Written by: Thomi Seche, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
These days, it’s a lot like standing amid an avalanche. So many people are quitting. People you know. People you don’t know. The Big Quit is in every headline.
While it’s tempting to join the thunder of rocks coming down the mountain, let’s take a moment.
But first, let me tell you a true story.
Being from Germany, I was fascinated with long-haul trucking. I couldn’t imagine anything more thrilling than driving solo across the United States
I took my curiosity further than just dreaming. I went to trucking school, got a special license, and got a job as a long-haul trucker.
Hitting The Open Road
I got into a lot of crazy and wild situations. Even after 30 years, my heart beats faster.
Just a few highlights…
Pulled off the highway in the middle of nowhere Kansas and hit a freak snowstorm in the dark. Scared me out of my wits.
Speeding down Donner Pass (a super steep mountain) when the brakes went out. Shaking uncontrollably, I gripped the wheel, hit the gas, and steered the truck to safety.
Despite being vegetarian, I hauled a load of free-hanging meat from Denver to Kansas City stockyards. On the way, between tofu slices, I got held up at gunpoint.
We need more time and a lot of coffee, to get into these stories.
Why am I telling you this?
I wanted to give you a little background as this is when I started thinking about quitting.
Feeling Fed Up and Frustrated
I was fed up, frustrated, and feeling isolated. The thrill of the open road had given rise to plenty of time to contemplate my life. In those hours of silence, I’d brew, broodle, and sift through all my emotions, thoughts, and dreams.
I felt like trucking was a great short-term adventure. But, I didn’t see myself doing it forever.
Know the feeling? I bet you do.
After one particularly grueling run, I stopped at a truck stop and had a life-changing chat with Jed, a fellow long-haul trucker.
Here’s the nugget he told me over a bottomless cup of coffee. “Don’t leave your trucking job until you’ve got another one lined up.”
Taking A Closer Look
It was the kind of common-sense insight that sticks out. I played it over and over again in my mind. I heard his voice, like a mantra, as I drove the rest of my run.
And here’s how it went:
Did I have another job lined up?
Did I have another field lined up that I’d like to explore?
Did I have a business plan for starting my own company?
I was just feeling swirling emotions.
Frustrated. Angry. Restless.
Does this sound familiar to you?
I wish I’d been able to talk with Jed a little longer. He told me about his life, how he left being a lawyer to become a long-haul trucker. How he left the fast-paced stressful world of corporate law for the open road. It made total sense for his personality and lifestyle.
But I couldn't just use him as my model. I needed to find my way and make my own choices.
Let’s look at this a little closer.
Acting When Emotions Are High
It’s tough to be level-headed when emotions are running high.
You feel full of fire when your boss is uncaring or unreasonable. You feel like hitting the delete button, grabbing your coat, and heading out the door when you get impossible demands from a client.
I get it. I’ve felt that way more times than I can count.
But, the truth is, when emotions are spiraling and you are ready to explode into action… that’s the time to press pause.
Press “PAUSE” on deciding to quit.
It doesn’t mean you won’t quit.
It means you won’t quit while angry, frustrated, or steaming. You’ll quit when you’ve got the state of mind you want, the conditions you determine, and the support you deserve.
Expressing Emotions In Healthy Ways
I’m a big believer that every energy needs expression.
If you’re feeling angry, find a way to express it. Pick some form of expression that doesn’t hurt you or anyone else. It might be pounding a pillow, writing a declaration, or painting expressionist art. Don’t let that anger eat at your stomach lining, ruin your relationships, or keep you up at night.
And don’t let that sense of righteous anger be your only companion as you walk out the door. You need more than anger and a cardboard box of mementos to move your career forward.
If and when you walk out the door, do it when, as Jed said in his down-home wisdom, when you know your next move.
Just a few things that have helped me when I’m hot and bothered about a job, employer, or work situation.
Maybe these will be useful to help get your emotions working with you—and not against you.
Investigate what’s driving you nuts at work. Write it down. Talk about it to your boss, HR, or other team members. Find out if the situation can be eliminated or the stress reduced.
Talk with an objective friend, co-worker, or coach. If your company offers HR support, check it out. If you feel more comfortable speaking with an objective expert, outside your company, get support from an unbiased coach.
Discuss your situation with your partner, spouse, or family. Evaluate your options together so you have the support and help you need to make a positive transition.
• Evaluate your dreams, ideas, and skills. Use your creativity as a survival skill. Find fresh ways to give voice to your sense of purpose.
Expand your emotional hygiene skills. Attend a webinar to grow your ability to have peace of mind while navigating challenging circumstances.
Invest in yourself. Practice self-care habits such as exercising, eating healthy foods, and meditating to nurture your body, heart, and spirit
What do these tips have in common? They are things that are within your control. It’s a lot easier to manage stress when you focus on things you CAN do—instead of obsessing about things you can’t do.
Quitting Takes Planning
I hope it’s clear that I don’t believe you should stay in a job that you hate. I don’t believe that you are doomed to be endlessly frustrated or angry. I don’t believe that due to the pandemic or financial situation you have to endure feeling depressed or working a job without a sense of purpose. Not at all.
I simply know, from my own life, that quitting takes planning.
In case you’re curious, I quit my trucking job and went on to have exciting work in completely different fields. Looking back, I owe it all to Jed’s comment.
I wanted to quit without a plan, just with a boiling pot of anger, frustration, and feeling “I’ve had enough!”
But I couldn’t get his message out of my mind.
It spurred me to talk to friends and family first. It got me to investigate areas I’d abandoned – from painting to consulting to training to being a start-up CEO and Resilience Coach. I would never have explored these options if I’d quit in anger.
If and when you quit, do it on your terms and your time frame.
If you’re thinking of quitting without a plan, please get in touch. You deserve to have more than momentary relief of anger and frustration. You deserve support to explore your dreams and create a work-life that is best for you.
Thomi Seche, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Thomi Seche M.A., was born in a small town in Bavaria. Received a Masters's Degree in Fine Arts at the Academy in Munich. He was a monk for 8 years in India, practicing and studying meditation.
He practiced martial arts and received two black belts.
The biggest challenge from a small cell in India was coming to America and learning to live in the USA, from the ground up. From driving cabs to driving big rigs, he became a proud Long Haul Trucker. After 2 years, he started his own training and facilitation business based out of San Francisco. For over 18 years Thomi coached CEOs in transition, facilitated high-level team meetings, and was the trusted ear to executive clients.
Leaving the corporate environment, he started 2 start-ups. And yes, one tanked; and one he exited.
He is an accomplished writer, his first book "The Authentic Message" became the bible for many corporate communicators.
His new book "Being Brave," reveals the steps he took to overcome prejudice and live courageously.
In essence, his motto is: "Make it a life worth living."
To talk to him, ask him anything, visit this link https://www.seche.coach/contact