“I Quit!—When is it time to get “your hat?”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer quit his job the other day.  “Resign” is a nicer term for what Spicer did.  Is there a “teachable moment” for all us in Spicer’s resignation?  One high level person said that Spicer’s resignation came about 6 months too late because he should have resigned on day one when Trump forced him to stand before the White House Press Corp and utter an outright lie about the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd.  And what followed for months was Spicer “selling his soul” to please Trump.  Lie after lie, day in and day out, Spicer stretched credulity to remain loyal to Trump’s ego.  The problem is not why Spicer finally quit, but why he stayed so long?

I grew up reciting this poem by Edgar A Guest entitled “Don’t Quit.”  

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

This poem was supposed to inspire “stick-to-it-ness” and perseverance in the face of difficulties.  But if you are running a 26.2 mile marathon in 90 degree heat and you develop severe leg cramps, dizziness, and heart palpitation, should you ignore life threatening symptoms of severe dehydration and keep running—or should you quit? The general explanation for taking any type of general advice has always been, “when you eat fish, common sense says don’t eat the bones.”  What this means is that any general advice should be examined so see if it is pertinent to your specific situation.  Sticking out an abusive marriage might not be the best course of action in spite of “till death do us part” because you might end up literally dead.  So when it is time to “hat up” as the kids say?

Apparently Spicer reached his “breaking point” after Trump named his new Director of Communications—someone who seems to be little more than a grandstander and show boater.  But Spicer had been working for the biggest grand stander and show boater ever to occupy the Oval Office—so why quit?  Before retirement, most people quit jobs to move on to something better—better pay and better working conditions.  Statistics show that American workers rarely work at one job until retirement anymore.  Workers now change jobs about every seven years.  So, saying “I Quit” or “take this job and shove it” is not uncommon. But even this data is misleading because many workers today are temps, or contract workers and not permanent. So changing jobs becomes part of the workforce environment.

But when should a person say “I Quit” for moral or ethical reasons?  Should an employee remain in a job knowing that their employer is, let’s say defrauding the public or doing something illegal?  Should you turn a blind eye to workplace dishonesty? Or, should your attitude be “that’s them” and not me?  If you know of such behavior are you guilty by association?  When should your own personal code of conduct demand that you not be a part of an organization that promotes or engages in behavior that is offensive to your own moral code?  What about people who agree to a code of silence and not become snitches when they know who is committing crimes in their neighborhood? Should these people say, “I Quit” being a part of this community destruction and speak up?  Should the personal cost of telling be the first concern?  When is it better to just be quiet and not speak up?  Saying “I Quit” might come easier for some people than others because of a range of factors.  Saying “I refuse to be a part of this anymore,” is the best way to rephrase “I Quit.”  By making your own self preservation and self betterment,  your own moral code or personal ethics, your own dignity and self worth, the reason why you are choosing to “move on” will make saying “I Quit” come a lot easier.  I think this is the decision Spicer finally realized he had to make.

Copyright 2017 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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