The biggest misconception with career growth is that to grow, you must move up the corporate ladder with no breaks in between. From analyst to consultant to senior consultant to manager, senior manager, and partner.

Don't worry, it doesn't stop at partner. It goes up to managing partner and regional partner to CEO to chairman of the board.

But, that's just one path of many, even for the same company.

The reality is that corporations create these systems to monitor internal career growth paired with annual performance reviews. I don't blame them. It's the only way to control the chaos.

The problem for many people is that they hit this point in their career where they start questioning if their job is right for them. The career ladder that human resources sets up is no longer for them and they start thinking about different jobs and different career paths.

They start looking at other jobs and wondering if they could get paid to do something else. Essentially, they want to jump off the ladder.

However, they run into a well-known catch-22 problem. No one is going to hire them for a job they don't have experience in. So, they end up sticking it out in a career they hate. They follow the stability and keep climbing up the ladder. Every step of the way gets more frustrating and demoralizing.

But, there's another option to help these people.

It's called quitting.

I went from an IT consultant to a writer, director of marketing and career advancement author in two years. All because I left my job and went on my own. Today, I run a flourishing content marketing agency, and I do it all on my terms.

My name is Robbie and I'm a professional quitter. I'm going to teach you how quitting can help your career.

Quitting forces you to build new, marketable skill sets

By jumping in the deep end, I was forced to dig deep and try out new things. Of course, it wasn't all roses and unicorns. I went through a midlife crisis trying to figure it all out.

I came out stronger than ever before and built multiple skill sets where I'm essentially recession proof. I can always go back to consulting, or become a full-time marketer or continue being a freelance marketing. I can even do project management.

All because I quit. No one in their right mind would pay me to learn these on the job. It had to be done on my terms.

It was hard work. But, I had no choice to survive, and I came out smelling like roses because of it.

Quitting forces you to get better at making money.


Figuring out what you don't want to do ever again is honestly more important than having just an idea of what you do want to do.

When you quit and essentially start all over, you're going to get a good feeling for who will hire you for what. You'll also figure out how much others are willing to pay you for work.

You're going to try different things. You will be lost, but you'll come out of it with some valuable information.

Quitting forces you to build a strong professional network.

When I quit my job, I took 250 coffee meetings in 400 days. I went from knowing no one to being one of the most well-connected people in Chicago. The biggest thing I realized is that my connections in IT consulting were in an entirely different world than entrepreneurs.

Quitting gives you a new viewpoint on what you want in life.

I used to think that my life goal was to build a large company. Now, I couldn't care less. I want to live in Thailand and do freelance marketing and writing. If I never manage another person in my life, I'll be the happiest man alive.

Every decision I make gets me closer to that goal of living and working in Thailand.

Quitting forces you to get better at managing your finances.

There is nothing scarier than adding up all of your fixed expenses in an excel spreadsheet knowing that you don't know where the next dollar is going to come from.

I made some hard decisions with my finances, but I am much stronger because of it. I picked up a few finance books, and I learned from the best. I followed some great career advice, and I know everything you need to know about how to manage your money than I ever will.

In summary:

Quitting gets a bad rap. It will help you build a new skill set, a better professional network and give you a clear vision of what you really want from life.

Published on: Sep 8, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.