Quitting is Hard: Do you have enough reputation?

Varun 3 years and 2 months ago
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This is the second post in a series on how Quitting is Hard. Each post explores why quitting is good, one potential barrier to quitting, and a way to overcome it.

Why is quitting important?
We've already discussed how quitting is a way to open yourself up new opportunities. Let's take this a step further. Are you in your dream job? No? Guess what: you're going to have to quit what you're doing now at some point to get there.

Why is quitting hard? Reputation building is our default mode.

[caption id="attachment_115" align="alignleft" width="229"]How much is enough? How much is enough?[/caption]

It's only natural in the early stages of your career to be concerned with building the reputation or "resumé" that will enable you to move on to bigger and better things. However, some of the amazing folks I've advised find themselves stuck in this mindset, even when they've already accomplished more than enough to achieve their career objectives.

I'm all for building a healthy resumé, but there is a point where you're not getting any more value.

Here's the rub: there are some people for whom reputation-building is a primary motivator in and of itself. If you're one of these people, the lessons here apply, but with a grain of salt.


How do we overcome this obstacle? Ask yourself some simple questions.
Just a simple self-assessment should be enough to help you out here. In fact we started it earlier:

  1. Are you in your dream job? Odds are if you're reading this, you aren't.
  2. Have you built up enough reputation to do that job? Probably not.
  3. Have you built up enough reputation for your next career move? Even if you don't know what your dream job is yet (see this blog post), you should have some sense of the next step in your journey. If this is still hard to answer, consider reaching out to mentors or people you trust in your network. Or just try applying and see what happens.

My personal experience
Some time ago I found myself in a funny spot. I had completed a visioning exercise and had some sense of where I wanted to go. I knew at some point I would be become an entrepreneur, but I had to decide what to do now. My first instinct was "join a startup and get more experience." But I had to ask myself: did I even need more credibility or experience? I thought about this for a little while. I even spoke with a couple of venture capital investors. Columbia, Apple, Microsoft, HBS: I realized that I had more than enough reputation. I was ready to give it a shot, as nerve-wracking as it feels.

It's easy to keep doing what you're doing. But it's also boring.

How much reputation is enough? Sound off @disqovery and share your thoughts. Sign up for our closed beta, while you're at it.