I’m gone: A look at why young people quit their jobs

If your job is making you miserable, quitting might not be the worst option - as long as you have a plan.Who hasn’t thought, at one time or another, about quitting their job? Maybe your boss has been unfair to you, or a client was overly demanding, or you simply had a dream about living on a beach somewhere and selling pina coladas to tourists.

Whatever your reason for fantasizing about quitting, you probably haven’t thought about doing it in quite so stylish or creative a manner as Marna Shifrin, who recently left her job as a journalist by producing a short video of herself dancing to Kanye West’s hit, “I’m Gone.”1 Her dance moves, and subtitled explanation of why she was “gone,” went viral and made her an Internet sensation. It also served to highlight the conflict many young people feel about working demanding jobs versus pursuing their dreams.

Quitting: Both exhilarating and scary

There are few things in life that can be so simultaneously empowering and frightening as quitting your job. On the one hand, you feel free, like you’ve removed the shackles of corporate America (or whatever kind of employer you work for). On the other, you’re going to quickly begin wondering how you’ll be able to pay your bills.

Why people quit

In America today, despite continuing economic uncertainty, more than 2 million people quit their jobs every month.2 Many of them are young people who leave to pursue their dreams, whether those be artistic, scholastic, familial or something else entirely.

Other times, people quit because they are simply dissatisfied with their occupation. They might have a boss who doesn’t understand or appreciate their work, they don’t feel like they are doing something that contributes to the world or they feel stifled by their work environment and the internal politics.

Planning to quit

If you’re considering quitting your job, you’ll want to make sure you have at least some sort of a plan in place. A financial cushion is the most important consideration, so saving money is key, but you’ll also want to have some idea of what comes next.

Will you make that move to the Caribbean to teach surfing, transition to another job or profession, or go back to school? Will quitting truly improve your life? Will it give you more time to pursue what truly makes you happy? And what exactly is it that will make you happy?

Many of those questions can be answered by deciding to go into a profession that offers some sort of personal fulfillment, which can be anything from working at a nonprofit to a new career as a certified veterinary technician. That’s the beauty of quitting, though – it’s up to you to decide your fate.

1 Shifrin, Marna, “An Interpretive Dance for My Boss Set to Kanye West’s Gone,” youtube.com, Sept. 28, 2013.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew_tdY0V4Zo

2 Hall, Alan, “‘i”m Outta Here!’ Why 2 Million Americans Quit Every Month (And 5 Steps to Turn the Epidemic Around),” Forbes magazine, March 11, 2013.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/alanhall/2013/03/11/im-outta-here-why-2-million-americans-quit-every-month-and-5-steps-to-turn-the-epidemic-around/