Take This Job and Shove It

Rick Wartzman
Rick Wartzman

In his latest column for Forbes online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman springs off Vikram Pandit’s decision last week to step down as CEO of Citigroup.

“Some reports have gone so far as to suggest that Pandit was pushed out,” Wartzman writes, “though he himself has stressed that it was his call—‘something that I had been thinking about for a while.’ All of which raises an interesting question: When is it smart to quit your job?”

Wartzman says that Peter Drucker advised people to give notice for any number of reasons, “including when an organization’s values are different from your own. If you don’t, Drucker wrote, you’re bound to condemn yourself ‘both to frustration and to nonperformance.’”

But “the most common reason one should quit,” Drucker wrote in People and Performance, is when there’s no chance for promotion because of a bottleneck of middle-aged managers or an excess of older ones, or because the only way to get ahead is to be a member of an exclusive group (those who share a particular alma mater, say, or are all relatives in a family-owned business) to which you don’t belong.

Although one should never take a job solely to climb the career ladder, “the absence of promotional opportunity is demoralizing,” Drucker asserted. “And the sooner one gets out of a demoralizing situation, the better.”