In two days I’ve had three conversations with friends about their desire to quit their job and their reluctance in doing so.
I’ve been there. I even had to walk away from a job earlier this year.
But life is full of synchronicity (and inquisitive algorithms) and it led me to a Joe Rogan podcast episode with former mixed martial artist George St-Pierre. In the podcast, St-Pierre admitted that there is no such thing as a perfect job and that he hated being a fighter.
Naturally this raised an eyebrow. How could one of the best fighters to ever do it hate his job? He had a record of 26–2–0. He held titles in two divisions. He’s about to be inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame.
Well, this was tied to St-Pierre’s fear of uncertainty on fight days. What was he uncertain about? He was uncertain if he was going to win or lose. He was uncertain on whether or not he was going to be humiliated, or worse, die.
Rogan then shrewdly asked St-Pierre how he felt once the fight started.
St-Pierre responded that all his anxiety was gone once the fight began. What he hated was the day of the fight, the anticipation and the uncertainty of what the result would be.
This made me smile because clearly he didn’t hate his job. If he hated his job I would expect him to say he hated training, he hated the lifestyle, he hated the people he had to associate with, he’d probably start to hate himself for putting himself through this crap for money but most of all, he’d hate fighting in and of itself.
St-Pierre even said that he loved his job but he began to hate it once fight day arrived. What he really hated was losing and the fear of losing.
When I talk to anyone who wants to quit their job it’s because the job itself and what it entails is detestable. If they weren’t being paid, they wouldn’t be caught dead there.
For some there could be a need for an attitude adjustment. Maybe you’re not doing exactly what you wanted or there’s some aspect of the job that is super-annoying.
But when you make that adjustment and you still find yourself dreading Monday morning, the problem is that you and the job are a mismatch.
George St-Pierre spoke about this as well when he was waiting for his fights to begin. To deal with the anxiety he was feeling, he psyched himself up by telling himself he was the best and the baddest, and that he was going to win.
He cited that the reason behind his success was his talent and confidence. His record speaks for itself.
I agree that talent and confidence are always important, but there’s two other things St-Pierre didn’t mention.
There’s a reason he chose mixed martial arts. He could’ve chosen to stick with hockey or a specific martial art but he had a genuine interest in MMA. After all, many people play sports growing up but don’t commit to that path for a career.
When you have a sincere interest in something, you will gain the knowledge and skills that others won’t. When you genuinely care about what you’re doing, you’ll go the extra mile and it won’t even feel like work.
The final ingredient is something Rogan alluded to in the question he posed to St-Pierre. Remember, Rogan asked him if he was nervous once the fight began, and St-Pierre said no.
What this illustrates is that George St-Pierre was intensely focused and in the moment. He was present.
When he was nervous before the fight, it was due to his fear of losing which would’ve been a future event. And all future events are nerve-wracking if you’re projecting that something bad is going to happen.
The solution he went with was to declare to himself that he was going to win, but once he stepped into the octagon, he had to be present. Future-oriented thinking was not going to help him at that point.
This is why some jobs aren’t for everyone. Some people fear the outcome of what they’re going to do and as a result make costly mistakes.
Others just want the outcome of money or the reward and will do sloppy work just to get to the end of their shift.
I’m willing to wager that when George was fighting he was not thinking about the future or past. He wasn’t thinking about the rewards of winning. He was focused on the guy standing before him and knocking him out.
If you have talent, confidence, genuine interest and you are present/in the moment when you’re on task, don’t quit your job.
I know there may be something about your job that is annoying, but every job has something annoying about it. If you traded in this job for another, you’d be trading in one problem for another.
It’s one of those things about life. Nothing is perfect. Everything has the potential to upset you or cause some discomfort.
And since that’s just an unassailable fact of life, what you can do to know for sure if a job isn’t for you is to be in the present moment while doing your job.
You will be more at peace than you would be if you were thinking about the past or the future, but you will know without a shadow of a doubt if this is something you can continue to do.
I typically had the mindset of rushing to the end, but when I surrendered to the moment, I was left with the stone-cold truth that this wasn’t where I was supposed to be.
I had enough evidence to suggest this for years but I thought I had a bad attitude or that I was being ungrateful because it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do with my life. At least I was getting paid, right?
But the truth was that I wasn’t exactly being genuine. The job didn’t reflect enough of my core values and a lot of the annoying stuff I had to deal with, I probably could’ve dealt with more amicably had I been in a job that was right for me.
In my instance, I lacked interest. Come to think of it, many people I know lack interest in what they do for a living. Not surprisingly, many of these folk hate their job.
Others flat out lack the talent. They care about what they’re doing and are quite confident, but they don’t have the gift like others do. You can see the frustration emerge at their inability to do what their peers can.
But they don’t get quite as frustrated as those who lack confidence. They know they have everything they need to succeed — or at least they think they do. Until they acknowledge the lack of belief in themselves, nothing is going to change and they’ll look back at their career thinking they could’ve done more.
If you’ve realized that you really do have to quit, be shrewd about it. If you can set things up so that you can still afford food and a roof over your head, do it. If you don’t have anything set up and you feel like winging it, well… okay.
To be honest, that’s what I did and it worked out. But I do know of others that did the same and it didn’t work out. And I also know of others who had concrete plans that fell through.
Ultimately, you are the master of your destiny. This is just a compass helping you to be where you want to be and to be somewhere that you will thrive.
And who knows. Maybe that resignation letter that’s been sitting in your drafts folder for days, weeks, months or even years will finally be put to good use.