Three times I wished I’d quit.

Further to this previous post I wrote, here are three examples that come to mind, when I think of ‘times I wish I’d quit’.

A philosophy paper in my third year of university.

The paper was some kind of ethics paper. In practise it was a lot about semantics. In retrospect I can appreciate the point it was making more now, at the time I found it frustrating.

The reason I regret not dropping the paper is because what it entailed not doing. The reason I was doing the paper, was in order to complete my degree that year. But I didn’t have a plan for the year following completing. My alterative plan was to do a student exchange and complete my degree overseas. By not quitting I removed that clear objective, and lost focus in my life in general.

A group project at university.

In the final year of my computer science degree, I was involved with a group project producing an Android application. I wasn’t in a good space at the time of starting the project, and didn’t get into what I think was a particularly good group. About one quarter of the year through, I had a fall out with another member about a coding issue, and it lead to a clique against me, where I was seen as doing more harm than good. At this point I could have withdrawn the paper, but I kept in it. Ultimately I burned out, and stopped contributing. At the end of the year the project was a bug riddled disaster (but not my code!), and it was my only C grade of the degree.

My first job early on. 

My first ‘real job’ out of university, I was put on a performance management within six months of starting. The reasons stated were ‘being disorganised’ and ‘asking too many questions without seeking to solve problems myself first’.

Despite being promised that the PIP wouldn’t interfere with my pay review mid year – that’s exactly what happened.

I’d promised myself that if I didn’t get a payrise at mid year, I’d find a new job. But the Team Leader promised an interim pay review at the end of the year (which happened), and advice others gave me that I should stick around for a year.

I regret second guessing myself, and my advice for anyone in a similar situation is that there isn’t really any coming back from performance management – even if they trust you, you’ll end up resenting them for it.

The problem with looking any past decisions and thinking ‘I wish I’d … instead’, is that you can suffer a ‘smooth sailing fallacy’, where the alternative path is seen as problem free. Chances are, any path you take is going to pathed with bumps and challenges. That said – there are some paths I’ve taken (certain papers at university for example) that have been relatively smooth sailing, and generally a success story.

To counter-balance these examples here’s an example of a time that I’d quit, and wish I had:

Looking for work in Australia.

When I was 19, I moved to Australia with $500 in my pocket. The money was all gone within a week, I left the last ~$150 in someone’s car I’d hitchhiked with.

I was staying in Northern NSW, and going to ‘doof’ (outdoor dance parties) every weekend, and otherwise surviving on soup kitchens.

I took a trip north to Queensland to look for work picking fruit there. I made it as far north as Bundaberg, before attempting to head inland to Gayndah, where there was orange picking work.

For two afternoons (I was sleeping in heavily), I tried hitch hiking, with no success. On the third day, I packed up and hitched back to NSW, where at least there were soup kitchens.

I wished I’d stuck with the hitchhiking, it would have prolonged my stay in Australia, and possibly have drastically altered the life path I took.

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