We've got a lot of quitters. It's a fact of life that sometimes you do need to resign, and there are real, generally applicable problems around .

The problem with asking about the decision to quit itself is that it's very localized. Not everyone can (easily) quit just because they're being paid less than market rate. And some people can quit because their office stocks Coca Cola instead of Pepsi.

There are a great deal of factors that go into resignation, and generally you can bet all of those issues aren't laid out in the question we get. "Should I quit" is usually asked about the straw that broke the camel's back. That straw might be a legitimate issue, but that issue itself rarely calls for an absolute "Never ever quit because of this" or "Quit right now and run!"

It's just a bad way to phrase the issue. What if there's a super simple way to solve the problem without quitting? Well, too late, I phrased the question so solving the problem is no longer an answer. I've also prevented the question from being useful to others in a similar situation who can't just quit willy-nilly (and some who can).

Another problem is, if the answer is "yes, you quit", it's often left in an extremely short answer that, at best, really only helps the asker. And someone always posts a "yes, quit" in these sorts of discussions; it's free rep! Find a question where bad working conditions are apparent, say "Hey, you should quit!" and ride the wave of "YEAH RIGHT ON". That really doesn't help anyone, it's barely even an answer, just a suggestion (a potentially dangerous one which really shouldn't be treated lightly).

A recent one is https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/4003/nepotism-fight-or-flight, but we've had plenty of these:
Should I quit because I'm not up to the job?
Should I quit my job because I lack experience?
Is it unethical to quit just before a project that I'm the only one suitable for begins?
Quitting an exploitative job
New Job and a big Mistake with Company Culture
https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/3843/quit-masters-and-work (2K rep users only) https://workplace.stackexchange.com/q/1572/42 (2k rep only)

Can we work with these questions? Do they need to be rephrased somehow? Or is this topic inherently too problematic to work with?

  • 4
    Aw, 2k only. Guess I need to go throw a couple "Yes, you should quits" so I can see what you're talking about
    – yoozer8
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 16:25
  • @Jim surely you've seen other questions of this trope though, right? I'm sure I've seen more than I could easily find
    – Rarity
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 16:32
  • Indeed I have. However, the search results you linked aren't a good representation of such questions - a lot of them are decent to good questions that happen to use the word quit.
    – yoozer8
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 16:34
  • @Jim added some more
    – Rarity
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 16:48
  • 1
    I can imagine typical Atwood's transform for not-constructive should-I-quit looking like "what factors to consider when deciding on resignation in cases like this". As for questions that are too-localized, I can not imagine general salvaging strategy; maybe these just have to be dealt with on case-by-case basis
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 17:33
  • @gnat honestly not sure a "factors to consider" can be answerable since it's highly localized; maybe they really want to quit because their boss is annoying, their coworkers are lazy, the commute's too long...as I mention it's rarely one factor that does it, and it's hard to guess at what's important. I prefer to focus the question on what to do to handle situation X. If situation X really so crazy bad quitting is a legitimate answer, so be it.
    – Rarity
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 18:34
  • @Rarity agree. For questions like this being too localized is likely a major issue
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 7:08
  • "Is it ethical to quit in a situation with X and Y?" seems like a more generally useful question than "Should I quit?" It's more specific because it narrows it down to just ethics, but at the same time, it's more broadly relevant, because ethical principles can be applied to a lot of different situations. Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 17:12

3 Answers 3


Any question that can be answered with a Yes or No is a bad question for ALL SE's. They invite polling, and opinion sharing. I am opposed to the kind of reworking that questions like these need to become constructive. What should I do questions are usually their end goals. The answer is different for "I need to be away from that person" versus "I want to keep myself out of jail."

  • If the OP wants to know if they should quit or take any specific action then the answer is close it not constructive. Encourage the OP to reword it so it is constructive.
  • If the OP has a constructive question with a bad title just re-title the question.

Most of these question read like a rant to me anyway but maybe I am just to cynical.

  • 2
    I meant to add something about the Yes/No aspect too. If a question is yes/no the actual question needs to be about the why
    – Rarity
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 20:05
  • Any question that can be answered with a Yes or No is a bad question for ALL SE's. - Agreed. But what about questions that yield 'Yes, because...' and 'No, because...' answers? Sometimes, those are the best. // In short, I agree with @Rarity 's last comment.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 20:34
  • @JimG. - I disagree that those questions are best. I agree that many of them get highly voted and get the community involved in discussion... Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 20:41
  • @Chad: Let me clarify. I agree with you that many are, in fact, poor questions, in spite of the fact that they are highly voted. OTOH, there are some that yield very constructive conversations because some answers include a very prescriptive course of action.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 20:45
  • 2
    @JimG - But SE is not supposed to yield conversations at all. It is a QA site. The problem with the questions is that they yield conversations. Yes bad questions can have great answers... but they also get lots of not great answers. If you get a signal/noise ratio too low then people start tuning out. Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 14:20
  • If you get a signal/noise ratio too low then people start tuning out. - Correct. // But SE is not supposed to yield conversations at all. It is a QA site. - Very true.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 14:41

I think, your question reveals a bigger problem which applies to many SE sites (except maybe purely scientific ones). There is a large amount of questions that either can't be answered (polling) or too local (and useless to most visitors):

  • If the question does not contain too much details, it invites various opinions (polling), and many of them are equally valid;
  • If the OP adds enough details to get a single answer, the entire question becomes too local, and thus offtopic.

Quitting is an answer (probably, a wrong one) to a certain question. Therefore, asking, "should I quit?" is likewise asking, "is 42 an answer to my problem?"
In most cases, "should I quit?" can be dramatically improved by simply replacing it with "what is my best strategy?".
Even more, it can be re-formulated like this:

Considering details above, out of the following list, what is better?
* Quit now;
* Silently look for a better job;
* Ignore the bad person [or whatever the problem is];
* Come up with this problem to my boss;

So I would say yes, "Should I quit?" is a bad formulation.


There are times when I think "should I quit" could be reworded to "how do I improve X aspect of my working conditions" which may be more directly applicable.

Do we have a blog? I rather feel like this could be a blog item about this specific issue - because fixing a common problem at work (which may lead to quitting) might just be more widely applicable and something to encourage. But being steamed about something at work, and venting at TheWorkplace is not the right approach...

I almost wish some of these could have a 24 hour hold - time to chill out and then say "wait, how do I really fix this?" and/or "is Coke not Pepsi at work a dumb reason to quit?"

  • We can make a blog. UX is trying to get one started, starting with this post: meta.ux.stackexchange.com/questions/915/…
    – Rarity
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 15:47
  • I think it might be useful - but certainly we need more than one sample topic. Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 15:57
  • Make a post about it; after gauging interest, we on UX defined our scope and post ideas
    – Rarity
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 15:59
  • FYI: meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/448/…
    – Rarity
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 16:25
  • 1
    I agree that is the best way to ask those questions. However, I am skeptical that the people asking the "Should I Quit" questions actually want an answer. They want others to tell them how horrible their work is to validate their feelings. That is not what we should be here for. I prefer shutting these questions down for that reason. If the OP wants an answer they will edit the question themselves Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 13:01
  • I'm good with that. Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 13:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .