Richard Maun – Quitting Is Cool!

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Quitting Is Cool!

13 March 2017

Transactional Analysis is often described as ‘a contracted psychotherapy’ and I’ve been learning about it and weaving it into my work for nearly 15 years. The core of TA, for me, is about clear contracting and one of the things I learned a few months ago was to add a ‘play or pass’ option when working with delegates. What this means is that when asking for feedback with a group of people they have the option to contribute or to stay silent, which is a healthy position to be in, instead of forcing people to speak up when they may be feeling vulnerable.

In this instance they are able to quit the conversation and keep themselves safe. Quitting is positive and because there is an overt permission in the room, nobody has to feel shamed at remaining silent.

However, we can carry that old phrase in our head: ‘You’ve made your bed, so now lay in it.’ As a result we can stay stuck, or carry on trying to rescue a broken situation, or refuse to entertain options to solve the problem.

I remember saying this phrase to a dear friend, many years ago when I was a bit stuck and she instantly replied; ‘Well if you don’t like the bed you made, then go and make a different bed.’

Astonishing! I never knew you could make a different bed and just forget about the first one! It was a good permission to have and really made me think about what I wanted to do. We can all make a new bed, we can all stop, make a change, go in a different direction, spend some money and make it happen!

We can quit. If and when we choose to.

There is dignity in quitting. Stopping can be the most important step we can take.

A good friend was booked on to a course to learn about management. She enjoyed the first few months and was looking forward to becoming a team leader. However, as the course unfolded, she started to realise that management wasn’t her preferred career vocation and this gave her a dilemma. She felt obliged to complete the course, because her employer had funded it, but she knew that to continue was also not being honest and was in effect wasting their time and giving them false expectations.

Wondering what to do she chatted to a friend one Saturday as they strolled into town for a late breakfast and, as she talked, her friend interrupted; ‘Just quit’.

My friend stopped dead in her tracks and realised that she had never thought of quitting until that moment, she had always tried to think of ways of making it work. ‘Just quit’ was an honest and caring permission, given to her by someone she trusted.

The next week she talked to her line manager and explained her situation. Her manager was sympathetic and said that the organisation didn’t want staff to be miserable, or to work towards a job that they really didn’t want to do, so she was welcome to leave the course. My friend had been deeply worried that she would get ‘told off’ for wasting their time, but her manager was pleased she had owned up to her problem before starting the role. The organisation was now free to do something differently and of course there are always other people who can be employed or promoted.

My friend quit the course. Then she quit her job. Then she quit her flat. She moved to a new part of town, took a part-time job that suited her and began to work towards her real ambition. She began to write her first novel.

Next week: Pull up! Pull up!


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact