So this week I came across an interesting Freakonomics podcast , which was actually just a re-broadcast that previously aired.
The podcast was titled The Upside of Quitting the podcast goes on to explore from an economic angle the pro’s and cons of quitting, and challenges the old adage, Quitters never win, and winners never quit..
It starts off by by presenting us an unusual and somewhat taboo quitting scenario, a young women decided to quit her contemporary stable computer programming office job to become an escort…. this is typical Freakonomics, it starts off with an odd-topic scenario and then looks to explore the dynamics and how economic theory fits into the greater scheme of things.
The podcast then dives into some of the economic lingo associated with quitting, which basically boils down to sunk costs vs. opportunity costs, and explores some of the fallacies of sunk costs.. The human nature tendency to persistent with something, because of the sunk costs (time, energy , money) t clouds or judgement about quitting and re-consider alternatives.
The podcast goes on to feature other examples of folks who quit, such as Robert Reich (ironically enough he was the former Secretary of Labor) .. minor league baseball player, navy seal , and even the podcast commentator himself Stephen J. Dubner , quitting his band.
It also explores the psychological concept of quitting especially interesting is how children and animals naturally quit quickly when things aren’t working out, and that the idea of persistence is a more adult human trait.
I found this particular episode fascinating , because it challenges some strongly held beliefs in our modern culture to stay the course, don’t make irrational , impulsive decisions, and oh yeah.. winners never quit.. etc. While the podcast is not advocating throwing caution to the wind, it does make a pretty strong case about not just doing something blindly forever when its not working out for you, and also avoid being to0 timid to try or explore something new that might be a better alternative.
One concept that they presented , it the concept of quitting quickly. In other words if you feel your efforts for a particular task , relationship or situation is just not panning out, its much better to let go of it quickly then to have it linger . I completely agree here. I have often quit jobs (the most recent one I quit quickly, lasted a day and a half) within a few days or weeks of starting them. I tend to have a pretty good feel employment-wise when things are going to work out and when things are going to be a tough slog. So there I can certainly quit quickly, in other areas usually of personal matters its more complicated, and quick quitting isn’t always so black and white..
It’s a pretty good podcast…go have a listen for yourself (The Upside of Quitting ), the podcast ends with the escort who quit her programming job… wait for it… she’s quitting again, from being an escort ..