Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


Not if you’re having fun.

Today’s post is a little off my usual topic of B2B ecommerce.  When you’re a CEO, an entrepreneur, husband, father and friend…and when you get to be my age… it’s a topic that regularly shows up in conversations and for some strange reason, it’s hitting a crescendo this week.

I thought I’d deal with it head on.

So, when should you quit your job?  My view?  When you’re no longer having any fun.

I should know.  Over my 33 year career, I’ve quit 6 different jobs and was fired from 2 others (one of which they said “your fired” before I could get the words “I quit” out of my mouth).

Fun at work, by the way, isn’t frivolous fun.  It doesn’t mean drinking beer, playing video games, or hosting karaoke parties.  Fun at work for me has always been about learning new things and figuring out ways to turn those learnings into value for my employer/clients.  It’s whatever gets your creative juices going, your sense of accomplishment fed, and your desire to get up in the morning (or stay up late at night) fueled.

Fun is really the driving force of productivity in the workforce.  See this Forbes article entitled “Fun, Fun, Fun – Millennnials Want to Have Fun at Work”.  I guess I’ve been a Millennial my entire working career. :-) This excerpt from the article hits the nail on the head!:

“With work dominating our lives in so many ways and with the constant expectations to produce a quantity of quality results, it only makes sense that we should be having fun along the way.”

One quick aside, I’m not advocating “irresponsible quitting”.  The first time I quit a job, I had a daughter who was 1 year old, a brand new 12% mortgage and zero savings in the bank.  Telling my employer to “take this job and shove it” wasn’t a practical option.  So I quit responsibly.  I “quit” my job working as a Scientist in an IBM laboratory to take a job as a Scientific Advisor in IBM’s marketing division’s HQ.  I went from one job where I was no longer having any fun to one that was like I died and went to heaven.

So why do people stop having fun at work?

My experience is that there are two related reasons.

  1. We burn out. – After you’ve been at a job for a period of time (for me it usually takes 3 years), “things” just pile up.  We never get closure on certain projects.  We’re asked to do more with less.  We get frustrated by looking at all the things that we have to do that are getting in the way of the things that we want to do.  We simply get to the point where we psychologically, emotionally, and eventually physically, don’t have the energy to fight the battle.  Part of the reason we burn out is our own fault.  We lose the balance and perspective in our lives and feel trapped.  This one is easy to fix.  Do what it takes to regain your balance.  You’re in control.  Ask for help, go for a run, take a vacation, whatever it takes.  Find the balance.  The other reason we burn out leads me to the next reason…
  2. Sucky managers. – Every time I’ve quit, there was a sucky manager in the picture.  Someone who I didn’t trust, didn’t respect, treated my like “property” and who I could no longer work with.  Confirming my suspicions that sucky managers are at the root of much evil in the workplace, the Chairman (Jim Clifton) of Gallop, Inc. posted a blog this week entitled “Millions of Managers are Killing America’s Growth”.  According to Mr. Clifton:

“Of the country’s roughly 100 million full-time employees, an alarming 70 million (70%) are either not engaged at work or are actively disengaged.”

That’s an awful lot of people “not having any fun”!

So…ask yourself if you’re having fun at work.

If the answer is no, then create a list of what’s stopping you from having fun at work.  Work through that list until you’re having fun again.  Get your Manager to help you through your list.  If you can’t get through the list on your own, or if you can’t get your Manager to help you through it, it’s time to quit.

It’s the right thing to do for everyone.

But do it responsibly :-).  Make sure your finances are in order.



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