From a young age, my parents worked hard to make sure I developed a good work ethic and knew to never quit on a bad day. Looking back, the advice to “never quit on a bad day” is one of the best things they ever taught me.
We all have our bad days, and we all know that these days can stir up negative emotions. A few years ago, I worked a job that I absolutely hated. The bad days outweighed the good days, and I lost track of the number of times I complained to my friends and family about how much I hated the job, and many suggested that I quit.
I knew their suggestion was coming from a good place, but I remembered the advice to never quit on a bad day. I promised myself that I’d only quit when I found a better job, which I eventually did. Looking back, I’m happy I waited until I had a new job lined up (that I still have and love) before I decided to quit – I knew the stress that would have come along with quitting without the prospect of a new job wouldn’t have been worth it.
Though there were plenty of days when I wanted to quit my old job out of pure frustration, the “never quit on a bad day” philosophy helped me think logically about my career decision. Unfortunately for others, quitting on an impulse hasn’t worked out well in the long run.
The Great Resignation Has Become the Great Regret
You’ve likely heard of the Great Resignation, where an estimated 20% of American workers quit their jobs in the first half of the year, and even more left their jobs in 2021. According to Bloomberg, “The surge in resignations has been linked to Covid risks in the workplace, new opportunities created by work-from-home, and a general sense that Americans have been rethinking their professional lives amid the turmoil of a pandemic. The level of job quits this year is roughly double what it was a decade ago.” Plenty of workers left for better jobs, freelance work, or because they wanted higher wages (which is not only understandable but awesome), while others quit the workforce altogether. The Great Resignation also led to the rise of the antiwork movement.
No matter the reasons why millions have quit their jobs over the past year, recent data shows that many have regretted their decision, turning The Great Resignation into The Great Regret. According to Bloomberg, “More than one-quarter of those who left work are reconsidering whether they made the right move, according to a study of more than 15,000 job seekers conducted over the past three months by Joblist, an artificial intelligence job-search platform.” Many reasons are cited for workers regretting leaving their old jobs, including financial security and missing their old workplaces.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. There will be good days and bad days at any job you work, and that's okay. Though it’s impossible to know whether or not you’ll regret your decision to leave your job, thinking it through logically over time without heightened emotions involved will likely reduce the risk of regret. It’s important to ask yourself what you want out of your career and weigh the pros and cons of quitting. Some can afford to quit before finding a new job, but some can’t afford the risk. While many of us fantasize about bursting into our boss’s office to tell them we quit and that we hate them after a rough day at work, it’s important to recognize that most Americans can’t afford to burn a bridge like that. Quitting on impulse or rage quitting may seem like it could be cathartic, but it’s not responsible or mature.
Many also cited burnout as a reason for quitting their jobs. Burnout is real, but you can avoid burnout before it begins by setting boundaries at work and learning what a healthy work-life balance looks like for you. Work is an important part of our lives, and achieving a healthy work-life balance so you can avoid burnout and other mental health problems is key to both a good career and life.
Use This in Other Areas of Your Life
The best part of the “never quit on a bad day” mindset is that you can easily apply it to other aspects of your life, especially regarding health and fitness. The first day back at the gym after taking a break is always the hardest because your body is readjusting. If you quit after the first day back, you’re not going to experience any of the benefits that come from working out like being in a better mood, increased energy levels, muscle gain, and fat loss. Great athletes like Simone Biles and Tom Brady wouldn’t be the best in the world if they quit once things got tough, and you shouldn’t either.
Quitting the second things get tough in anything from a relationship to a job means that you’ll inevitably miss out on the great moments. Even the strongest couples have battled rough times, and working through them only makes you a stronger couple. Many of our grandparents faced struggles we can hardly imagine today, but they never let it break them. Bad days are inevitable, and we can either give up or choose to except the fact that adversity makes us stronger.
You can find plenty of work and life advice online, but one of the most important tips I’ve learned in life is to never quit on a bad day. This not only prevented me from making an impulsive decision (that a part of me really wanted to make) that I likely would have regretted but taught me that I could apply it to every aspect of my life. It’s some of the most simple yet wise advice I’ve ever received, and we can all benefit from practicing it.
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