I was reading a post by a guy named Alexander Kjerulf (don’t ask me to pronounce it) titled The Courage To Quit. It was the story of a woman who finally realized, after another day of being verbally abused by the guy in charge, that she had to quit and find something else. She was thanking Alex for helping her to realize that quitting in this case wasn’t failure and that it was okay to do.

We’re a culture of talkers when it comes to the concept of not quitting. When someone is in a contest and all looks lost, we tell them not to quit, to persevere, and maybe they’ll still win. When someone is afraid we’ll tell them to stand up to it, don’t quit, get over it and they’ll feel better about themselves once they succeed.

I tend to believe there are good times to quit and move towards a better goal. I’m not alone on this one; you just have to think about it.

When you’re ready to lose weight, you’re supposed to quit eating a lot of foods that are bad for you, or at least reduce the quantities you’ve been eating. When you’re ready to get things done, you’re supposed to quit procrastinating and start working on whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. We hope that people stop smoking to not only improve their health, but so the rest of us don’t have to continually smell like ashtrays.

I don’t ever like telling someone that maybe they should think about leaving their job. With the unemployment rate, even though supposedly it’s getting better, it can be a frightening proposition being out there without work, without steady income. At the same time one has to weigh what’s going on.

Decades ago I found myself having tremors on the drive home, which scared my dad enough that he paid for me to go get a physical exam, which I didn’t want. It came down to my being stressed at what was going on at work. Now I didn’t quit my job; I quit taking it. I set aside time to speak to the supervisor directly about it, having a list of my gripes and complaints, and we talked. It took 90 minutes, but we came away with a much better relationship.

I was lucky. Even though other people who watched from the outside didn’t believe that my supervisor was that flexible, I had an expectation that she valued my work enough to have this conversation with me. And by extension, other employees benefited from the conversation because how she addressed people from that point on totally changed. Sometimes an employee can train a supervisor.

In essence, even when you’re not quitting something, you’re quitting something else. When you quit beating up on yourself you feel better and start doing good things. When you stop treating others badly you find that your relationships with people get better. When you allow yourself to be happy… the skies the limit.