When Should You Cut Your Losses?


Hi everybody, I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here is this week’s question. “I loved this week’s Mondays with Mike, especially that you’re ending your Mondays with Mike with ‘Be courageous’.” Oh, good. I’m glad you like it. Thank you.

“Here is my question, do you stay at a job or in a career where you feel like you’re not doing a good or good enough job? At what point should you cut your losses and move in a different direction or with a different company?”

I have several questions about this, but since you’re not here to answer them, I’ll answer them. Here is what you said which I think is very interesting. “Do you stay at a job or a career where you feel you’re not doing a good job or good enough job?’ My question to you is to evaluate where that’s coming from. Where is the feeling that you’re not doing a good job coming from? Did your boss tell you that or is this just some subjective sense of not feeling comfortable? You might not be getting the love, attention and respect you want, but you might be doing a great job. Your boss or your colleagues or your direct reports might not be saying, “You’re doing amazing work. We love you.” That doesn’t mean you’re not a good job. The first question is I want you to shift away from the notion of emotion, [chuckle] I rhymed, the notion of emotion. It’s like a MoTown song. The notion of emotion. [sings] I can’t get no notion with my–

Sorry. I digress. The first thing you got to think about is that emotions don’t equal facts. It might be a fact that you have an emotion, but it does not mean that your emotions are a reflection of facts. In fact, that’s called emotional reasoning. Emotional reasoning is when I reason or I think from a perspective of my emotional state, rather than what the truth is. The first thing I would suggest you do is go and get the facts from your direct reports, your colleagues and your boss. The second thing I would do, is I would start evaluating it based on the performance criteria that have been laid out in front of you.

If you have clear goals and clear expectations, if you’re meeting those goals and expectations, you’re probably doing a good job. Someone once said, “Wherever you go there you are.” I would not my job until I had absolute clarity about what my performance actually is because if this is a feeling based evaluation. You’re going to find yourself in the same spot in the next job you go to and even if you start your own company, you’re going to have the same thing.

I have many times I walked off a stage and said, “Holy cow, I laid an egg. That was terrible.” Then the evals come back or they call me and hire me again because it didn’t feel good, because I was in a bad space, so be careful about your feelings. You can have them, but always make decisions based on the facts, not on the emotions. I hope that was helpful.

Be courageous.


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