I’ve been going through a bit of a tricky patch with work. I want to take the next step in my career but I’m having some trouble figuring out whether to stick where I am and push on or whether to jump ship and seek opportunities elsewhere. I’ve been in the same role for three years now, and truthfully I don’t dislike my current role, I just feel like I should be making more progress than I currently am. At the same time I feel like I am quite risk averse when it comes to changing roles – Better the devil you know than don’t after all. I suppose it’s apt that I come across this super short, 75 page, book given my current predicament.
When To Quit & When Not To Quit
Seth introduces the concept of ‘The Dip’ and how to recognise whether you are in a dip. The dip is the long slog between starting and mastery, when things are no longer feel fun or interesting. The dip could also be a set of barriers which were raised to keep you on the outside. When you feel like you’re in one of those dips, it’s important to recognise whether you feel you can actually get out of the dip or whether it’s worth quitting and doing something else. There’s no point persevering if it’s not something you really want to do or something you think you’ll never actually be good at. Quit and do something else.
People quit things all the time, they quit jobs or hobbies they no longer enjoy or want to do. but what separates an average person from a winner is quitting at the right time. Recognising what stage in the tip you’re at and timing your exit precisely isn’t easy. You need to take stock and understand whether you’re early on in your dip or nearly at the end of the dip. If you’re early on in this dip and the other side of the dip is a long way off, there’s nothing wrong with calling it quits and doing something else. However if you’re about to come out of the dip, it would be silly to quit now when you’re so close to getting the success you originally set out to get.
Overcoming a dip is exactly what sets apart winners from average people. Too many people quit when things when things get tough. At the same time though winners quit all the time, because they recognise it’s better to be a specialist in one or two things than a generalist in everything. People seek out people who are the best at their craft, not something who is perfectly okay at everything.
It’s also worth recognising when you think you’re in a dip whether it’s actually a dip or a dead end, or as Seth calls it a cul-de-sac. It’s one of those jobs where you keep working and working and working but nothing much ever changes. When you’re in a position like that, it’s important to take note of this and consider actually whether your time could be used better elsewhere, why waste your time in a dead end job languishing in mediocrity when you could switch and go so much further?
Seth points out that a lot of people hang about in a cul-de-sac because it’s too much effort to change job or career. Why rock the boat when you’re perfectly comfortable? But that’s precisely the point, if you’re comfortable you’re not growing and you’re stagnating. You’re not becoming the best version of you that you can be.
Thinking about my own career, I feel like for the last 18 months I have been in the dip grinding away trying to come through the other side. It’s challenging to actually know whether I am close to getting out the other side or whether I am in a theoretical ‘cul-de-sac’. This is actually the main criticism I have of the book – The premise of The Dip and the ideas laid out by Seth make perfect sense, but it feels a bit light on the practicalities of how to assess where you are in your own journey. Beyond assessing whether you’re on a path of mediocrity or whether you’d be happy being mediocre, it’s difficult to assess your own journey. How can you really know whether you’re about to come out of your dip? How do you really know when is best to time your exit beyond pure instinct? Sure the end of the book has a few questions to ask yourself, but they too feel vague.
I felt the book was an interesting short read that allowed me to consider my own journey and what I need to change, but there was little practical advice to help me assess what to do. An extra 5/10 pages would take this book from being mildly interesting and useful to must read for anyone considering quitting their job.