Quitting

I am on the board of this wonderful organization that promotes local art. It’s not a particularly ambitious organization. We host an annual art exhibit, and somewhere in the background an artists-in-residence program that has great potential that hasn’t been realized.

A few years ago, the board was shifting and there was an immediate need for a Treasurer, so I reluctantly raised my hand. In his interview with Tim Ferriss, Derek Sivers reveals that he doesn’t take on projects that he’s merely willing to do. The answer is either “Hell Yeah! or No.” I wish I’d heard that before I’d made that decision.

Although I can be analytical when I have to be, spreadsheets and numbers have never brought me much joy. Still, the responsibilities were minimal and the organization worthy, so I was determined to do my part.

This year, the board shifted again, and the Treasurer’s responsibilities increased just as I was fighting like mad to get and become efficient at my new job. It was too much. I started resenting every new financial request. When the Executive Director asked for anything, my mind would agree that it was perfectly reasonable and a great idea, but my soul would cringe in pain and scream No No No!

I soldiered on through the toughest parts, but my attitude was increasingly sour. Then I quit.

It would be an exaggeration to say that the skies cleared and the heavens sang, but I did do a little happy dance off in the corner.

And the best part? I’ve managed to quit in time to still be enthusiastic about the organization as a whole. Once free of the burden of office, I immediately rediscovered how much I enjoyed the people and the things they wanted to accomplish.

Two lessons:

  • Quit Early
  • Hell Yeah! or No.