Earlier this year I secured a summer internship at a marketing and growth consultancy in Memphis, TN. I was super psyched to expand my research skills and challenge myself by engaging in a new field. As a matter of fact, anticipating the internship was a big portion of my motivation during this spring’s statistics class. However, four weeks into the ten week internship I knew that it was not a good fit. I was torn. Should I stay for the remaining six weeks and fulfill my commitment to the company? Or should I resign and use the time to work more intently on my Second Year Paper (aka Master’s Thesis)? This was a very difficult decision not only because I had made a commitment to the internship but also because the President of the company is married to a friend of mine. In fact, it was my friend who told me about the company and the internship. So quitting would potentially impact not just business but friendship.
Normally, I am all for finishing what you started, but I am also learning that there’s nothing wrong with quitting for the right reasons. Learning to say no is just as important as persisting through a yes.
What are the ‘right’ reasons to quit? This article from 99u points out some situations where quitting may be the best option. For me, the daily feeling that I was not where I should be let me know that I needed to reevaluate what I was doing. When I dug deeper for the source of my discontent I realized it was because my efforts weren’t yielding any returns. In the end, I made the hard decision to end my internship early and claim the rest of my summer break for working on various school projects.
I am now coming to what would have been the end of my ten week internship, and I am quite satisfied with how I utilized my time. The eight hours a day that I would have been giving to someone else I used to finish cleaning up and coding my song analysis data, revise the front end of the paper, and read a fabulous book by Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, among other tasks. While I would not have imagined I would quit what I was so excited to start, I am happy to have followed my intuition and made productive use of my time.