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If The Office Is Not A Good Fit, Sometimes You Have To Quit

Work matters. We spend a great deal of our lives at work. It is important that you get meaning and satisfaction from your job, whatever your job may be.

If your boss is a jerk or if your opinions do not matter or if the values that are important to you are an issue, some times it is worth it to walk away.

Greg Smith, after 12 years of employment at Goldman Sachs wrote a resignation letter explaining why he was quitting. Some of the reasons cited by Smith were:

  • The company which in the past had a great culture is now focused on making money and not on what is best for clients.
  • Obtaining a leadership position in the company was once based on ideas, doing the right thing and serving as an example to others is now solely focused on how much money you bring into the firm.
  • For Smith building a client’s trust long-term and serving their needs was most important to him rather than a short sighted focused on making money. With trust and good client service, money will follow.

The bottom line for Smith was that working for Goldman Sachs “… just doesn’t feel right to me anymore”.

I had a decent paying job as General Counsel to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority with a pension and medical benefits, but the corruption and raw politics that I saw there at the expense of public housing tenants sickened me. It reached a point for me as well that it just didn’t feel right to stay any more.

Today I am much happier as a self-employed attorney where I have the freedom and ability to create my own work environment.

I understand that not everyone has the ability to just walk away from a bad employment situation, but sometimes for your own sanity and principles it is the right thing to do.

Have you ever walked away from a job that was not a good fit for you?


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Michael Stevens

Wow. I came from a private contractor and into government a little over four years ago and you took the words out of my mouth. I loved the contractor when I first started, thought I had a part in national security and the company stressed that. Went into management and it became about targeted revenue my team can bring in every month, sacrificing quality, and answering to an investment group every two weeks on conference calls. “Just didn’t feel right to me anymore.”

It was not easy giving it all up but you have to recognize the long term benefits and piece of mind.

Nice read!

Peter Sperry

What most people need to do is focus on maintaining and upgrading their skill sets so the have enough marketability to make walking away a realistic option. I am consistenatly amazed at how often I find myself explaining new technology, industry trends, recent policy analysis, new thinking etc to people 20-25 years younger. You cannot wait until you walk to retrain. A 35 year old professional with a 10 year old skill set will need 6-12 months or retraining to be even minimally competative in today’s job market. A 55 year old professional with a 30 year old skill set, can only count themselves lucky to still be employed and live with whatever flows downhill. I would also caution that as you pass 40, be very cautious about walking away too quickly. Even with a well maintained and up to date skill set, the job market does not favor older applicants. If you are over 55, stay where you are unless you have a solid alternative offer in writing or the corporate culture has crossed into the illegal. The harsh reality is that if you jump into the unemployed pool at that age, you are more likely to end up in early retirement with a minimal fixed income than to land anything approaching a promotion. You will always hear rah rah stories to the contrary but the statistics are brutal.