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Everyone I Know Is Quitting

Posted on by Brian Hertzog

Everyone I know is quitting.  They've had enough politics, stress, ungrateful bosses, and long hours.  It's like that scene from the cartoons when Bugs and Daffy are arguing back and forth, "It's rabbit season!" "Duck season!!" No, it's "quitting season."

I can't explain it, but recently I've had so many friends express their dissatisfaction at work.  Do you feel like quitting?  We all experience the feeling once in a while.  I don't blame people for standing up for themselves and declaring enough is enough.  But a small part of me feels this frustrating moment could be avoided, at least to some degree.  How? 

I'm a cynic.  I don't believe in the "perfect job".  We know what we want and expect, but there's usually some distance between our fantasy and reality.  We call it "work" for a reason.  Unless you're the creative type working for yourself, odds are at some point you'll feel tired and frustrated, and being your own boss is no guarantee.  There's no excuse for abusive management, but there are ways to avoid these situations all together.

Really understanding the motives of the company can help you avoid some disagreeable scenarios.  If you know what makes your bosses tick, you're less likely to end up on their wrong side.  Also, ensuring that the business is built on a solid foundation can help you avoid being lied to as an employee.  Without the "whole truth" you risk the unexpected vaporization of your job whether you perform well or not.  Always try to position yourself where your fate is in your control.

Expect drama and politics.  These two follow money like a duckling follows it's mother.  Never too far behind.  If you anticipate company drama, you can position yourself a step ahead.  Every employed professional I know has his or her own opinion of how things should be run, but it doesn't always align with reality.  People can be passive aggressive.  They can throw you under the bus.  It's an employee-eat-employee world out there (sometimes) and you have to be prepared.  Preparation is probably the number one thing that will make drama and politics bearable.

You might wonder, "how could they!?"  "Who do they think they are?"  Unfortunately, these things happen.  One of my first jobs was working for a contractor.  Not a day goes by in the office when I don't think how lucky I am to work in a beautiful building sitting in a chair.  When I can't stand office politics any longer, I think about the guys outside busting their butts from 6AM and suddenly things don't seem so bad.  It helps putting things in perspective.

Work isn't part of life, it is life.  We're always working at some level.  The good news is that the way we make money doesn't always have to feel labor intensive.  Getting to that point is the hard part.