Why quitting your job might be the best decision you’ve ever made

Advice for those who are afraid of leaping into the unknown

Cassie Kozyrkov

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In my previous blog posts, I told you about how and why I quit my job as Google’s Chief Decision Scientist. This blog post is part 3, where I’ll get into how information asymmetry keeps us from quitting when we should.

A real exit sign with neon dice for luck— how fitting — captured by the author in New York.

It’s not the end of the world

Some of us are conditioned to believe that if we leave a job/relationship without another one lined up, it’s the absolute end of the world. I’m not in that camp myself, but I’ll admit that diving into the void takes courage no matter who you are.

The information asymmetry is real. You won’t find out all your options while you’re trapped in the daily grind.

I’m lucky that my friend, Jepson Taylor, jumped before I did and kept reminding me of the thing we all need to hear when we’re thinking of quitting: the information asymmetry is real. No one will tell you about most of the opportunities out there until you’re truly available to throw yourself into them. As long as you appear committed to your job, you simply won’t get to find out most of your options. When Jepson made his leap, the floodgates opened. He had no idea there were so many adventures available to him. I’m experiencing the same thing myself, now that I’m unaffiliated.

Most of us quit later than we ought to

By the time quitting is inevitable, you’ve probably waited too long. The strategic sweet spot is to quit before you really feel you want to. Before urgent circumstances shove you out of your comfort zone.

But while you’re in the bubble that is your stable life and stable job, you won’t know what’s out there. It’s easy to catastrophize: “What if no one wants me? What if there’s no job I could get? What if I’m going to be unemployed and eating ramen forever?”

And so you wait. And you wait. And then maybe one of the very few offers arrives that actually permeates your bubble. It’s not necessarily your best one, because you haven’t seen what’s out there. But you take it and you never get to…

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Cassie Kozyrkov

Chief Decision Scientist, Google. ❤️ Stats, ML/AI, data, puns, art, theatre, decision science. All views are my own. twitter.com/quaesita