for portfolio people with qualifications and connection who are able to spread themselves thinly across a number of projects. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, flexibility means that employers prefer to dip into the labour pool when they know workers can be laid off or given unfavourable terms and longer hours. The training that any meaningful career relies upon is dispensed with as an unprofitable luxury - several studies have argued that a 'flexible labour market' and the 'learning society' our politicians insist is the way forward are mutually exclusive.

Employees need to think about adopting a similarly ruthless approach when dealing with their employers. Corporations currently benefit from many of the legal rights that people enjoy, but as an individual, YOU are what matters in the sort of society most people would prefer to live and work in. If you think you are a valuable employee but are being treated on a par with stationery or office furniture, it's time to go somewhere better. Your present employer will surely reap what they sow eventually, why stick around?

3. Winners Quit

You wouldn't be visiting and you certainly would not be reading this article if you were entirely happy with your present circumstances. No, you'd probably rather be somewhere else right now, doing something more interesting, surrounded by people you like and respect. Well, what are you waiting for? Are you pushing that pen or is it pulling you into the grave? After all, winners do quit. Successful, contented people do not waste their time doing things they don't like or leave them hopeless. Continued to exposure to a bad job and nasty boss can ravage the mind and body with stress related ailments and so it's absolutely imperative that you get out under your own power before you die with your tie on.

A human being at rest generates a kilowatt of heat. There is no internationally recognised unit of human potential, talent or imagination but the chances are that your employer is not paying what they owe you. Convince yourself of your worth and charge accordingly. Even if you have a rotten personality and looks that would cheer two tied sacks of shit, for the sake of millions of years of painstaking evolution, make the best of yourself. Is your current job setting you up for a bright future in fertile, sunlit uplands or is it a rocky slope down to the shadowy gully of career extinction?

4. You'll actually enjoy handing in your notice

Well, we hope the resources on our website help you make the most of quitting. If the only thing holding you back is uncertainty about the proper way to go about it read our article Resigning with Style and Dignity . If you're dithering over what to put in your resignation letter, we can help you out with this as well . If you're still looking for a job, use the incredible job-seeking resources of our employment partner . If you have a more specific concern or question, take a look around the Coffee Machine section of the site - somebody may have been there before you. Finally, if none of these help, email the people behind I-resign directly - our combined experience will probably be able to point you in the correct direction.

Remember, walking away from that job for the last time will be a feeling to savour.