Sooo, you took that new job and it’s not turning out like you hoped?  You started 2 or 3 months ago and now you are wondering if you should stay or go?  How do you decide if it is time to quit and cut your losses, or time to stand and deliver despite the obstacles?

Here are a few reasons it might be time to hit the door running:

  • They lied to you in the interview. If people told you things in the interview they knew to be untrue …  it’s time to leave. You cannot trust them to tell the truth about anything.
  • They did not lie outright, but covered up materially significant things you deserved to know. If you are the CFO and an accounting scandal is brewing, and the people who knew it failed to tell you about it … it’s time to leave. You cannot trust them to come clean about anything.

I rarely encounter issues like these.

Usually the reason people feel like they want to quit is because the problems they are encountering are bigger, or more entrenched than they expected. Newsflash: if you are an expert in your field, that is to be expected.  If they had to hire someone (you) that means that other people in the organization did not have the time or expertise to identify all the problems or realize their complexity. That’s no reason to quit – that’s the reason you have a job – that’s a challenge you will find anywhere. Get on with it, solve the problem and then decide your next move from a position of strength.

Another reason people feel like they want to quit is that the other kids are not being nice to you in the lunchroom.  The other kids are mean to you and don’t play well together. This complaint is all well and good, until you are older than a fifth grader. If you are older than a fifth grader, I hope you are taking some responsibility for how people treat you. I hope you are learning how to command the respect you deserve. This job, while not ideal, is the universe teaching you a lesson – the lesson is “Learn how to stand up for yourself” – and class is always in session, and every day is exam day. Don’t shrink back from this one.

Better to run into the wall full tilt and fail famously, than slink away and dodge the 3 month gap in your resume question the rest of your career.

If you quit you will always cringe at the standard interview question “Tell me about someone who made it difficult to work with them. How did you handle it?”

At least failing, you can hold your head up high and as a bonus, you get a good story to tell in future interviews.

Cut and run is not a good career foundation. Stand and deliver works much better. Go ahead, take your best shot, throw everything you have at it. A great big bold full-out failure will do more for you than 100 avoided conflicts.