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  • Zmia Bertaud

Career Choices: The Serial Quitter

Updated: May 29, 2020

It is a difficult decision to leave an organization or resign from a position. There are many factors that estrange us from those thoughts, i.e. family, finances, goals, power. Society has indoctrinated the ideals of occupation tenure, retirement, and the 'American Dream'. So we vie with any opposing logic that threatens those societal indoctrinates. But there is another specie of employee that have no dilemma when it comes to deciding to walk away from a job. Some are to be admired by others, while some believe them to be unsound in their thinking and actions. Follow me as I outline both sides of this point of view and the possible fore-thoughts of the fearless employees that say 'I Quit' more times that most.

Serial quitters (SQ) that are admired by many. Take a second and think of when you saw an employee one day and they were no longer there the next day. The word on the street is that they've forged on to a higher paying position or a position that grants them more power. Not to mention, they had only been with the company for no more than a year and they performed exceptionally well. So well that their departure is seen as the loss of a valuable asset to the company. These Impeccable Serial Quitters (ISQ) are highly ambitious and strictly goal oriented. They set their sights on the salary place holders or the seats of greater influence. ISQs are methodical and calculative in their every act. They have given much rationalization over applying for positions that they will only use to move their next chess piece. They already know before they take the job that they will soon be quitting. It matters not that they may need to repeat this cycle several times for several years and their protections throughout this process is excellence in job performance, expertise in their field and experience, excessive credentials and education, and a sterling head hunter. There is more to their game, but that's only naming a few. ISQs tend to have profound communication and work-relations skills. They are competitive, confident, and results-driven with a dash of organizational preventive insight and problem-solving. And you wonder how they are able to move so eloquently across the chessboard by being hired over and over again? Who would turn away such talent, even if it's for a brief moment? Managers who know how to leverage the talents of an ISQ in order to achieve or get closer to an organizational goal or utilizing them to solve an imminent problem that is hindering the achievement of an organizational goal. Their abilities and proof of results are the sales pitch for an ISQ. ISQs are to be admired for their ability to take charge of their future while swiftly scaling their careers.


Serial Quitters that are seen as unsound in their thinking and actions. 'The Others' that make people wonder are wavering in every aspect of what it means to be reliable. The Confused Serial Quitters (CSQ) are just as is sounds. They have no idea what they want, what they are doing, or even how to fathom setting a career goal. Their thoughts go into contemplation mode after they've accepted a position, never before. The foundation of their decision-making is haphazard and problematic. A CSQ may experience fear of responsibility or a lack of confidence in their abilities to perform. When cornered by one of the two or both, they abruptly quit their job. They feel regret over their decision, but they shuffle onto the next position in search of the opportunity to be complacent. There are other CSQs that are undecided on a career choice and develops a 'job-quitting' mentality after finding pleasure in trying on different positions in many different fields. CSQs are not focused on the organization or the improvement of themselves. They give excuses as to why they are deficient in their skills and the in-completion of their education or credentials. Their thoughts are, "if I ever get to the right job, then I'll stay or work on my omissions". When, in fact, no job is ever the right job. CSQs will give you every justification in the book as to why they quit their jobs continuously, but never admitting to the fact that they are confused and are unable to self-manage in most positions and occupational choice. Who hires CSQs? Companies that need to fill low-level positions that require little to no experience or education/credentialing and companies that are familiar with those positions having a high turn-over rate. CSQs can only be detected by their resumes, which will reveal an employment history with very large unemployment gaps surrounded by odd jobs that last short periods. They interview well, because they are not applying for corporate positions or the likes thereof. I admit, I was a CSQ before I joined the military. The oath to serve, the contract, and the leaders are what cured me. I was able to understand the meaning of commitment, the process of decision-making, the importance of choosing a career and preparing for it prior to stepping into a position. My cure is not for everyone, but be open to the fact that there is a cure.


ISQs and CSQs are not all bad choices for hire. Understanding how they can be utilized within an organization should be your main focus with a direct purpose towards the goals of the organization. There's always room for both and if you are an intelligent manager or leader, maybe you can be the one to influence their longevity. The military sure influenced mine, 19 years and counting.


Disclaimer: This article is not based on research results, but is a personal construct theory from personal observation and personal experience of current events. All articles of APM are to provoke thought and influence future research.


Author: Graduate Student of Touro University Worldwide, Industrial and Organizational Psychology Major, February 2021 expected graduate date