Take This Job and Shove It – Please!

Ready to take the plunge into entrepreneurship? Don’t burn those bridges behind you. This should be common sense by now but I hear from so many disgruntled employees of large firms who want to set up their own shops, or jump over to a competitor, who just can’t seem to let go of those  bomb-dropping fantasies.

You know the ones. You’ve undoubtedly had one or two yourself – I know I have.  They usually end with your soon-to-be-former boss weeping on his or her knees in front of you, clutching at your suit jacket, begging you to reconsider.  (Mine involved a public meeting complete with press coverage and a withering revelation of some devastating fact complete with visual aids – never mind I didn’t have any devastating facts. Hence – fantasy. )

I urge you to give them up completely, now. “OK,” you may say, “I can certainly understand why you wouldn’t want to actually act on those fantasies. But why not even think them? What harm can that do?”

Plenty, as it turns out. What we think about most often has a funny way of showing up in our lives. I’m not even delving into The Secret territory here. I’m talking about plain old ordinary human interaction. Think about it: have you ever been late to a meeting with someone you didn’t really care for? What happened? You got stressed out, right? And the more stressed you became, the more obstacles you encountered, right? Missed lights. No parking spaces. Stupid wrong turns. Slow elevators. And then what happened? You started thinking about that person in particular who was just going to be nasty about something, you could tell. And dollars to donuts – that person proved you right with an unpleasant attitude or sarcastic comments.

Is this so unusual, really? Whether others sense and respond to our attitudes (via body language, or through our own personal experiences), or whether there’s some spiritual conversation taking place on a higher sphere, who knows. I do know this, though: you spend enough time thinking about a confrontational “I quit” scenario, you are setting yourself up to have one, despite your best plans to the contrary.

Instead, spend that energy visualizing a positive exchange with your boss. Play out in your head the various ways it could go, and plan your responses accordingly. And (just to contradict everything I just wrote) consider one or two less-than-positive outcomes. This is especially constructive if your boss is toxic or prone to displays of temper (I’ve had a few in my day, and you can usually tell how they’re going to react before you even start). Try to keep your imagined responses even in tone and temperament, though, especially when dealing with toxic people; the calmer you can stay, the more you can defuse the situation.

And when the time comes, if defusing the situation isn’t possible, then simply extricate yourself secure in the smug knowledge that you took the high road.

For more thoughts on “How to Quit” from the Chief Happiness Officer, visit his post of the same name.

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