Quitting Time: Should You Make the Leap?
Learn from Three Successful Quitters
By Caroline Levchuck, Yahoo! HotJobs
Do you dream of quitting your job one day? You're not alone. In fact, according to a 2007 survey by software firm Intuit, 67 percent of people think about quitting their jobs "regularly or constantly."
Of course, not all those folks will leave their jobs. So what is it that turns some professionals into quitters? It depends on whom you ask.
On a Road to Nowhere?
Eric Arnold, a writer and editor, walked away from an editorial position at a trade magazine in early 2004. "There was nothing wrong with the job, really. It was more like I had a moment of clarity," says the Brooklyn-based author. "I looked at what my career path might be if I remained in my job there and realized I didn't want to go where it would lead me."
So Arnold pursued a long-time passion for wine and wound up halfway around the world at Allan Scott Wines in Marlborough, New Zealand, toiling away in and around the winery and vineyards for free while learning all about how to make fine wine. His copious notes and wry observations became the book, First Big Crush: The Down and Dirty of Making Great Wine Down Under.
His advice to others who dream of quitting? "If you really want to move forward in your career, you have to create opportunities for yourself. And that may involve sacrifices, like working for free. But you have to look at the path you're on and ask yourself if it will take you where you want to go."
Seeking Sanity and Opportunity
It's tough to quit a job that sounds glamorous and impressive to the people around you, but that's just what Carla Jones, an Ontario-based television producer, did when she left the popular reality series she'd worked on for several seasons.
"There were a lot of factors that led me to quit," she reveals. Her decision wasn't spiteful or sudden. "I gave six months' notice, giving notice in June but leaving in early December."
What tipped the scales for this production professional? "I knew I wasn't going to get ahead and I was frustrated by the fact that nothing was going to change," she says. "On top of that, I was ready to leave Los Angeles." Jones packed her bags and headed north to Canada, where she produces series, including "No Opportunity Wasted" and "Strip Search," among others.
Despite her current success, she admits it was a hard decision. "I've been freelance ever since," she explains. "It's always difficult to give up any security you have."
IT project manager Rashmi Sachan didn't know she wanted to quit her job until she was on a sabbatical. "I just knew I was so burned out and I wasn't being effective at work," she says. "That doesn't make you feel good about yourself." So Sachan took what began as a four-month sabbatical, using the time to travel throughout India with family and friends.
Upon her return, she realized she didn't want to be a consultant any longer. "I didn't want to be responsible to two organizations," she says. "When you're a consultant you have two bosses: your employer and your client. It can be very chaotic. My company was changing their business model, moving away from what we used to do and what I wanted to do."
Today, Sachan is an independent contractor in Manhattan, happily working with one major client. She credits her sabbatical with helping her move on.
"If I were going through the daily grind it would've been hard to recognize that I was really unhappy. Especially as a manager -- you're very rarely able to think about right now," she says. "The sabbatical helped me focus on the present and what needed to change."