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If you’re unsure whether to quit your job or break up, you probably should (80000hours.org)
290 points by robertwiblin 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 208 comments



Haha. I quit my job once. July 2009, working in finance. My next job was two years later, scooping grain at a grain elevator.

You know how to tell when the economy is in the last 25% of an economic expansion? When everywhere you turn is another white collar professional under the age of 30 in the middle of an existential crisis. Brace for impact, because we're all about to punched in the fucking mouth. And some of us are going to be like, "What? I thought things were just supposed to keep getting better every year. We've had one breakfast yes, but what about second breakfast? Elevenses? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper?"

Best as I can tell, the data for this article was collected via freanomicsexperiments.com over the course of a year. But I didn't see what year the experiment was conducted. And I'll bet you all my bitcoin the experiment data was not collected during any year from 2008-2012. Job markets, like credit markets, are very elastic. It's easy to find a replacement job right now, and it's also easy to qualify for a home loan.


There's no reason you can't find the new job before ditching the existing one.


The additional wisdom of this approach is that the interview processes you go though are enough to teach you that all the other jobs are crap too and leaving the current one is pointless.


Also, you can find that all the other crap jobs pay 10-20% better, giving you information and leverage to get a better salary, better benefits, more time off, etc.


Incremental steps up might be easy for high performers, but finding an amazing job is really hard, you have to identify a position and then grow yourself to fit it – not something that can be done in a couple hours a week. This is why executives are funemployed for long periods of time.


99% of the time that’s true. The one time I had to quit a job without having one lined up was when I was doing contract to perm.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have taken the job in the first place, but I had just been laid off.

I knew they weren’t going to make me full time and as a contractor who was already being watched closely I couldn’t have multiple “doctors appointments”, take advantage of flex time, etc. I needed to focus on getting a job full time.

It was 2012, the economy was looking up and I figured I could get s job relatively quickly through my network of recruiters. I walked out noon on Monday and called a recruiter. I had a phone interview with a division of what was then a Fortune 10 company on Wednesday, in person Thursday morning and an offer Thursday evening making $10K more than the job I was laid off from three months earlier.

Yes that was partially dumb luck and not something I would try again.


I think the philosophical point of the article is that if you reached the point where you contemplate breaking up or quitting then you're past a critical threshold. The issues are big enough to get you thinking and you're probably past the point where you see a point in fixing or tried and it didn't work. In which case it will just get progressively worse and the end result is almost inevitable. Hence "probably should".

The practicals of doing this will vary of course. There are many factors to keep in mind and a lot of them are personal/subjective.


Breaking up in a relationship is different and it depends on how deep you’re (dating, living together, kids, married) in and how insurmountable the problems are.


Sure but I'd imagine that when you actually start contemplating a breakup you already identified an issue and tried to fix it or work around it. So if you are still entertaining that thought it's because you ran through your options and you're mostly out of them.

You might decide to live with this but again, if you started thinking about it to the point where you consider breakup then it's likely a serious enough issue and it doesn't get better.

This shouldn't stop you from trying to the point where by all definitions the relationship is dead. There's no rule for this other than a rule of thumb. But that one pretty much suggests at that point you are just delaying the inevitable. Unless all you actually need to fix it is time.


True. But a job is also a relationship, a relationship that works both ways - or should.

It might not always be simple or easy but if you're in a bad and unfulfilling relationship then it's up to you to swallow hard and move on. Staying is lost opportunity.


Yes, but it’s much easier to find a “compatible” job than a compatible partner. I’m not emotional or financially invested in my job or the relationships I have with people at my job.

A divorce has both higher emotional cost - especially if you have kids and are close to your in laws - and financial costs. If my job causes undo stress and hardship, I will leave at a moments notice. If my marriage is causing me stress and my spouse is willing to put in the effort to help us come to a better place, I’ll do what it takes to make things better. I’ll go to marriage counseling, but there is only so much you can do in an organization.


I think it's because you have fewer requirements from a job and you can make more acceptable compromises. Finding a compatible partner requires a lot more than 5-6 evaluation points.


I always thought that is what everybody did before they quit - how wrong I was.


Maybe not everyone, but most of the time the reason you quit is because of a new job. In all honesty the smart practice is to search for a new job immediately after you get one and keep updating your backlog of potential jobs (you don't have to apply, just keep them in mind)


> In all honesty the smart practice is to search for a new job immediately after you get one and keep updating your backlog of potential jobs (you don't have to apply, just keep them in mind)

This is certainly the advice given if you're ruthlessly careerist, and it can be a good strategy if you're still looking for that dream role, but it can also backfire on you.

As someone who often needs to recruit I pay fairly close attention to the stability of an applicant's career. In general I don't like to see a lot of job-hopping unless it's in the early years of someone's career, because it can be hard to find a role you really like. Periods of contracting are another exception, although some evidence of stable employment for some period is also beneficial.

Recruiting is hugely important, but sucks a lot of time and effort from a team, and incurs significant costs, both direct and indirect. If you've been working for a decade and have never been in a job for more than 2 years that can be a pretty big turn-off.

You could of course argue that because I'd prefer to recruit people who will stay for more than 2 years, the roles I have available may not suit you.

Bottom line: there's a trade-off you're potentially making by behaving this way, which is fine, but it's important you understand that fact. Still, it's a good idea to start looking for a new job before you've started to hate the old one (bitter experience speaking right here): leave on a high because it'll probably set you up much better for the future.


I don't think the suggestion was to job hop. My read was that they were suggesting to just always be aware of the market (hence the don't have to apply line) so that you can jump at the perfect opportunity if it comes up, or if something happens to change at your current employer that would require you to search for another job, you're already ahead of the game.


I agree this should be your first choice if you want to stay employed. That's a legitimate "if" since some people may want to take time off from employment for personal reasons or to focus on a project. If that's you, you have my blessing. Think it through, and do what's right for you.

I was working as an M&A analyst at an investment bank, and this job has an implied shelf-life. A typical program is two years, and some people stay on for a third year as an "Associate I". Your options for jobs after an investment banking analyst program are much narrower than I estimated when I left college to seek my fortune. Analysts will usually go one of three places: private equity (or venture capital depending on your background), corporate finance (M&A at a big company), or hedge fund. The sad truth that haunts me to this day is, I thought my duty was to quit when my time was up. An Associate I position was not available at my bank after my two years, so I decided to leave. I interviewed for a few positions before leaving (one of them serious), but I didn't receive any offers. I was burned out and really just want to get out of there. One of my coworkers asked me what I planned to do when I left. I said, "Whatever the hell I want." One other serious misestimation on my part: turns out I was not enthusiastic about fighting for a job in an industry that already had too many people fighting for not enough scraps.

I required a lot of time and self-reflection to not get some combination of angry, sad, and ashamed when recounting my time in finance. One thing that still upsets me today is, I was a naive 25 year old who didn't even understand the terms of my employment. I was not a contract employee; our agreement was employment-at-will, and I was under no obligation to leave. Yet, the HR department at my bank hardly even acknowledged that I was leaving. Someone told me to leave my keycard and Blackberry on my desk before I left. No exit interview or discussion of any kind. They really let me down because I was clueless. Could I have asked a lot of questions? Yes! And if you are in a similar situation, learn from my mistake. Ask a lot of questions, and find the right people you need to be asking. The thing you should understand about investment banking is, it tends to be a conservative environment with a strong hierarchy. Analysts are at the bottom of the hierarchy. The best analysts are those who efficiently do what they are told to do. I was very good at not complaining even when things sucked, and I was pretty good at the actual work too. But unfortunately, when I thought I was being told to leave. I followed that order too well, and I didn't complain.


> You know how to tell when the economy is in the last 25% of an economic expansion? When everywhere you turn is another white collar professional under the age of 30 in the middle of an existential crisis.

Can you elaborate on that? I feel like you’re talking about something quite important but I can’t really grasp what it is.


He's saying the luxury of an existential crisis is a symptom of a bloated economy. In 2008, you'd be lucky to have a job at all, and very grateful if you did. As that memory fades, people feel more and more entitled to a comfortable existence. When they reach the level of "if i'm the least bit unhappy with my job, fuck it, I should quit and do something else"...we've jumped the shark. At least, that's my read of what he's saying.


True. Last year, I resigned and then started looking for a job and got several offers. This was only possible because all of my co-workers were able to find better opportunities. If it weren't for the good job scene around me, I probably wouldn't have resigned.


Yeah that's basically my point. I want to state, though, that I'm not just beating up on the under 30 crowd. I empathize with all struggles. But the same way that some people have never known a world without the internet, some people have never been hit by an economic recession. So, you have a lot of smart, ambitious people aged 24-32 who have built an impressive ~5 year career during a time of great economic expansion. For someone in this category, my advice is this: find someone 10 years older than you who works in your field, and ask them what their life was like from 2006-2010.


Thanks for explaining :)


> And I'll bet you all my bitcoin the experiment data was not collected during any year from 2008-2012.

From the paper, data was collected starting from January 23, 2013 for roughly a year.


Thanks. I didn't see that in the paper. Guess I get to hold on to my bitcoin.

I don't actually own any bitcoin ;)


And some of us are going to be like, "What? I thought things were just supposed to keep getting better every year. We've had one breakfast yes, but what about second breakfast? Elevenses? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper?"

Hobbits = dilettantes (or vice versa). This would explain so much.


Ha! I like the LOTR reference.


I am in no way trying to be offensive here but wtf is a grain elevator? Second question. Why elevate grain?

This?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grain_elevator


How do you want to store the grain if you don't elevate it?

It won't go to the top of the pile itself, and if you insert new grain at the bottom of the pile, you have to elevate the existing pile anyway.


You could store it in a big hole in the ground, but then you'd have to elevate it to get it out. And it would be much more difficult to keep it dry. It would turn into beer before you could use it.


> then you'd have to elevate it to get it out.

> It would turn into beer

I'm confused - are you suggesting reasons you should use a big hole in the ground or reasons you shouldn't use a big hole in the ground?


It won't be good beer, let's put it that way.


In the midwest (U.S.), grain elevators are the big cement silo looking things you see in movies set in Iowa or Kansas. Really, elevators are synonymous with ag cooperative businesses. Grain storage is a primary function of these businesses. In the fall (harvest), they get really busy, and I worked as a seasonal employee. Long hours, dirty work, but the pay was not bad with all the overtime.


If you want to store grain in a really big bucket (like a grain silo), how are you going to fill that bucket?


No need to downvote, this sounds like someone is just curious and willing to learn.


Really surprise with all comments here.

Quitting your job if you have kids a wife and a mortgage is a much more complicated topic than just saying "F* this I'm going to raise cows in the Montana"

It's complicated to move internally in a corporation , so thinking as to moving to another company to another position when you have responsibilities it's pretty much like playing the Russian roulette with your finance and your situation.


It's complicated to move internally in a corporation , so thinking as to moving to another company to another position when you have responsibilities it's pretty much like playing the Russian roulette with your finance and your situation.

How is changing jobs like Russian Roulette? Since both salary compression and inversion are real phenomena, the statistically best way to provide better for your family is changing jobs.

From personal experience, and not living in Silicon Valley, I changed jobs 3 times in the last 4 years and made $45K more. I changed jobs 5 timed in the last 10 years and made $65K more. Before that, I stayed at one job 9 years and only made $7K more in year 9 than year 2 with measly 3% raises and bonuses being cut.


You absolutely have to change jobs to get raises, but I can certainly see the Russian Roulette comparison. Especially as you get near the top of your salary range. The biggest problem I see is how different benefits can be and cost from company to company. From the simple (like comparing payroll deductions), to the complex; time spent in office, time spent working, commute time, coworkers, quality of health coverage, quality of work, vacation accrual.

I generally try to stay at a job for 3 to 4 years, but my last job at HP, cut my knees off when the spun me over to DXC and our benefits costs tripled. To keep the same benefits would have amounted to a 10% pay cut. I probably would not have taken the job if it's benefits had been as offered post merger, so I had no qualms in quitting as soon as I could line something else up.


I can certainly see the Russian Roulette comparison. Especially as you get near the top of your salary range.

I can see this causing me an existential crisis in three years. Using my usual framework of basing jobs on technology, environment, and money, will I be able to move from an environment I like where I make “enough” to jump ship to stay on the technology train? Especially when we are at a point where more money won’t have any effect on our current lifestyle by much or will I get complacent? The next stage of my career to make any appreciable salary jump is going to require me to go into management (not happening) or work for a consulting company that will definitely be more stressful and more traveling.

The biggest problem I see is how different benefits can be and cost from company to company. From the simple (like comparing payroll deductions),

Yes that is simple. Because of the ACA, you can basically be guaranteed a minimum quality of coverage. Yes the cost can be more or less, but that’s just a number when you are comparing total comp.

In our case, there is a known upper bound in health care cost. If it’s too expensive on my job, we switch to my wife’s coverage - she works for the state.

to the complex; time spent in office, time spent working, commute time, coworkers, quality of health coverage, quality of work, vacation accrual.

Commute time is known up front, not really a risk. Adjust your required compensation accordingly. You can also gauge the type of technology they use up front.


My point is not that you can't measure these things, but that they are complicated to measure when comparing offers from multiple places. And the ACA guarantees coverage, but there is still a huge difference between a copay style plan and a high deductible plan. Especially when it comes to family coverage. The amount each company subsidises for family coverage is all over the place. I've been on plans where it's $20 to see a doctor or $90, right now I pay everything out of pocket until I hit $6k.


Well, you only live once, so there's that. In the end, if you're not happy with your situation, you might get depressed, alcoholic, legal opiod addicted, on even blow your brains out, and that might be worse for the kids, wife, and mortgage.


That’s what he is talking about though, “You only live once” is a selfish (no negative connotation intended) sentiment. If you have a wife, children, debts people are expecting you to repay then to some extent you need to deal with some adversity.

I’m not saying everybody should stick it out in terrible situations but “you only live once” is not the reason you should be flipping the table if you have people depending on you.


>“You only live once” is a selfish (no negative connotation intended) sentiment

This is backwards though.

Avoiding being selfish is exactly what makes the person turn alcoholic, suicidal, depressed etc. Else they could just say "fu" to their family, debts, responsibilities etc and go start a new life.

It's not like they enjoy being depressed or suicidal or abusing some substance etc and do that for selfish reasons. My point was about how trying not to be selfish and sticking to it that can end up making things worse (including for others).


I'm not so sure. This implies that there's some reliable stability in life to which you're holding on to, so when you take risks, you're discarding this reliable stability.

But I don't think this stability actually exists. Lots of things can turn on you and your family at any moment, and then you are not ready, because you haven't been taking the necessary risks, haven't been taking care of yourself, out of a sense of duty.

I think people generally function best when they optimize for themselves compared to optimizing directly for others, because if you do not optimize for yourself, you rot, and then you cannot help said others anyway. Optimizing for others can be very difficult and inaccurate. Put on your mask before you put on your child's mask.

Optimizing yourself should already take care of unnecessarily rash YOLO decisions since you wouldn't want to be left without any money yourself, either. But holding on to awful positions out of a sense of duty, ehh, that seems to be how people get to a really bad place (i.e., depression, alcoholism, infidelity). And, ultimately, there's not just duty to your specific family, but also to society, and you can't change society when you are always just going with the flow.

It also creates a rather sad picture for said family.


Interestingly, confucianism extends this concept of obligation to society at large, in which case you're never flipping the table as a good person.

I wonder if that's a better paradigm than the more individualistic one we have in the West.


One thought that comes to mind is that this paradigm makes it easier for bad actors (those who are “selfish”) to get ahead.


You should, and the reason is this.

When you're evaluating a decision, you have partial information about the extremes. If you've been with someone for a year, you know how bad your worst fight was. Chances are though, whatever it was is a sampling from a distribution that you've only sampled a small amount of.

Your eventual worst fight will be worse, because when you have more samples chances are the extremes will be more extreme. (BTW if you're evaluating algorithmic trading strategies you need to think about this.)

If you're already thinking things are bad enough to consider leaving, you can look forward to them getting worse even if the underlying dynamics are no different.

Note the asymmetry and the importance of the extremes. Everyone who has a breakup story also had good moments and may have mostly enjoyed their average day. But you choose to leave because of the lows, not the average or the highs.


This analysis seems much too statistical and superficial. If your partner and you are fighting more than you think is manageable, you need to make a change. That is your prerogative. You can treat them differently, you can try to find out when and why you get into fights, you can change jobs, you can change partner. All of these choices will have an enormous impact on your quality of life, and the dynamics between you.

Your outlook makes it sound like you have as little effect over your own relationship as you do over the stock market.


There are some red flags that you can tell pretty early on in a relationship if you pay attention.

- How do you argue? Is your partner denigrating? That’s a personality trait and an immediate no.

- Do they have an addiction? If you are married, you can try to work through it if they want to get better, but statistically it’s a long shot. But if you are just dating, why bother?

- Are they materialistic? Are they just in the relationship for what you can do for them?

- Are they honest?

Etc.


Insofar as there are litmus test type questions for people, I try to avoid them. But one that always stuck with me is: look at how they treat servers, waiters, cleaners, etc; and; look at how they treat their closest family members. It will tell you something about how they feel about other people in general, and about how well they develop long-term relationships.

Granted, even this information gets tainted: narcissist parents, for example, might come across as their parents being nice, but them not being nice to their parents.


>> "Granted, even this information gets tainted: narcissist parents, for example, might come across as their parents being nice, but them not being nice to their parents."

You can tell a lot about someone by how they treat someone they don't like. Some people get downright cruel with people they don't like, and it's a huge red flag because some day they may find reason to not like you. You're just setting yourself up to become a target once you find yourself on their bad side.

You sometimes see this when someone's hating on a public figure. They insult the person's weight, appearance, and speculate about their sexuality. I am never surprised when these people turn out to be abusers and harassers.


Some people get downright cruel with people they don't like, and it's a huge red flag because some day they may find reason to not like you.

Trust me, if you stay married long enough, there are going to be times that you don’t like yout spouse and vice versa. That’s when you really see what you are both made of. Over time the rebound either gets faster as you learn how to disagree civilly - or worse.


Very interesting, and something that I talk to my partner about at times. My method of managing emotions is to try to cool off before engaging in a new discussion, if not for diplomacy then for my own sake -- it is so tiring to be angry!

I think this is also why words of affirmation and acknowledgement are so important, like taking the five seconds it takes to say you appreciate your partner, and thank you for clearing the table after dinner yesterday.


Personally, the one that resonates with me is how they treat their family or friends they don't like that much. I find it very easy to treat people I don't know well, but it's hard for me to not be snarky-etc to family members that I don't respect.


Not sure how true, but I feel if they're denigrating to other people, it's also a red flag.


I mean, it’s dating advice on a site called “Hacker News”.


> If you've been with someone for a year, you know how bad your worst fight was. Chances are though, whatever it was is a sampling from a distribution that you've only sampled a small amount of.

But you also need to sample across different partners. How many partners do you need to sample to evaluate whether the fights you have are on the better or worse end? Then there's only so much time in life. Also you change and get more mature. I don't think I learned that much from the relationship I had at 19 than at 25 and again at 30. Choosing one partner for life, while not impossible, is pretty flawed because you never know how both of you will change over the next 10 years. Plus the general problem with us humans that we're just never content with anything for extended periods of time. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. By that logic, don't even start a relationship ever. Stay single, so you don't have any responsibilities. Slightly dissatisfied with your current job? Put in your two weeks notice and see where life takes you. Shouldn't be to hard to eventually get another job in tech. Moving shouldn't be an issue at all. Unemployed for a year? No problem, you got plenty of savings, since there is no nonsense like college funds for any kifds going on in life. Only that eventually you might wonder if your life might be incomplete without having raised your own kids... That green grass stuff again...


The secretary problem is quite a good read for what you bring up.


Choosing one partner for life, while not impossible, is pretty flawed because you never know how both of you will change over the next 10 years.

The one thing you can be certain of is you and your partner will change. Perhaps the solution is to develop some tolerance to that change if you want a long relationship.


This is biased because the coin being heads only made people 11% more likely to do so, so most of the factor in whether they made the leap was whether they were going to anyway. The causality may not be the change => :-), but instead change+ready+motivated => :-)

The title might be better as "If you’re pretty sure whether to quit your job or break up, you probably should"


But if you're pretty sure, then...you don't need a coin to make a decision, do you? If you already know, then it doesn't really require an article does it?


Nah, these decisions can be extremely difficult to go through with. Even if you’re pretty sure, and can lists loads of benefits to making the decision, there’s still a “what if it all goes wrong?” holding you back.


Then that sounds like the "unsure" category, not the "sure" category.


Being sure and being ready to make it are two different things.

People can be deeply sure, and even be able to articulate very well, that X is very bad for them (job, relationship, habit, etc) but still not be able to quit it.


May be I am playing with definitions, so I apologize if you think so although I think I have reasons for my thinking. Here's my logic: may be someone hates x, but not doing x has adverse consquences, so they don't stop x. That, to me, sounds like a decision, that isn't "unsure", that's doing x even though you hate it because you don't want to lose out on y,z,\omega. The thing is that still is a decision to me.

In a similar sense, doing x for a period of time until you can quit and never do it again is also a decision, and it has its own circumstance, but it is also a sure decision.

What I read what they said, is I don't like x, but I have reasons y,z,\omega, so should I stop x? That is what I call "unsure", even if you don't like x. The reason I think so, is because you're still open to keeping x, even though you hate x, and you have the ability to say no to x. Then, why say no to x, and lose y,z,\omega anyway? Which is worse? x or not y,z,\omega?

I guess the reason is especially in Western culture, we put way too much stock in internal motivations, and all of psychology and history teaches us that internal motivations often end up being BS, fancy stories we tell ourselves anyway. Often times, material context matters a lot more than internal reasons. It's not moods don't matter at all, and I'm not saying we're just machines, but people seem to seriously discount one's context these days.


The big difference between leaving a relationship and leaving a job is that even if you're in a good place, a job will never last for life. Some relationships will.

Anecdotally, I don't know a single person that has regretted leaving a job when they decided to (disclaimer: most people I know work skilled jobs). Even when people come back to the same company, it's usually on a different team and with a 30% bump in salary. So I generally agree, once you're thinking about it, it's probably time to go, you'll only end up better off.

Relationships are a lot more nuanced, hence the lesser benefit the article reports versus leaving jobs. I'd want to see it broken down by relationship length, age, happiness level and other factors before making any serious decisions based on this article.


My mother & father have both held the same job for the past 20 years, & intend to retire from those jobs. Secretary at a lawfirm & furniture repair. They're both now enjoying 5 weeks vacation a year. & hey, they've also maintained a great relationship for three decades too


And they're probably legacy employees in both those positions - it's extremely unlikely anyone new entering is going to get the same terms or stability.


My parents did too. Good luck with that in technology. I’ve seen (and been) one of those people at a job for a decade, and then when it’s time to leave find yourself unhireable. While you are there, watch salaries increase in the market much faster than your salary increases.


I've definitely left a good dev job for more money and regretted it.


To add another point of anecdote, I've also left a bad dev job for less money but better mental health overall. Such a good decision, but a difficult one to make.

Higher amounts of money yield diminishing returns. It's difficult to balance it with the added benefits of a low stress job (or one with a better commute, friendlier colleagues, etc), but putting the effort it's totally worth it. This includes being honest with yourself about what makes you happy in a job, which is actually much more difficult than it sounds (as it always it when you need to be honest with yourself).


I’ve never left a job and regretted. My criteria for a job are technology, environment and money. Once the technology got out of step with the market, it’s dangerous to stay at a job. Once you’ve been at a job long enough, why not leave for a better environment? As far as money, all other things being equal. Why not leave for money?


Better have a solid alternative in-place before throwing away social or income sheet capital. Up and quitting (hopefully with notice) without a plan isn't smart or professional.


> Up and quitting (hopefully with notice)

Why is it considered bad form to quit without notice, but if a company lets you go without notice, it's "just business"?


At least in the tech world, if a company just let you go with no severance I think it would rightfully be branded a very shitty thing to do.


Welcome to 95% of the tech world. I don't know anyone whose been laid off and was offered even a month of severance. It appears very common in San Francisco but the rest of the world acts like most businesses


Not “rest of the world”, rest of the US. In Europe and e.g. Israel, minimal severance is dictated by law and its often 3-months pay or more, in some cases a months salary for each year worked (so laying someone off after 20 years means they get 20 months severance).

There are exceptions (e.g. firing “for cause” such as sexual misconduct or embezzelment) but they are really exceptional. And if the company folds and can’t pay that, the government will, and likely criminally indict the officers who let the company fold without taking care of the severance payment.


In Germany the minimum notice period is 4 weeks and increases in steps (after 2 years it’s a full month, after 5 years it’s two and tops out at 7 month after 20 years of continued employment). Since germany can’t go below European minimums, that’s an upper bar for those. It’s fairly l common to see 3 month as a minimum though. Keep in mind, however, that during that time you’re employed and expected to work, though the employer may decide that you don’t have to show up (common in security critical employments). You still can’t take another job. If you don’t show up against the employers will, that’s cause for immediate termination with no severance. Severance payments are still uncommon.

If a company folds, notice periods are capped at three month, and no, officers will not be indicted for any future failed payment. Officers may be indicted for delaying the an Insolvenz, failing to pay taxes or social security or embezzling money in the process, but costs for future wages are not on the list. There is something called Insolvenzgeld which may pay for some of the wages, but it’s capped to 5400 EUR/month and covers the outstanding wage payments for the three month _before_ the company was declared insolvent.

However, the whole social security system makes loosing or quitting a job less of an hardship. Even though quitting a job yourself now means that you’re not receiving unemployment payments for the first three months, you’ll still be covered after that, lowering the overall risk.


>>> If you don’t show up against the employers will, that’s cause for immediate termination with no severance. Severance payments are still uncommon.

That's not true. An employee cannot be immediately terminated for not showing up to work ONCE. Doesn't matter if it's in the notice period or not.

If it's something that your employer does, ask you to show up on the next day while you are on garden leave, then immediately terminate you, it's serious ground to bring them to court.


The courts disagree with you: https://www.kostenlose-urteile.de/LAG-Rheinland-Pfalz_7-Sa-3...

Note that in this case, additional infractions were committed, but the court specifically pointed out hat each infraction on it own would have been sufficient grounds for termination. And this was even without handing in a notice.

It’s certainly not the regular case that your employment will be terminated immediately for being late or not showing up once, but if you hand in your notice and don’t show up the next day without a damn good excuse, this will be treated as exactly what it is: cheating your employer for a wage. And that’s a standard ground for immediate termination.

Also note that just not showing up without a good cause entitles the employer to withhold your wage. So now you’re still employed, cannot take another full-time job and don’t get wage nor unemployment payments. Good way to footgun yourself.


Minor quibble: a lot of businesses go bust unable to pay redundancy and there are very rarely consequences for directors unless reckless trading can be proven. That at least is my experience in Ireland and UK.


I am most familiar with the situation in Israel with respect to layoffs; not paying severance in Israel is criminal whether or not the company folds (with officers actually indicted), and it’s 1-month per year of employment, with social security underwriting this payment.

As a result of this strict lawful requirement, there’s an industry of regulated escrow middlemen who collect 8.33% of monthly salary from employer on behalf of severance. If employee is terminated for cause, employer may get it back. In all other cases (including going bust), it goes to the employee.


Severance is extremely common outside Silicon Valley and even outside of tech. Even people in (skilled) factory jobs usually get severance when laid off. It's mainly a hedge against getting sued rather than goodness of heart, but it's still common.


More than that, severance is the law in the vast majority of the world. Being fired without notice and without severance, losing your health insurance and having to fight for unemployment in court is a trifecta of unthinkable for the average European.


Severance is not in the law in germany. Notice periods are, but there are some substantial differences. You can’t take on a job after having received or handed in your notice - you’re in principle still expected to work. If you just decide to not show up, that’d grounds for immediate termination.

Both sides can agree by contract to terminate the employment immediately (Aufhebungsvertrag) and those contracts often stipulate a severance, but for example they also often stipulate that any wages from jobs you take on in that period get deducted from the severance payment.


Severance applies when the company lays you off. If you're fired for cause (say, not showing up), you're rarely entitled to anything.


In germany, severance is uncommon, even if the company lays you off. You get your three month notice, and after that, no further payment is made. Things may differ if the situation is slightly complicated, for example the company would prefer you gone earlier, they may offer you a payment lower than the wage for the notice period and you’re gone earlier or if they might not be allowed to terminate your employment for legal reasons to avoid lengthy lawsuits. Sometimes severance payments are negotiated in mass layoffs in unionized companies.

My point was: severance differs substantially from a notice period. If you’re laid off with severance, you can go and get a different job the next day. If you’re laid off with a notice period you cannot. You must show up and work the next day. If you don’t, you’ll be terminated without notice. A common thing that people do is that they call in sick after either being served or handing in their notice - same thing happens. Immediate termination.


Please stop spreading misinformation. There are few circumstances where an employees can be immediately terminated and calling in sick is not one of them.


Calling in sick when you’re not is grounds for immediate termination. Doubly so if you made the grave error of announcing that - the announcement alone could be sufficient (Bundesarbeitsgericht, Urteil vom 12.03.2009, 2 AZR 251/07). That’s really field day for a lawyer.

Citation: http://m.hensche.de/Arbeitsrecht_aktuell_Kuendigung_vorgetae...

Calling in sick after handing in your notice is also a standard reason to send you to the Amtsarzt who will check your doctors diagnosis.

Calling in sick when you are, is not usually grounds for a termination, but that’s not what’s being discussed here.


First, you never specified that it was about sick leave while not actually being sick.

Either way, it is not an immediate termination, there is a long procedure to follow. I have to repeat again, there are very few circumstances where an employee can be immediately terminated.


> First, you never specified that it was about sick leave while not actually being sick.

Which could have been clear from the context.

> Either way, it is not an immediate termination, there is a long procedure to follow

Which would be? Have you read the court decisions I quoted, especially the one from the BAG? The lengthy process was as follows: The employee threatened to call in sick if holiday was not granted on May 25th. He did not show up for work on May 27th. The first immediate termination on June 1st had a formal error and was rejected. The second immediate termination from June 7th was formally upheld. The only reason that the case was sent back to the previous court is that the previous court did not confirm whether the employee was indeed ill.

That's not exactly "lengthy". It's not always easy to prove that the employee was not sick, but legal literature is full of examples.

> I have to repeat again, there are very few circumstances where an employee can be immediately terminated.

That's true and I never pretended otherwise. Most cases for immediate termination are based in the fact that the employee knowingly attempts to defraud the employer. Trying not to show up for work if you've been fired or quit on your own is a prime example of that. The fraud is in trying to get a wage that you haven't worked for.


Yea, I should have specified this was the US only. I will say though, this is not the "vast majority of the world". South America, Africa, and Asia certainly don't have the same protections as Europe and they hold the vast majority of the population


I would like to see evidence if that. I've seen companies offer a single paycheck,two weeks that is, of pay and act like they were ghandi for it. They also usually ask for you to sign all the NDAs and other agreements they forgot to get you to sign, in exchange for that severance


Is this 'laid off' in the individual (or even team) sense or 'laid off' in the 'company went bankrupt' sense? I'd guess your exposure to the latter would be significantly higher in startup land than in the real world.


The first. Most of the people I know who were laid off get, at best, an vague promise to blnot fight unemployment claims and even those aren't always honored. Other than California most states allow NDAs and non competes which companies rely on heavily to threaten employees if they fought a lay off at all


If there's no notice then that's pretty crap. Every employment contract I've ever (in Australia) had has specified some fixed amount of notice required on either side to terminate employment (usually 2-4 weeks, sometimes increasing with time spent at the company) plus the company has to pay out any accrued annual leave, long service leave etc. This stuff is owed regardless of why the employee leaves.

Even if they tell you to go home and not come back, they still have to pay out the notice period and other outstanding amounts. It usually works out that you're covered for a month or two before you start to lose out financially.

I've never actually encountered it myself (and in fact just had to look it up [1]) but if you're made redundant then there's also a mandatory redundancy payout which starts at 4 weeks' pay for an employee who's been there between 1 and 2 years, and scales up to 16 weeks for employees of 10 years or over.

(The one time I've been 'made redundant' it was never official, I was working for a games company and they just kind of stopped paying us so we eventually just kind of stopped going. Lots of people lost significant amounts of money in owed wages.)

Edit: As for noncompetes, I think they're pretty universally held to be unenforceable attempts to bluster employees into believing they can't leave, but I can't imagine a company which actually tried to enforce one would ever be able to hire quality staff again. It'd be suicide.

[1] https://www.ilo.org/dyn/eplex/termdisplay.severancePay?p_lan...


>an vague promise to blnot fight unemployment claims

How does unemployment work where you are? Why would a previous employer be involved in the process of you claiming unemployment? The only thing I can think of, and also why they would be inclined to fight it, is if the payments come out of their pocket. If that's the case, then isn't that sort of just severance but with a different name slapped on it?


They pay unemployment insurance to the state, which goes up if they have more claims from ex employees. The government gives them the chance to contest any unemployment claims.

You can also get in a limbo where you accept an offer from employer A, give notice to your current employer B, then employer A rescinds the job offer from you before you start or even early in employment. The state then considers you not having been employed with employer A and having quit voluntarily from employer B, so they deny unemployment payments


My understanding is that employers in the US pay for unemployment insurance and their rates go up if the number of claims go up. So they don't pay directly but they do indirectly.


well i was offered two weeks after two years of work (China), though according law it should be two months (month for each year you worked), out of maybe 30 people, me and i think one Israeli girl were the only ones who didn't accept it, then i followed great examples of my role models from Fight Club and American beauty and bumped my severance to two months with promise i will keep my mouth shut and i don't need to come anymore for next two weeks we were supposed, i don't need to keep bridges with such shitty companies


Because we are taught that way by company propaganda. It really isn't a big deal and often, leaving without notice is the right thing to do. Companies in the US have no respect or care for their employees, yet they push this idea that we must respect and care for them. Fuck them if their usefulness has come to an end. Not to mention that often, when you do give notice, they'll fire you simply to avoid paying you the final two weeks. We need to stop buying into this stupid bullshit corporate propaganda and eradicate it out of our culture to make progress.


I agree with you, but--

> Not to mention that often, when you do give notice, they'll fire you simply to avoid paying you the final two weeks

This makes no sense. Companies will make your life hell and do anything to get you to quit so they don't have to fire you. If they fire you without cause, you can make an unemployment claim against them-- but if you quit on your own, that's on you.

In my experience, it's more common that they'll enact your resignation immediately yet continue paying you as though you were working the next two weeks, to mitigate any final acts of sabotage or exfiltration.


> In my experience, it's more common that they'll enact your resignation immediately yet continue paying you

In my experience, it's not uncommon that they'll enact your resignation immediately, and that's it. No wages, no pay, you resigned, so goodbye.

> This makes no sense. (snip) If they fire you without cause, you can make an unemployment claim against them

Companies are not necessarily rational actors, they are wholly controlled by people who can sometimes be just as rash or impulsive as any other person. Especially at smaller companies, pure spite can have a non-trivial amount of play in the hiring/firing/resigning process.

And what is the employee really going to do, file for unemployment? The employee already has a new job (that's why they resigned in the first place), so it's a pretty safe gamble they aren't going though that hassle, just for the two week gap.

---

If the company falls on hard times and lays people off, that's "just business" and "no hard feelings". But if an employee leaves for a different job, that's a minor betrayal, and gets treated as such. This response is not appropriate, but I've seen it often enough to know it happens.


They can't fire you if you've already quit.

The two week period is for your teammates' benefit. Not your company or the project. Any manager that knows they're losing someone is going to much rather spend money on hiring and ramping up a replacement than continuing to employ the person who's leaving. She won't care what you do.

But it is just one paycheck out of 24 per year that will now be returned to the budget. Shutting the door on an employee who's trying to be professional and give 2 weeks notice makes a manager look petty and sends the message that the project is in maximum cost cutting mode - that gaining a single paycheck for one person is worth depriving the other employees of any chance of getting needed knowledge or context from the person who resigned. To me that's a sure sign that layoffs are coming.


The flip side to notice is not notice, but severance pay. Who cares if you're not required to go into work every day but the paycheck keeps rolling in?


In the US. plenty of places have legal requirements for notice and severance.


Because one side has power and the other doesn't.


When you get let go, neither you nor the people who depend on you at work know that it's coming. When you quit, you know it's coming and they don't. The two week notice gives them time to get the info they need from you. It's not really for the company, it's for your colleagues. If no one depends on you then it doesn't matter.


I think the takeaway, though, is that being too cautious is dangerous, too, because there is so much upside to leaving a job you don't like.

Lesson I've certainly learned: No need to burn bridges, but waiting for the "perfect time" to leave a tech job (e.g. all projects wrapped up, other job fully lined up, etc.) is a futile exercise. Just be considerate with 2 weeks notice, say you want to explore other opportunities or whatever, and move on.


It’s actually pretty normal nowadays. No one is suggesting you have to burn bridges if you quit.


I did this. I would agree that it wasn't smart, but I don't think it was unprofessional. I stayed long enough to wrap up or hand off all my projects. It wouldn't have worked to find something else right away because I was burnt out with stress, and adding on job-searching stress and starting a new job right away would have just compounded that problem. What I needed was time off to recover. It's absolutely a luxury of our industry that I was able to do this without (much) ill effect, but all my employers since then have benefited from my improved mental state afterward.

But still, I agree it wasn't smart; the smart move would have been to recognize the impending burn out early on and work with my employer to keep it from getting to the quitting point.


I did the same. I quit without a new job to go to. I had planned to quit for months before I actually did, but job searching while I was stressed was adding to my stress. It just wasn't working. I had enough savings and I knew my skills were in demand so I quit.

I recovered for a couple months before I started job searching again. Within a month of starting the job search, I had a new job.

I think quitting without a new job isn't always a dumb thing to do. I think in our cases it was the smart thing to do.


I disagree, sometimes it's just what you need to do.

I did this, moved to a new city, it was great for my mental health and I ended up at a MUCH better job in the end.


I just quit without another job to go to - although admittedly I have a plan :-)


No one is saying to quit your job right this instant with no plan.


Is it just me or is this terrible advice?


> Is it just me or is this terrible advice?

Yes, it's glorified impulsiveness. Quitting is one solution. But it isn't the only one.

The study itself is better reading. It finds "people may be excessively cautious when facing life-changing choices" while conceding "that the research subjects who chose to participate in the study are far from representative...as there may be sample selection in which coin tossers complete the surveys, and responses might not be truthful" [1]. Furthermore, in allowing participants to choose the question they wanted to answer with a coin flip, it selected for questions to which thought had already been devoted.

The conclusion is best interpreted as "if you've thought through a big decision and remain unsure, there is preliminary evidence that you might want to risk going for it." Not that the moment a trace of dissatisfaction crosses your mind, you should give up.

[1] https://www.nber.org/papers/w22487.pdf


It boils down to "If things aren't going well, change something."

I'd wager it comes down to taking control of your life. Even if life is "harder" by most measures after the change, knowing that you have the ability to make a change without the world ending is powerful. A new job, new year, new relationship, etc, etc is a chance to reset and do things "better" this time around.

Even if this particular change doesn't work out for the better, it changes your mindset.


This advice really resonates with the mellenial in me. The adult in me — however — finds it pretty selfish.


Aren't all Millennials over 18 at this point?


18-year-olds have legal majority, but talk to one for an hour and you'll see most are not 'adult'. 500 years ago a 16 year old could be a man, contributing as a full fledged adult to his community. Today it's 25 if you're lucky.


From what I understand this isn’t actually true to much extent; 16 was still considered fairly young. Too young to run a household or be the head of the house, often times, although if it happens it would be a forced of circumstance. When Henry of the six wives married a 17 year old (by some estimates) people were disgusted/concerned about it.


Depends on where.


You're implying that being selfish is inherently bad. Of course it's selfish. You're doing something for you. It's only a problem if it unfairly hurts someone else. How is that the case here?


How is it selfish?


Check-list for the other side of the equation: would I be happy with never settling down at all, always on the move? What conditions would it take for me to stay put? If the first answer is no and you can't give a reasonable answer to the second, you might want to reconsider change until you can.


Not when you consider that in the context of this article, the set of people flipping coins had already had all the rationalisation opportunities and were still left with no clear way to make the decision, whatever that decision was in their circumstance. Once you've removed all the deterministic structure, all you're left with is playing the odds.


Why? The idea is that if you’re seriously unsure, you’re probably trying to convince yourself that where you are is ok out of risk aversion, not pragmatism. People tend to be massively biased against change because of uncertainty. That’s not good if you want to have the best outcome possible.


It's just you.


It's modern day capitalism. Never be satisfied with what you have and always look for the next best thing. Pretty sure it's one of the reasons that so many people are unhappy these days.


I wonder if there's a potential rationalizing effect -- unmentioned here as far as I can tell -- whereby people are simply unwilling to admit to having made a bad life decision, and are willing to lie about how happy they are after the life change to avoid this.


Or just that quitting your job/ending a relationship can both be extremely stressful in the short term, and people fear going through that harsh period even if they hope to be better off after.


This is most definitely the case, but the question is if it's really unhappiness then? The paradoxical nature of humans is such that extreme trauma, like car accidents, change lives for the better. "I stopped taking life for granted," this kind of thinking is fairly widespread among accident survivors. Maybe it is a coping mechanism, maybe it isn't -- but the people involved clearly do believe it.


Yep https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choice-supportive_bias

You can see it as a specialization of the endowment effect also.


So the recap of this is: Break up, Quit your job, Move to another country, Start a business, Don't propose, Don't have kids.

Seems to me like almost of the opposite of what everyone around the world is doing.


If you want an average outcome, follow the average path. Having kids or getting married or staying in the same place all their life does not make people any happier. God knows I've seen plenty of people who were bitter about any combination of those choices.

If you want to actually live your life as a conscious being, stop looking at what other people are doing and decide what you want. It's scary and it's not for everyone.


Everyone has a natural level of happiness that is extremely difficult to change permanently. The fact is some people just have an unhappier baseline than the rest, or a happier baseline. Circumstance will move you around your neutral happiness but over time you will always tend to go to that level. It's called the hedonistic treadmill.

The things that do affect your happiness in a big measureable way are whether or not you're poor. Being rich doesn't make you happier, but being poor absolutely makes you unhappier, so does being unhealthy and being lonely.

If you're not poor, healthy, and have human companionship there doesn't exist any external goal that will actually make you happier long term. So take what simple pleasures you get, enjoy accomplishing any goals you want, but never think some different career or object or hobby will make you happier. It won't.


> Everyone has a natural level of happiness that is extremely difficult to change permanently.

I see this is true in today's world, but I don't think there's any evidence that this is a permanent state of affairs. I have a hope that there is a recipe for a permanent human elevation of mood that we just haven't unlocked yet.


You can use a lot of drugs. It drastically lowers how long you feel permanently happy (because you'll die quickly) but it's definitely a real fix.


Yea, but I'm thinking of something that increases the integral of happiness over lifetime. Your solution doesn't quite get there.


This is not proven and will not be proven any time soon.

The hedonistic treadmill is trivial to dodge, but it does require resources.


How do you dodge the hedonistic treadmill?


With the important caveat that you must first be unsure whether to do each of those things.


And have exhausted all the available rational guidance.


And yet almost everyone around the world is depressed, unfulfilled, poor, and making too many babies.


Hans Rosling says no: https://www.amazon.com/Factfulness-Reasons-World-Things-Bett...

But you're in good company thinking that.


HN news today: break up and get rich, you'll be happy

you guys okay?


> If you're unsure whether to quit your job or break up, you probably should.

Which one? Both?


there is also a news article trending here about money improving quality of life for people, from nytimes


Yes, I broke up and got rich and life is much better than it used to be.


Good to know - I broke up with a girl I would have married because she kept complaining I worked too much on my startup on weekends.


Hopefully.


Did I read this correctly that proposing caused an insanely strong 5 point reduction in happiness? And that having a kid was also quite negative?

It sounds like the takeaway is that if you're on the fence about any of these issues, you should quit your job, break up with your romantic parter, don't have kids, don't get engaged, and start your own business?

To me, it looks like the common thread through all of these is that happiness goes hand in hand with independence and freedom.


But not taking the step may send you over a cliff some later time. You might be quite happy now, but without a family or maybe a business you might be lacking a sense of purpose later in life. So investing 5 points now, may set you on a path to long-term happiness.


It's possible. This advice is reserved for people who have thought it over endlessly and have reached the end of what rational decision making can do. Probably they have considered a sense of purpose and had different thoughts on the matter.


> It sounds like the takeaway is that if you're on the fence about any of these issues, you should quit your job, break up with your romantic parter, don't have kids, don't get engaged, and start your own business?

Exactly how my life turned out and no one looks to me as a shining example of how one should achieve happiness in life...though I do have independence and freedom in droves.


Do you think you would have been any happier with your old job, kids, and spouse? Presumably if you made the choice to give those up you thought it was a good idea at the time. Did you change your mind about that?


Do you regret anything? I'm at crossroads relationshipwise myself.


Much better put by whoever did the “fuck yes or no” blog post of a few years ago, IMO. (Mark Manson?)

This should be how you treat new things. OTOH, while economists say “sunk costs are sunk” and should thus be disregarded, in real life switching has often-underestimated costs (including reputation) so skipping out on things at the first sign of trouble is usually bad.


I like that blog post, it resonated with me and generally feels like sound life advice.

But the problem I have with it is that this is essentially the life advice you'd get from a good friend after the 3rd beer in the pub, yet it's on Mark's website where he presents it as dating advice in a way that makes it sound like it's the truth and everybody should do it. I would've wished for at least one sentence where he declares "Fuck Yes or No" his own thought experiment or approach to dating.

But I guess more cautious and less self confident writing doesn't make as much money.


I think what I originally read was someone else’s post or tweet or something inspired by this specifically in the context of cofounders.

It is pretty widely held advice in investing, at least.


Sivers also wrote about it: https://sivers.org/hellyeah

To be fair he wasn't the original source either.


Thanks — that was definitely what I saw, probably on HN



Switching costs are not sunk costs.


Another way to put it:

A "so-so" job (or relationship) is worse than a terrible job, because a terrible job at least motivates you to look for something better.

Whenever I ended a so-so job, project, or relationship, the result was always "I should have done that sooner," not "I shouldn't have done that."


This header is just missing the "if you're making more than 50000 a year" condition.


"2 to 6 months"

It would be interesting to know how this turns out on the long run.

I also think that in real life, these decisions are not always about you alone.


During my graduate career, I got close to quitting a life of hard lonely work and moving to SV to join the grind over there. Sounds like the thing they advocate right? Well I didn't, and now I can put PhD next to my name, I make a comfortable salary, and am the happiest I've ever been.

In my early twenties, frustratingly surrounded by many hot girls, especially ones who showed interest in me, I considered breaking up with my girlfriend (whom which I was in a long distance relationship, which added pressure) at the time to experience more. I mean, I won't be 24 forever. Love is great, but experience is a part of life too, right?

Well, I stuck with her. I've traveled around the world with her and we're eventually planning for marriage once I can permanently move to be with her. I am the happiest I've ever been.

BTW, finding out that staying in both cases would end up being the right decision took a while, it's really on looking back years later that I realize which decisions were right or wrong.

One of the things I think I can actually attribute to wisdom that can come with age is this idea: you know only in the short term what you want, what you like to eat, what kind of hobbies you like, etc., but you don't really know what you fundamentally or deeply want in terms of career, lifestyle, etc. You really don't, so second guessing yourself isn't something like "falling short" because the default should be super sure of what you want. It just means you're not sure.


You don't know the counterfactual. You're making conclusions based on only having one branch of history. The interesting thing about studies in the article is they give us a probabilistic view of the counterfactual.

Maybe you would have been even happier on the other path. Who knows?

(I find it interesting that proposal is worth over -5 happiness points after six months, in the table in the article.)


The entire point of my post was 6 months is too short of a time to make a determination of whether x was a good idea or not. Do many people marry within 6 months of proposing? Perhaps a good chunk were in the stressful period of planning and logistics I guess.

And you're right, I don't know the counterfactual. Also, I don't know if I'm deluding myself or not. The thing is, I don't care because I'm happy now compared to back then.


Proposal being -5 is fascinating. What's equally intriguing is that "Should I dye my hair" is dramatically more positive than "Should I have a child". Mind you, perhaps they should have checked in on that one at the 1-year mark.


Who's to say you're deluding yourself into thinking you're in a comfortable job? Maybe it's actually boring and soul-crushing in ten years.

Not only are people terrible at judging the outcome of our long-term plans, we're also terrible at judging relative happiness over long periods of time.


I wonder who is more eager to justify their decision and to tell themselves they're better off now: Those who tore down all bridges and left in anger? Or those who stayed and climbed up the social ladder even though they hate their live?


In some sense this is like asking who scores more goals in football by looking at whether they took a shot or passed it on. In the end I think relative richness (i.e. making more than your neighbours) and social relevance (i.e. people needing you) will always be more important for building self-worth and long-term happiness.


The OP told that he stayed tough he had other options with probably better options for short term benefits and that he thinks he is happier on the long term. You asked if he doesn't delude himself into thinking that he is happier. I accepted that people delude themselves (all the time one way or the other) but I asked in which situation the self-delusion is "bigger". In the light of your previous comment I don't fully understand your current answer.

(I'm not saying people should stay in uncomfortable situations. But you should be honest with yourself why you want to leave.)


During my graduate career about 1 year in the main project wasn't working right and it wasn't clear how we'd move forward. 6 months after that I did actually fix it, but I had notionally 1.5-2.5 years to do all the rest of the project where we implemented some new science.

3.5 years later I left with a Masters degree, then left hard sciences entirely and now on self-training make a lot more money in IT.

I really should've left at 1 year and started looking for Junior sysadmin positions then.

Of course I suppose had I done that I probably wouldn't have developed the relationship I did with my now wife, but objectively the experience career-wise was a colossal waste of time and money, but which I lacked the life/career experience (or people able to give relevant advice) to correctly assess.


How so? Ultimately the only thing you are owed by anyone else in the world is the right to walk away. I don't owe my SO a relationship and she doesn't owe me one. We're in it because we want to be.

It's the same thing at work, where my boss pays me because he wants me to work for him, and I want to work for him because he pays me and he's a good boss. He doesn't owe me a job and I don't owe him work beyond what he's already paid me for.

So I don't see how these decisions are about anyone but me.


I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you don't have (young) kids.


You can walk away from a spouse without walking away from your kids. That's pretty much what my parents did. My dad and my mom were divorced and basically never spoke to each other or interacted. But they were both involved in our lives in different ways.


Conversely divorce-rates tend to spike once the youngest child graduates high-school (certainly did for my year group). There is a fair bit of "staying together for the kids" which happens it seems.


"Job quitting and breaking up both carry very large, positive, and statistically significant coefficients at six months. Going on a diet is positive and statistically significant at two months, but has a small and insignificant impact by six months. "

Guy breaks up with girl Goes gym (2 months) Guy finds girl (6 months)

I'm sure we have these chemicals which effect emotion to be overtly opportunistic about life around periods with new sexual partners to encourage reproduction. But I'm just an alien


Everyone wonders whether to quit or break up sometimes. That of course doesn't mean you should do so. The title is miseading. The first line of second paragraph states that data was collected on people that were 'deeply unsure' about something. Quite a lot depends on how much you are actually considering it. Unless you are sure the data in the study is representative for your situation, this study doesn't help much.


Pretty sure I should do both.


Maybe just apply for jobs instead of quitting first? I never recommend anyone quit their job without having a backup in place. There are multiple reasons for this in my opinion, even if you have enough in savings to last you 5-years. The feedback I get is, well I can't focus on the job search while working.

1) If you have a job the HR person deems you as more attractive as someone wants you. Similar to a relationship, when you are dating, all the other girls want you.

2) If you have a job, you can throw around a funny number, ask for more lieu time, vacation time, and basically control your interview process.

3) If you have a job while applying to a new one your resume doesn't show employment gaps which you have to explain in the future.


if you're serious, you might want to delete this. i think it's relatively easy to tie this account to others


If either their employer or their SO are sleuthing their private accounts looking for dirt, that only makes it clearer that they need to leave.


No one is sure of anything, this is a pretty obtuse and ridiculous recommendation.

A better recommendation, would be: trust your "instinct" and act on it with purpose.


An even better (or possibly the same, I'm just restating you more verbosely) recommendation would be one which gave you a mental framework to help you organize your thoughts around the situation so that you can be confident in exercising your own judgment.

Books which are good for helping lay out such a mental framework include:

- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Decisive-How-Make-Better-Decisions/...

- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Too-Good-Leave-Bad-Stay/dp/07181417...


Average benefit is meaningless. Individual decisions are made by minimax, which says to stay.


So you try to minimize your partner's advantage‽ Sort of a worrying strategy there. :-)


No. Maximize worst-case scenario. Which is either stay in bad job or have no job.


"Both are significant at the p=0.04 level, and fortunately I don’t think Levitt had many if any opportunities for specification mining here to artificially drive down the p value."

You guys will fall for anything, won't you?


Hmm. This seems like one of those things that may be statistically true, but the statistic may not be relevant to a given situation. I think there's a term for stuff like this but I forgot it, regression to the mean, maybe?


If you're in an unhappy position at your job or life, you can ruin your relationships naturally, or you can use those relationships to save you. So, leave the job or not, it's based on your relationship also.


Save enough money so you can leave your job if you need to. Connect with people that can refer you if you are looking for a job.


.48 higher on the happiness scale 0-10 probably isn’t worth it.


Bold quote from about 50% down the page:

"The causal effect of quitting a job is estimated to be a gain of 5.2 happiness points out of 10, and breaking up as a gain of 2.7 out of 10!"

I believe that's on a scale of 1 to 10 (or 0 to 10?) someone rated going from a 3 to an 8 (on average) based on quitting a job they were /considering/ quitting. I will note that they probably did have other opportunities lined up; quitting a job and becoming unemployed without benefits strikes me as a most probably unhappy circumstance.

Similarly the relation change ended up netting 2-3 "points" of difference for a relationship. So 5 became 7 or 8.

Edit (not for formatting):

I didn't check the details on the statistics, so I don't know how LIKELY a positive outcome vs negative outcome was from those changes. It's possible that there's a split where a subset was VERY happy with the change and some were ambivalent/unhappy as a result.


Isn't worth what? Effort?


My favorite result was “should I propose?” -5!


Hell yes, or no


why is there a photo of Barack Obama on this article?

I really don't see the connection. Anybody please enlighten me?


That's horrible advice for relationships.

Once you sleep with her, marry her. Sorry for being conservative here.


Actual conservative sentiment would be, once you marry her, sleep with her. Worked for me!

Here's my reasoning. If you are expecting someone else to make you happy, you're in for disappointment. It's just human nature, one or both of you is going to disappoint the other. My apparently contrarian take on relationships is when you are ready to become selfless and start concerning yourself with making other people happy instead of yourself a) congratulations, you are now an adult human b) you can find someone that you can decide is worth the effort, and then stick to it.

And you may be surprised to find that selflessness and happiness are highly correlated. That's also human nature, IMO how we are hardwired to live as social beings. There's some great ancient literature on the subject, and I don't think it is a principle which changes much over time and culture.


I honestly wished I had read your very good advice a bit earlier in live. If I had to condense "What's wrong with society" into one sentence it would be that people have mostly forgotten your way of reasoning.


That’s not conservative.... that’s just bad advice. She won’t be happy if you are just in it out of obligation and you won’t be happy either. If you have kids, they will be able to tell and I’ve never known kids that are happier in a house with two parents that don’t want to be there than one where the parents are separate and healthy.

It’s also not being a good role model for your kids to set the expectation for them to stay in a unhealthy relationship.

True, marriage should never be treated as disposable but if only one person is working on it, it’s timr to leave.


Out of interest, what makes this good advice vs. the advice in the article?


limited observational data: less fucking around => much happier marriages => happier kids.


> Once you sleep with her, marry her. Sorry for being conservative here.

That's horrible advice for relationships...and makes the assumption that women will only sleep with a guy as trade for a wedding band.

I've heard rumors that women will actually sleep with someone they have no interest in having a long term relationship with for pure entertainment value -- think I was watching Nova or something, dunno?




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