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$40 Strategic Quitters
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$100 1-on-1 with Lynn Marie!
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PLUS 30 minute 1-on-1 video coaching session with Lynn Marie! Ask her anything about the art of quitting or a big life move.
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Learn to use quitting as a tool to carve out a successful life.
Quitting by Design attempts to de-stigmatize quitting by teaching readers how to use quitting as a tool to create success. It provides a detailed guide to quitting strategically and effectively.Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed https://pszr.co/xhLMX
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Lynn Marie Morski wasn't always a physician and a lawyer. She's been an underskilled multimedia designer, an overworked sports medicine doctor, and a completely frazzled co-founder of a startup.
What saved her from her harrowing career choices and allowed her to carve out the career path she has now? Strategic quitting.
With this book, Dr. Morski aims to pass on what she's learned about quitting not only from her own experiences, but also through interviews with others who have made successful quits themselves. She tackles the stigma surrounding quitting, while highlighting what a useful and necessary tool it can be in carving out a life you enjoy.
Thousands of self-help books have been written to tell people to live their best lives, without necessarily addressing the fact that making major life changes almost always requires quitting one thing and starting another.
This pain point is often the barrier to change. Many avoid quitting because they fear the unknown. Will they find another career or relationship? Will their new path provide financial stability? Will friends and family question the decision to quit? Will society see them as quitters?
These questions generally go unaddressed. But that’s where Quitting by Design comes in - its sole focus is to help people through their quits successfully so they can continue with their transformations. It specifically speaks to all of the above fears and more.
For example, to dispel the fears about not finding another relationship or job, the book delves into opportunity costs and other concepts which illustrate that often the only thing getting in the way of a better situation is not having quit the current one.
It also provides concrete steps readers can take in preparing their finances for a quit so that a fear of financial instability doesn't keep them stuck in whatever isn't currently working. It helps them realize the great disconnect between how much we imagine others are thinking about our decisions and how little they really are. And it tears apart the stigma associated with quitting by highlighting successful people with well-known quits and by pointing out that often the stigma lies in the semantics: when someone stops working as a food server because they've become a successful actor in Hollywood, it's called "making it," not "quitting food service."
Dr. Morski knows how to address fears and prepare your health, relationships and finances for a quit because she's been there time and again. She has quit educational pursuits, jobs, careers, relationships, political parties...you name it, she's found a way to quit it while maximizing the benefits and minimizing the challenges associated with major life changes. And she wants nothing more than to pass these skills along to you.
· Introduction - The introduction is very short and is mostly a pep talk for the reader who may be contemplating a quit. It gives readers an easy way to know what the book can offer to them. It’s included as the introduction to this proposal.
· Chapter 1 - A Word About Semantics - This is another short chapter that eases the reader into the quitting mindset by addressing head-on the unease that many have with quitting based on the stigma surrounding both quitting and being seen as a “quitter.”
· Chapter 2 – The Basics - My Quitting by Design website covers several topics that aren’t included in this book, and this chapter gives a brief overview of that material. In “The Basics,” I cover what keeps people from quitting, the “sunk cost fallacy,” opportunity costs, and whether time and money are ever really wasted. I also address the moral implications of quitting (spoiler alert – there are none!), I discuss the difference between quitting and failing, and finally, I help dispel the “quitters never win and winners never quit” myth.
· Chapter 3 - Contemplating a Quit - This chapter addresses the readers who may be thinking, “If I can just get through (fill in the blank), I’ll be happy.” It helps them evaluate whether there is truly a light at the end of whatever tunnel they are currently stuck in, or if their best option is to quit trudging through the tunnel altogether.
· Chapter 4 - What Specifically Should I Quit - This chapter helps readers focus in on what is preventing them from a more stress-free life. Do they need to quit their career or would they be better off if they just found a similar job with a different company? Would they benefit from quitting school altogether or should they just change majors? The first step to a successful quit is knowing exactly what area needs to go.
· Chapter 5 - Deciding Whether to Quit - In this chapter, I help the reader identify whether the area that they feel needs to be quit can instead be altered or changed in some way, or if it needs to be abandoned altogether. I lead them through some list making exercises that not only help them decide whether to quit, but should they choose to quit, the lists will help them make more informed decisions in the future.
· Chapter 6 - When Should I Quit? - Now that the reader has decided what to quit, the next step is deciding when to enact the quit. I cover both the specifics on when to quit a job and when to quit relationships, as the two involve very different considerations.
· Chapter 7 - How Should I Quit? - The ‘how’ of quitting is one of the easier concepts to cover, as I am a proponent of burning as few bridges as possible. This chapter instructs readers on how to quit while still leaving a favorable lasting impression on whomever may be on the other side of that quit.
· Chapter 8 - Preparing to Quit - Health - While quitting can greatly benefit health in the long term, the short-term effects of a quit may put a strain on a person’s well-being. This chapter provides a concrete set of recommendations for how to get one’s health in order to not only survive the quit, but to be in the best shape to make the quit as successful as possible.
· Chapter 9 - Preparing to Quit - Finances - The finance chapter gets into the area that keeps people stuck more than any other, and it provides ways to minimize the financial risk associated with quitting and to maximize resources to make quitting possible and successful.
· Chapter 10 - Preparing to Quit - Relationships - Being in a situation that isn’t working can be stressful on one’s relationships, but so can quitting that situation. With that in mind, this chapter provides steps to take to help ensure that quitting doesn’t negatively impact one’s romantic relationships.
· Chapter 11 - Overcoming Fear - This may be one of the most important issues in quitting: overcoming the fears associated with taking that leap into often unknown waters. However, this chapter addresses not only the source of many of these fears, but also ways to surpass them and move on toward a more fearless quit.
· Chapter 12 - Action - This is a sendoff chapter - wrapping up the book and wishing readers a successful quitting journey.
Quitting by Design is for:
Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq. is a physician, attorney, certified yoga instructor, election reform activist, digital media maven, henna artist, martial artist, musician and lifelong quitter.
Her journey began with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications at Webster University, where she continued on to graduate school in Multimedia. When she realized multimedia wasn't for her, she made her first in a long line of fairly dramatic quits and left graduate school to pursue a career in medicine.
After the ten year journey from pre-med coursework through medical school, residency and sports medicine fellowship, she again realized that the path she had chosen led her to a place that wasn't perfectly suited for her. At which point she quit again - this time leaving sports medicine to work at the Veterans Administration in their Compensation and Pension department getting former service members compensation for their injuries.
After a move to San Diego landed her living next to a law school, she indulged her lifelong desire to put her legally-inclined mind to work and applied to the school. Four years later she graduated as valedictorian.
Her foray into helping others with strategic quitting began when she was asked to give a speech at her law school graduation. She looked back on her varied career and decided the best advice she could give to budding young lawyers was to teach them the value of quitting, as it had been instrumental in how she'd gone from a broadcast journalism major to video editing to multimedia to medicine, and finally (at that point), to law.
Following graduation, she began work at a global medical tourism startup as their co-founder, chief medical officer and in-house legal counsel. While she loved the work, the uncertainty of the life of an entrepreneur wasn't for her, so she make another quit and began working as an adjunct law professor for her alma mater, Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
After having accomplished a number of career goals, Dr. Morski decided to take a long look at what she would do next. She wanted to do something that would help others while allowing her to explore areas that her other careers didn't, such as writing, coaching, and public speaking, which is how Quitting by Design was Born.
Her graduation speech on quitting had resonated with so many of the law school's professors, as many of them had quit the law firm life to move into teaching. She posted the speech on social media and was asked to come on the "Happen to Your Career" podcast to help those considering a career change use strategic quitting in their transition.
She then began giving talks on quitting at local business organizations and events, and realized that sharing her quitting strategies was a great way to combine doing something that helps others while also feeling the state of flow that comes from doing something that comes really naturally, which for her was writing, coaching and public speaking. So she launched a website and began writing the book you see described above.
Through her 'Quitting by Design' website, Dr. Morski helps people carve out successful lives through strategic quitting. Her goal is to de-stigmatize quitting and illustrate what a useful tool it can be in creating a fulfilling life. When not helping people to and through their quits, she is a physician at the Veterans Administration and an adjunct professor of health law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Outside of medicine and law, Lynn Marie trains the Brazilian martial art of capoeira, plays the guitar and bass, and works in election reform and digital media for nonpartisan public relations.
There are very few books on quitting on the market. The ones available all provide valuable information, but none of them cover the exact range of material included in my book. Here’s a few and how they differ:
The Dip (Seth Godin)
The subtitle of this book says it all: “A little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick).” In The Dip, Godin first introduces the benefits of quitting, and then spends the remainder of the book describing the difference between dead-end situations and ones in which it would be beneficial to stick it out. Both The Dip and my book discuss the decisions to be made around quitting, but it differs from my book in that it doesn’t outline the practical aspects of how to quit, whereas mine goes through preparing your health, finances, and relationships for a quit.
Quitting (Peg Streep and Alan Bernstein, LCSW)
This book presents many psychological and scientific concepts related to quitting. It breaks down quitting concepts and puts them into philosophical and psychological categories that help readers understand their own human desires and tendencies. Quitting differs from my book because it focuses more on the forces that keep people from quitting and an explanation of human behavior than on the actual nuts and bolts of a successful quit.
The Art of Quitting (Evan Harris)
This book is slightly comedic and focuses on different categories and styles of quits, for example, the "bridge burn" or the "passive aggressive quit." It also discusses concepts like “quitting euphoria” and “post-quitting depression.” It differs from my book in that it mostly focuses on the ‘how’ of the quit, and it doesn’t focus on the pragmatic issues surrounding the quit that my book does. It’s also different in that my book generally recommends against burning bridges, whereas this book celebrates it as a style of quitting.
At some point we decide what we want to be when we grow up. At another point we decide where we want to live. At yet another point we decide with whom we want to spend our lives.
Are you currently in the first career, locale, and relationship you chose?
And that’s ok. Actually, that’s great. Because life is about growing and learning every single day, and about being more in tune with yourself and your desires today than you were yesterday. We were not given this one life just to settle for less than ideal situations.
Realize that any decision you made prior to today was made by a different person from whom you are now - one with less knowledge than you currently possess: less knowledge about you and others and society as a whole. So if your former self made a decision that no longer works for you, there’s great news:
You can quit.
In fact, you probably should quit. And you don’t have to do it alone. This book is for anyone who has a job, a career, a relationship, a living situation, an educational pursuit, a leisure pursuit, an ANYTHING that may not be working well.
Quitting isn’t a dirty word. Settling is. A good friend of mine refers to settling as ‘suicide of the soul,’ and I couldn’t agree more.
So let’s do this. Together.
Let’s start quitting.
Preparing your Finances for a Quit
Finances are likely a large concern while preparing for a quit, and they should be. As I mentioned before, the hierarchy of needs dictates that it’s quite difficult to achieve a state of peaceful happiness when you are homeless and have no idea when you will eat next. So let’s go over some basic ways to try to ensure that you’re financially stable as you make your quit.
Clearly the finance situation is most crucial if the thing you plan to quit is the job that pays your bills. So let’s focus first on that situation - preparing to lose the main source of your income. There are a few ways to handle this, the most basic being to save money prior to quitting. However, that may not be feasible, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. If that’s the case, you may be required to take a really hard look at your finances. Could you add a roommate? Move to a cheaper living situation or different area of town? Do you live in a city where selling your car is an option? Can you ditch the daily latte expense? There are a number of ways to pare down your cost of living.
The real issue arises when you’ve done all those things and are still barely making ends meet. Recall that as a last resource, there is always unemployment which may (depending on the circumstance of your quit) cover you for a few months. Note, this is more likely to be an option for you if you are let go or somehow get your job to release you. For example, in California, you can’t receive unemployment if you are unemployed through any fault of your own, as determined by California law. So please, do not assume this is an easy backup option - I just wanted to mention it as I do know friends who have used it to help in their transition.
What if none of the above are options? Well here’s another one from the cringe files - could you move in with your parents? I know, depending on your relationship with your family, or their financial situation, this may not be desirable. But it’s also nothing to be ashamed of if it’s part of a plan to get you to a better situation where you can be financially stable and living your best life.
Another idea is to reach out to your network. There are a few ways this could be useful - first, do you have a financial guru in your friend circle? Perhaps having that person look over your finances could be a good starting point. Before my last quit I had a friend make a spreadsheet for me to track my finances so I’d have a good starting point.
Now, since I’m far from a financial expert, I decided to reach out to my network for some additional tips for a financially savvy quit. I know two CPAs who quit the finance world and went into vastly different careers: one is an actor and another is a professional beer brewer. The actor said that his one tip for preparing your finances would be to adjust your thinking on what jobs are, for lack of a better term, beneath you, at least in terms of hourly pay. He pointed out that a $50,000 a year salaried job, which most would consider respectable, may not actually garner that much per hour after you consider taxes and any unpaid overtime that comes with a salaried position. So if you’re in the transition period and are offered a position that seems menial or significantly beneath your pay grade, keep that in mind, as it may be worth it to take that job in the interest of keeping a positive cash flow in the short term.
My friend the brewer offered me the advice he himself used when transitioning from finance to brewing. He downgraded enough to be able to live on half of his salary. This is clearly advice you need to start while you are still in the job you plan to quit, but it’s also great advice for how to live once you’ve found your new gig. He said that once you’re able to live on half your salary, then try getting down to living on a quarter of your salary. This accomplishes two goals: First, you will be able to save money for the time when you finally make the leap, but it also helps you identify areas where you could be saving money, which will be of great use should there be lean times during the transition. With his technique, if you come upon a month without any income, you 1. Have a reserve and 2. Don’t suddenly have to sell your car or move immediately if you realize your house or car were unnecessarily financially burdensome - you’ll already have pared those down to what’s truly necessary.
Now there are non-work-related quits that may also affect your finances. Two that come to mind are quitting an educational pursuit and quitting a relationship. Taking the education example first, the issue may be that you’re in an expensive degree program, and quitting it may actually benefit you financially. However, if you are halfway through something expensive, like professional schools (medicine, law, etc.), and you quit before graduation, paying back whatever loans you accrued during the portion of the program you did attend may be difficult without that final degree.
My brother experienced this very dilemma - he actually finished law school but decided not to take the bar or practice law, so he had to find a way to pay back a $160,000 loan without a high-paying law career. What did he do? Well first he tried substitute teaching and living with my parents while trying to find a job that paid well enough to cover his loan payments. In two years of trying, he never found that job. So he joined the Army...at age 30. No kidding. We thought he was crazy to do something that seemed so drastic to pay off his loans, but luckily for him, the Army was a great choice and he excelled and is very successful in his military career. But quitting law without a plan led to a very rough two years and a move to the military that not everyone would want to undertake, so let his be a tale of caution - make sure you really want to do law or medicine prior to accruing extreme debt.
So if you are halfway through an expensive degree am I telling you NOT to quit? By no means! But it would be irresponsible of me to ignore the reality of student debt. I have a quarter million dollars of it, and its presence shapes decisions I make every day. Despite my multiple quits, I have found ways to make my law and medicine degrees work for me in ways that make it possible to pay those loans, but in the lean, in-between job times, it wasn’t easy. And sadly there aren’t any easy answers to this conundrum.
Now, here is where I’m going to get into the nitty gritty just a bit (hipsters and start-up people call this ‘getting granular’ but that word drives me crazier than the word ‘moist,’ so I’m gonna stick w/ old skool ‘nitty gritty’... but I digress). If you are in a degree program and miserable and know you would never want any job that said degree would help you get - then quit before you accrue more student loan debt. But, if you are in a program and the degree will help you get jobs you may love, just not the exact job you imagined, then I’d be less likely to suggest you give it up. Let me give you an example: with a law degree you can be a lawyer, but you can also go into politics, or business, or contract reviewing, or certain types of consulting. So if you’re in law school and the thought of going the typical law firm route doesn’t appeal to you, but one of those other routes does, then perhaps you should stick it out. However, if you’re like my brother who decided he wanted nothing to do with anything that required a law degree, then perhaps getting out sooner rather than later would serve you well.
Ok, that was a lot of talk on educational finances without, as you may have noticed, a great solution to how to deal with your student loans if you started accruing them and choose to quit. That’s because I’m not sure anyone has a great solution to student loan debt - most of us are just saddled with it with no foreseeable way out. But there are several federal programs aimed at reducing debt or at least your monthly burden, like income based repayment, so I’d check out studentaid.ed.gov to see what assistance may be available.
Alright, on to relationships. If you happen to be in one of those no-strings attached relationships I described in the chapter on when to quit, then you probably have little to do in the way of preparing your finances for a quit, as you are probably not intertwined financially with your partner. But if you are cohabiting or married, then money is a significantly bigger concern. If you are married and thinking of divorce, again, this is where I highly recommend you consult with a divorce lawyer before making any decisions. Each state differs on how finances and assets are divided after divorce, and each individual marital situation is unique, so it is beyond the scope of this book to advise on what may happen with your joint finances post-divorce.
However, there are two common scenarios of marriage dissolution I will address: the breadwinner and the home-engineer. By home-engineer, I am referring to the person who may not work outside of the home but who nevertheless works hard at either raising the children or keeping the household in order in a variety of ways. Back in the day it would have been called a homemaker, but something feels very antiquated about that term, so I’m going to use a different one.
First - the breadwinner. This is the one who is paying most or all of the family’s bills. Clearly, a split will be financially easier on breadwinners than those who don’t currently have a source of income, but the breadwinner should be prepared for additional expenses such as child support or alimony payments. If those are likely to dig deeper into your pockets than you are prepared for, I’d suggest prepping for your quit by using one of the money saving techniques above.
Second - the home-engineer. A marital split will hit hardest if you have no current source of income. So if a divorce is in your future, I would highly advise consulting a financial professional (perhaps someone in your circle can provide you discounted services) ahead of time so that the split is less financially jarring. It may require finding your own place to live, car, and job all nearly simultaneously. I would highly advise availing yourself of whatever family and friend support you can, as it can help ease the transition. Also, employing the strategies listed above to save up some money ahead of time. Also, finding creative ways to start drawing some income should help.
The home-engineer situation is significantly more severe if it’s a cohabitation that’s dissolving and not a marriage, as a divorce usually provides some spousal support, but a cohabitation does not. Know that you can do it - we are all stronger than we think and we can make it through difficult situations. But also know that there is no shame in asking for help from friends and family and your network. Those who love you will probably be happy to help you out of a less-than-ideal situation.
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