To quit or not to quit

This post is for Nat.
In her blog After the storm, she writes about putting a lot of effort to get a job.
Only to find out that it was not for her and she quit.

I promised her that I would share a personal, similar story.
Only I didn’t quit. I pushed through all the hell.

Was that a good idea?
Let’s analyze.

If you have been a Technical Instructor for the larger part of your career, I can garentuee, you will have your fair share of awkward moments.

Sometimes you realize that you been teaching a class full of Brad Pitt look-a-likes for an hour with some left over jam on your cheek.
Other times you will meet the guy you had a date with 9 years ago in the front seat staring at you.

Although I can laugh about it now, I have become more cautios.
I will clean my face after lunch and I will always check the participant list beforehand.
It have been teachable moments.

But nothing compares to the first time I delivered a training.

I had been working 1.5 years as a Training Developer when I decided to tell my manager I wanted to become an Instructor.
For some reason, I thought it would be no problem for me.


I stepped in the classroom not as prepared as I could have been.
But hey, I am women. Surely the guys would be nice to me.


They were shooting at me.
They graded me extremely badly.
They cherry on top?
I started crying in front of the classroom.
Instead of showing sympathy, the participants told me that this wasn’t for me.

The next day I was called in by my manager.
He, also, decided to give me a hard time.
And of course, the faucet started running again.

The weeks after were difficult for me.
Let alone “getting back on that horse”.

The second time I did a training, I cried as well.
But this time it was not in front of the participants at least.
But I am sure they heard me weeping the bathroom.

My manager never spoke with any pride about me.

So many times I wanted to quit.
Go live back with my parents.
Take a non challenging job.
The guys were right, this was probably not for me.
But I always thought to myself “just one more week”.

Fast forwarding to a few years later, I am standing in front of the classroom without any anxiety.
I crack jokes.
I challlange my class.
Nobody could ever imagine that there has ever been a moment of inconvenience for me.

You probably think this is a “Look at me now” moment, aren’t you?
But that moment damaged my mental state a lot.
So far, I have been crying at every job I had.
The lack of sympathy I got always brought me back to that afwul moment.
My confidence in front of the classroom is mostly an act.
I am always scared that something like this would happen again.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I just had quit back then.
Forget about it. Start a new, easier life.
Never be reminded of it again.
Would my mental state be not as messed up as it is now?


Dear Nat,
What I am trying to say, sometimes quiting is braver and wiser than putting yourself through hell.
And I hope this story makes you feel just a little better about your decision!

We often say, What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
I don’t believe in this.
What didn’t kill me made weaker, more anxious and bitter.
Because I simply couldn’t stop at the right moment.

Are you someone who rather quits at the right time or push through even though it could damage you mentally?


18 thoughts on “To quit or not to quit

  1. I got a teaching job last September. The original plan was that I would teach three classes English and Physics every weekday. I was told I would resume by 8 a.m. and close by 4 p.m. every day I was teaching.

    However, when I started teaching, things didn’t work out as I had planned. Gradually, the subjects I was teaching increased and my closing time changed to 6 p.m., and later on, to 8 p.m.

    I was teaching nine subjects and I was teaching on Mondays through to Saturdays. It took a toll on my health. I wanted to quit, but I knew that the students would suffer greatly if I left (they were lagging behind in their syllabus, and the school didn’t have enough teachers).

    I resigned December last year, however. I couldn’t take it anymore.

    I guess I’m trying to say that I’m the kind of person who would quit a job early before it affects my mental health. BUT if there’s a good enough reason to stay, I would try to stay a bit longer.

  2. Different things are suitable for different people. Obviously. So I’ll skip that part.

    What if you did quit back then? You would have moved in with your parents. You wouldn’t have met Jasper (?). You would still be living in the Netherlands (?). Your mental health and self confidence might have been worse. What do you think?

  3. The descriptions of how you stayed at the job ended up impacting you in the long run really pulled at my heart. I know I might sound cheesy but it really did because your experience showed somehow your body persevered although there were costs to your mental health. Either choice of staying or quitting has an outcome and consequences, I can’t say which is more favorable as it depends on the person dealing with their situation. I don’t know if I feel better about my decision to quit but I also know I won’t always feel this bad either. On my side, I feel like a wuss for not toughing it out although I had valid reasons for not staying. To deal with the aftermath of “after the storm” has been painful as this leaves me to work out what I will do next (job wise). I am not sure yet but I’ll figure it out.

    The sentence about the Brad Pitt look alikes had me chuckling. Your posts can be serious but always make me laugh with your bit of humor. Thanks for sharing.

  4. One thing to consider, quitting at this time doesn’t mean the end of the dream, or that it won’t happen eventually.

    I was back on my first college campus today, some 33 years after I dropped out with one semester to go. I had been told during my 3rd-year internship that I was not cut out to be a pastor. I then broke up with my fiance, three months later got into a motorcycle accident, and couldn’t finish my last year.

    I went into managing bookstores, and then university bookstores, and then did an undergraduate degree in management. (so I have enough undergrad units for a degree and a half!) I was managing a high-tech compilation of computer systems that ran everything from financial applications to retail and food service and security and access. Fun stuff!

    And then this little church of 14 senior citizens 130 miles away needed a pastor. They were desperate enough to call me to be their pastor 21 years ago. Now, I pastor a church, oversee other pastors, sit on the board of directors of the 320 churches and 180 schools that compose our “district”

    If I had become a pastor at 22 or 23, I doubt I would still be in ministry today. Those 12 years I spent in management made a difference…and I am doing what I dreamed of doing at age 8. (despite family and others who wanted me to remain in the tech fields)

    Remember that, if you do decide to leave a dream.. or an idea… the decision isn’t permanent.

  5. That is a very beautiful story!
    You reflect the message I was trying to send perfectly.

    Putting yourself through too many obsticles will make you eventually breakdown. And then you realize all that hard work was for nothing.

    I guess where one doors closes, another opens.
    Also if you have shut the door yourself! 🙂

  6. You will figure it out! I am very sure.
    There will be more opportunities like this.

    Actually there is one other thing I have learned:
    If you have to go through a lot of pain and worry to make things happen, it will never really work out for you.
    I think the application process for your job was a little bit too insane.
    Even when I look at my current job. It took 4 months, 4 tests and 4 meetings for them to decide that I could be the right person for them.
    I think an application process should be based on whether you like the CV as an initial step. If the feeling is right during the first meeting, then you know.

    That was very awkward with those Brad Pitts in my class, haha. I never had such a good looking group of people in front of me.!

  7. I can totally understand why you quit!
    You gave them one finger and they decided to take your whole hand. They asked way too much of you!

    Quiting was probably the best thing to do. And I really hope they have learned their lesson as well!

  8. It’s always the other side of this that gets shown. The side that, if you keep pushing through you’ll be stronger and go further. Thank you for sharing this point of view.

  9. I actually liked the NL back then.
    In all honesty, after a few years, I felt very bitter about Denmark.

    Even though it was my own suggestion to start teaching, manager should have realized that would never work without giving me any time to practice or sending on a course on how to do that.
    He just left me jump. But instead of grabbing my hand when needed, he let me drown and made it worse.

    Living back with your parents is not the best idea for anyone. Certainly not for an independent person like me.
    So I wouldn’t have stayed there for long 😉

    Jasper is the best thing that ever happened in my life.
    But do we really miss that what we don’t know about?
    I personally don’t believe there is only one person perfect for me. There are plenty.
    I only believe that once we once we found one of them, don’t be tempted to seek any longer.
    What is your thought on that?

  10. That’s very individualistic. I know people who like their bosses easing them in, holding their hand, etc. I do not. I absolutely hate that.

    That is true that we can’t miss what we never had. I fully agree.

    I also agree that one should actively look once that person is found. Are the multiple people for us out there? I don’t know. What I think is that there are some people who are more perfect than others.

  11. Depends on the situation.
    If you’re 21, in a different country and your English isn’t good, then a little support from a manager is not the worst thing.

    But now, I don’t like it either.

  12. Reading through this post reminded me so much of my first semester of teaching reading & writing to 11-13 years olds. My students tested me, some even hated me because they were used to having substitutes. I had newbie skills in everything including classroom management, so this means I lost control of my classroom at least 4 times. I wanted to quit, but, like you, I keep telling myself just one more day, one more week. For me, I guess it was easy to forgive (not forget) since I’m teaching children.

    But I can’t imagine getting negative and no feedback/responses from adult students and managers. That’s is a major difference, so I can totally understand how this can affect one mentally. I loved getting feedback because I wanted to know if I was doing things well.

    You’re brave and strong sticking to your job! Have you thought about how maybe you’re meant to be there to be support women in a field that mostly has men? That your feminine and sympathetic side is needed?

  13. Adults sure are different target group than children.
    But mean children I can forgive, they have still a lot to learn.
    Adults, however, should know better. But unfortunately they don’t!

    The field I am working in definitely needs more female influences.
    Sometimes the testerone is just driving me crazy!
    I would encourage any woman to join me in the technical field!! 🙂

  14. It’s embarrassing to think about the lengths I went to ensure I was enrolled in the program and how much I wanted it. I do think part of me was living in a fantasyland that the school would be perfect for me. How many times I have had the same thoughts in prior school/job situations…Too many to count. I suppose it was my way of coping with the reality of the situation that I didn’t want to face; that something wasn’t right in the situation and I would rather put my head in the sand than deal with it properly. I just wanted a quick thing I could jump into so I could start working, but the school did a poor job of orienting the students beforehand too. It would’ve helped if they had an information session for prospective students to come in and have an instructor explain and demonstrate what they would be learning and what to expect from clients and also allow people a chance to ask questions and/or even get a tour of the school facilities. I got none of that and as a result I had all these expectations about how things would be like based on the info I had from reading their website about the job position. I feel at fault for not asking the recruiter enough questions on the phone during the initial registration process and when I met her in-person, though they made mistakes on their end too. And then also, it should have been a real red flag to me that the school was literally willing to accept any student as long as they had proof of U.S. citizenship, proof they could work, and medical clearance. A job that was this easy to obtain was probably always going to be too good to be true. The application process was shoddy enough but I could complain about the class structure too was absolutely terrible at certain points. Maybe I’ll write a post about that…

  15. Sorry about my giant paragraph… Hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s eyes for those who read through the whole thing lol. I meant to space things out but got carried away with typing and completely forgot.

  16. This applies to me in a way. Like, sometimes at work– I am just having such a hard time I want to leave but I know if I stay, I could make more $. It’s hard to decide which would be better for ME in the long run though.

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