You were doubtless told as a youngster that it’s not ok to give up and quit. The old Vince Lombardi adage “a winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.”.
In law as it is in life, success comes (in most cases) through perseverance and hard work. Sometimes the path to success is blocked and the hard choice can actually be to quit and start again or rather quit and find a better route.
I was listening to Stephen J Dubner on Radio 2 earlier this week who pondered the concept and as to whether a quitter never wins, his response to this was to ask, Are you sure?
He argued that sometimes quitting is strategic, and can be your best possible plan, in effect highlighting and advocating (in the right circumstances of course) “The Upside of Quitting.”
To help us understand quitting he says, we should look at key economic concepts: sunk cost and opportunity cost. Sunk cost is about the past – for example the time, money and mental effort you’ve put into a job to date. All of the things which makes quitting hard to do. Opportunity cost is about the future. For every day, hour and pound you worry about sunk cost you are giving up that day, hour and pound being spent on something that will make your life better!
Human nature dictates and often we humans decide to stick and not quit, we are so worried about the sunk cost i.e. we have invested far too much to give up now and a case of better the devil you know.
This is obviously very similar to the quandary of deciding whether to hand your notice in and join another firm. In essence opportunity cost drives a person to become a job seeker and look for and secure an offer of employment somewhere else and somewhere better. Despite that often people get bought back far too easily. Often the person looking to leave is reminded by their current employer that they have invested too much, come too far, achieved so much that leaving now would be absurd! The person decides not to quit because of “sunk cost”.
Opportunity cost gets forgotten about. Sound familiar?