How to Know When It's Time to Give Up

Joe Weinlick
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Managers and entrepreneurs face many important decisions during their careers. Deciding when to give up on a project, business, or other important goal isn't always easy, but it can save you time, money, and frustration in the future. There are at least three signs that can help you pinpoint when to give up. Cutting your losses and moving on can help you refocus your efforts on other opportunities and improve your chances of success in the future by eliminating unnecessary drains on your resources.

Savvy managers and business leaders often find themselves analyzing current market forces. While minor adjustments can help keep many companies on course, major shifts in the marketplace can completely unravel the core concepts that define a business. Companies that experience such shifts may not be able to adapt their business models to fit the new reality. This includes organizations that produce goods for a market that may no longer exist, such as storage media for a product that has announced a move to entirely online storage, as well as companies that deliver services that consumers may no longer find beneficial. Careful examination of your core business practices and revenue streams can help you know when to give up due to market forces.

Personal problems at work, including competing motivations, may be a sign of when to give up. If you find yourself regularly torn between assignments or loyalties and experiencing far more frustration than reward due to problems at work, you may benefit from refocusing your energies elsewhere. These problems may arise from within the organization or from your personal life outside of work, but they are not always easily surmountable. Excessive stress can be exceptionally hazardous to your health. If you have more lucrative offers that give you a reasonable expectation of less stress, it may be worth overcoming any fear of change and moving on to the next big thing in your career. This applies to specific projects as well as company roles.

Another major sign of when to give up is when your company fails to remain profitable. The Internal Revenue Service strikes a major distinction between businesses and hobbies, and failure to generate profit for three out of five years places the onus on you as the business owner or managing representative to demonstrate that your company is a for-profit operation. If the outlook for profitability remains uncertain, it may be very hard to convince the IRS that you are in it for the money. This means losing many tax benefits that businesses enjoy and possibly paying far more in taxes due to reclassification as a hobby.

Looking for these signs of when to give up, whether they are driven by market factors, personal motivations, or governmental intervention, can help you make the right choice when the time comes. Moving on can help you advance your career and avoid potentially hazardous or costly dead-end work environments.



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