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We have had a discussion in the past about whether or not 'Quit Your Job' is an acceptable answer.

I have been noticing this in comments quite a bit. This is the one that caught my attention spurring this post, but since I can't search comment text, it isn't easy to find additional examples:

Leave. CEO is where the buck stops, and is the last authority of appeal. If they are refusing to accept responsibility then the company suffer a lot. Bad CEOs kill companies.

source

I really don't think we should be saying this in comments if they aren't appropriate one-line answers. I have flagged the above comment in the hopes it is removed, and hope that in the future, people will do the same if they catch a similar sort of comment/answer.

The conventional wisdom as stated by jmort is:

It's way too easy to post "quit your job" as an answer, and almost every post on our site could be answered in this manner.

However, our FAQ and How to Answer both make it clear that proposing viable alternatives in an answer is acceptable, and in some cases, quitting may be a correct answer.

But quitting a job is a very big decision and is irreversible, in most cases. Due to the nature and severity of these suggestions, I propose that these answers be held to a much higher standard as follows:

  • The answerer MUST post references to back up the answer.
  • Alternatively, sharing personal experiences MAY be sufficient, but the answer can't just simply contain the words, "in my experience". The answerer MUST post details about his or her experiences that led to quitting being the correct answer.
  • One liner answers suggesting one quit are not allowed. Our FAQ already makes it clear that explanations containing why and how are encouraged. For "you should quit" answers that don't provide explanation and references, I propose downvoting them, leaving a comment helping the answerer improve it, and if it doesn't get fixed, flagging them for removal.

To clarify, I believe we can enforce the rules on these types of answers, in a polite, helpful manner, while still allowing answers that offer alternative solutions.

If anyone has any further comments, please go ahead and share (especially if you think this type of comment has any value), otherwise please pop up a flag whenever you see one.

Mod-type folk, how should we flag these (I flagged as 'non-constructive', but since these are your guys' work, I want to know what will make it easiest for you to handle).

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    The comment you referenced was deleted by Jim. If you see these, please continue to flag them. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Sep 21 '13 at 21:14
  • @jmort253: Agreed. And with that being said, I'm really not sure that it warranted a Meta post. Hope this helps. Voting to close (and then delete). – Jim G. Sep 23 '13 at 2:53
  • @JimG. - Posts like this are helpful because they encourage others to flag, putting more eyes on the problem. Thus, I don't see this as noise. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Sep 23 '13 at 2:56
  • @jmort253: But this seems like a solution in search of a problem. Did we have a problem? – Jim G. Sep 23 '13 at 2:58
  • @jmort253: In fact, why isn't this question a duplicate of this one? meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/a/1697/7945 – Jim G. Sep 23 '13 at 3:09
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    Keep in mind comments cannot be downvoted so bad advice/etc in comments is considerably more of a problem than in answers, which can naturally be downvoted and discussed. – enderland Sep 23 '13 at 15:44
  • @enderland: ...Except for that fact that nobody has demonstrated that these comments occur in abundance and that they remain visible long enough to perpetuate the phenomenon that you speak of. – Jim G. Sep 23 '13 at 17:22
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As has been stressed, "quitting a job is a very big decision and is irreversible"; a responsible answerer would do their best to ensure reader that such a serious advice is justified in a given case.

Any answer of just-quit kind, if not backed up with a compelling justification, is guaranteed to get my downvote - on the grounds of being insufficiently responsible (per tooltip: "This answer is not useful").

One thing I specifically expect of this kind answers is an explanation for a "just" part, namely, what in given case makes it preferable over other, "alternative" quit options. One example of an alternative option is: "Start looking for a new job and quit after you get a more appealing offer".


I am not going to flag just-quit answers, because per my understanding of current site standards, these do not qualify as flaggable offense.

However, voting, commenting and post quality evaluations are mine and, if I find that answer does not meet expectations outlined above, I am going to vote it down with comment like

per my reading, suggested approach is not sufficiently explained (more details on that at meta).

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    +1: Correct. And this is why I wanted to understand why we need to be "more" aggressive. – Jim G. Sep 27 '13 at 17:19
  • For answers, I believe this falls under, 'this is not an answer' if it does not have sufficient justification (meeting the stringent standards above). For comments, we do not have the option to downvote, and in order to express our disagreement we can only provide a counter-comment (which is weak) or flag (which is what I strongly encourage you to reconsider doing). We should be extremely careful not to cause harm to the people asking questions here, and I think 'just quit' answers are among the most harmful that can be provided. – jmac Sep 30 '13 at 1:08
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Since I'm one of the persons that supplies this answer from time to time, I'll describe my thinking:

There are people that can be persuaded, and those that are immutable to any suggestion or entreaty. If someone is not paying attention, or simply cannot, for whatever reason, alter course in a situation that is untenable, then the person having to live with it should chart a course out. The speed with which this should be done is dependent on 'immediacy of harm'. In some cases, remaining on duty puts customers, employees, or the general public at risk. One particular situation I hear about repeatedly has to do with licensed electricians that go work for big factories or warehouses: often the plant is grossly out of code, and some elements are dangerous. The electrician makes their supervisor aware of the issues and the supervisor says 'we're not spending the money, drop it'. It is better to be far away when the situation implodes - you have done what you can and it isn't enough.

If a business is no longer competitive, all efforts to carry on as normal are wasted effort. As people have noticed, bankrupt companies have stranded their pensioners, so the idea of working until retirement and hoping for the best is useless. This is a trap, and it isn't worth getting caught in it. Therefore, if one is 20 years into a 40 year career, and the people in leadership roles are quite obviously clueless, the safe course of action is to find an industry that is competitive - note that in some American industries, not a single company is making money. At various times this has been automobiles, oil, hotels, airlines, commercial real estate, etc. so one has to find a growing line of business, not just an employer. Often in such situations the people that could alter the outcome would love to, and really feel for you, but there's nothing they can do. You have to take matters into your own hands.

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    Meredith, I understand that sometimes quitting is the only way out of a bad situation, but as jmort's post says the bar should be set high before providing such an answer. Giving suggestions on how to cope with the situation are (generally) reversible, quitting is not. Think of it as a version of "Primum non nocere", "first, do no harm." Any advice we provide should try to minimize lasting harm to the person asking for it, which is why suggestions to quit are so dangerous. – jmac Sep 23 '13 at 23:28
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    I'm certainly capable of defending the assertions in the particular cases described. However, in general, if someone offers appropriate alternatives I'll endorse them. – Meredith Poor Sep 24 '13 at 0:17
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    Just to clarify and reiterate, posting answers that claim one should quit his or her job could definitely be the right answer, we just want the person answering in that manner to demonstrate, with facts, references, or specific expertise, that he or she really does know what he or she is talking about. Hope this helps clarify. – jmort253 Sep 24 '13 at 1:32
  • @jmort253: Correct. And to that end I remain unconvinced that we are being inundated with unsubstantiated "Quit" comments. – Jim G. Sep 24 '13 at 2:24
  • @jmac: I think that most people who say 'Quit' really mean 'Find a new job and then quit.' And this doesn't violate 'Primium non nocere.' – Jim G. Sep 24 '13 at 3:49
  • @Jimg. In the first example above, no. Get out - now. Sticking around means 'you should have done something', even if you had done what you could and the buck stopped somewhere else. At that point, it should be up to the people that are responsible to live with the consequences. This isn't trivial, consider oil refinery explosions that were the result of gross negligence. If you tell people their lives are in danger but don't leave, should they believe you? – Meredith Poor Sep 24 '13 at 4:02
  • In situations where the company is being driven over a cliff or you are working for someone that is incorrigible, yes. If you're in a one industry town it will take awhile to find another job, but unless someone walks you out the front gate you should take your time. What's particularly important in this situation is to know your market. – Meredith Poor Sep 24 '13 at 4:05
  • Meredith, in the case of potential gross negligence on the part of the employer, I think it is even more dangerous for us to be giving advice. Situations like that should be referred to employment attorneys and the proper authorities. I find it useful for normal questions to assume that the asker knows very well that they have the option to quit their job, and that perhaps because of their knowledge of the market they are asking how to improve the situation rather than just leaving. At any rate, I find 'quit' as a last-resort suggestion that should require extraordinary care to give. – jmac Sep 24 '13 at 4:13
  • Terrific points, Meredith. Thanks. – Jim G. Sep 24 '13 at 12:26
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    "I'm certainly capable of defending the assertions" -- consider such a defense necessary by default, that is providing such a defense in every one of the answers where you suggest quitting. As has been stressed above, quitting is irreversible move; a responsible answerer would do their best to ensure reader that such a serious advice is justified in a given case. Any answer of just-quit kind, if not backed up with a compelling defense, is guaranteed to get my downvote - on the grounds of being insufficiently responsible (per DV tooltip: "This answer is not useful") – gnat Sep 27 '13 at 12:22
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Being More Aggressive about "Just Quit" Comments/Answers

I think we're already being sufficiently aggressive.

@jmac: You highlighted one offence. Does this issue occur in abundance? If so, can you point to at least three cases which were not adjusted by the moderators?

  • as stated, I cannot search comments. If you don't see them -- great! If you do, flag them. I don't quite grasp the negativity toward the suggestion? – jmac Sep 22 '13 at 8:05
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    @jmac: You're asking TWP community to pay more attention to "Just Quit" comments/answers: and I'm wondering 'Why?' Have we missed some blatant violations of the agreed-upon standard? – Jim G. Sep 22 '13 at 17:56
  • I tend to see a lot of questions on the site for a variety of reasons. The volume of this sort of answer has been more significant than usual as of late (mainly in comments). I did not record the threads and did not have a list, but figured that if I am seeing many of them, others will likely stumble across them too. Hence the meta post. I do not think that everyone is even aware of the standard, which is another reason I linked to that thread here. Again, what is wrong with this post? – jmac Sep 23 '13 at 6:10
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    @jmac: If the problem was occurring in abundance, you'd have no trouble citing at least three occurrences. Otherwise, I remain unconvinced that this is actually a problem. – Jim G. Sep 23 '13 at 11:19
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    Hi JimG, there's really no need for proof that this is a problem. We know it's something we want to prevent from becoming a problem, so there's no issues with someone bringing this point up. With that said, please don't get into edit wars with other users meta posts. If you see a problem with a post, please flag it instead. Thank you! – jmort253 Sep 24 '13 at 1:41
  • @jmort253: Thanks jmort! Much appreciated! – Jim G. Sep 24 '13 at 1:43

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