A lot of the questions on Workplace are getting an answer along the lines of 'You should quit'. There are some cases where i can see this as a viable answer but the majority of the time I think it shouldn't be used.

The main reason why i disagree with it being an answer is that people come to WP with a problem, yet a lot of the time they are told 'Quit' the issue is this isn't actually providing a solution to the problem, its providing a way to avoid the problem.

For example this question here is asking how to make the managers hold employees accountable for their actions. Yet the number one upvoted answer basically states 'You can't, get a new job or deal with it' and I find these to be unhelpful answers.

Firstly its obvious that you can always quit if you don't like something, secondly its avoiding the problem not solving it, that problem still exists. and thirdly is because it discourages other, potentially better, answers when its so easy to say 'quit' and get away with it

Should we be allowing 'Quit' to be an acceptable answer all the time?

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I usually try to put "if you can't change things, I'd quit" in a comment instead of an answer, though at least once that's turned into a large comment discussion. –  Adam V Feb 13 '13 at 17:12
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See also Should I Quit? –  Rarity Feb 13 '13 at 20:06
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I disagree with the assumption that "quit" isn't ever a solution to a problem. Tilting at windmills might work sometimes, but other times quitting is far more practical. Also, see: freakonomics.com/2011/09/30/… –  Joe Strazzere Aug 9 '13 at 20:05
    
@JoeStrazzere i agree sometimes it is the only solution, but when there is a plethora of possibble other things to try first it annoys me when its the only suggested solution –  RWY Aug 9 '13 at 21:24

5 Answers 5

up vote 20 down vote accepted

It's way too easy to post "quit your job" as an answer, and almost every post on our site could be answered in this manner.

However, our FAQ and How to Answer both make it clear that proposing viable alternatives in an answer is acceptable, and in some cases, quitting may be a correct answer.

But quitting a job is a very big decision and is irreversible, in most cases. Due to the nature and severity of these suggestions, I propose that these answers be held to a much higher standard as follows:

  • The answerer MUST post references to back up the answer.
  • Alternatively, sharing personal experiences MAY be sufficient, but the answer can't just simply contain the words, "in my experience". The answerer MUST post details about his or her experiences that led to quitting being the correct answer.
  • One liner answers suggesting one quit are not allowed. Our FAQ already makes it clear that explanations containing why and how are encouraged. For "you should quit" answers that don't provide explanation and references, I propose downvoting them, leaving a comment helping the answerer improve it, and if it doesn't get fixed, flagging them for removal.

To clarify, I believe we can enforce the rules on these types of answers, in a polite, helpful manner, while still allowing answers that offer alternative solutions.

For the record, I don't agree that revision 1 of this answer meets the above criteria, and I was considering removing it before the answerer came back and added another paragraph.

UPDATE: The answerer made some edits to add some additional information about his experiences, which brings the linked post more in line with our goals. I edited the previous paragraph to include a link to revision 1, so when looking at the current revision, please keep in mind that the poster is trying to be a good user! :)

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I find those terms above an agreeable reasoning. Provided they evidence why. i still fear we will get alot of 'just quit' answers, hopefully the community downvotes will soon make people learn though! –  RWY Feb 14 '13 at 19:48
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@RhysW - Remember, there's always flags for those answers that seriously don't meet the guidelines and where comments and/or downvotes are ineffective. –  jmort253 Feb 15 '13 at 1:41

I don't think we should be making this into a rule, as many times the suggestion to quit is a valid answer, or a viable alternative solution to the problem.

However if an answer is solely that "You should quit your job", and telling someone to quit over that situation is bad advice, you should definitely downvote and comment why you downvoted (so others see why it was downvoted, and don't mindlessly upvote it).

It should be noted that the answer you point out as an example in your question doesn't just say Get a new job or deal with it. It says that in their experience, ownership doesn't care, and trying to make them care could go badly for you and hurt your career, and ends with the suggestion to either find a new job or deal with it.

This is not really a bad answer, as it actually answers the question and suggests two courses of actions to take. Sure it's not a great answer either, and it could be improved by explaining in more detail why their experiences lead to them believing management doesn't care, and why exactly it could hurt your career to keep trying to make them care, but the whole answer isn't just "find a new job", and I wouldn't consider it "bad".

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Perhaps picked a bad example of an answer, that was just the one i noticed first. Agreed it shouldnt be a rule, wanted to get a community consensus though on how we should be dealing with them and whether they qualify as answers. Thanks for the input! –  RWY Feb 13 '13 at 14:36
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Great answer! I agree completely, some situations are so helplessly bad that quitting is the only way to make anything better. Any answer that doesn't explain WHY that is the best course of action though should be deleted IMHO. –  maple_shaft Feb 13 '13 at 15:16

This answer is such a good example of this problem.

The OP has a situation which, in both the original and edited question, is basically asking

  • How can I make my situation bearable until I find a different position?

and the top voted answer is, "just quit!"

This answer is popular and advice the asker already knew, but completely misses the point of the question. Yet has received some 30 upvotes and only a handful of downvotes.

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As the author of that answer, I believe it very explicitly addresses the most important points of the question that make "just quit" the correct answer: the environment is toxic (there is not just one abusive manager), and the asker merely hopes for a different position in the same company. –  Michael Borgwardt Aug 7 '13 at 17:42
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@MichaelBorgwardt that's not what the person is asking. They aren't asking, "should I quit." Sometimes people have situations where quitting isn't an option for a variety of reasons, etc. –  enderland Aug 7 '13 at 17:48

Quiting may not solve a specific instance of a problem, but that isn't the only purpose of this site. One of the criteria for a good question is if it can be applied to similar situations.

If it is discovered that a particular practice drives away enough quality employees, a change for the better is likely to occur.

EDIT: Also, many people on this site may be working at their first job and have nothing to compare. When a company/boss behaves in a way that isn't common, looking for another job seems reasonable as a solution along with some strategies to change or possibly cope with the situation. This avoids "grass is always greener somewhere else" thinking.

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People are coming here looking for help in navigating the workplace. Telling them that they should quit should NEVER be the right answer.

That said there are people coming here asking if they should quit. Those questions are not about navigating the workplace but rather getting out of the workplace. Those questions do not belong here.

The on-topic constructive questions should be assumed to include the caveat of "Quitting my job is not an option I want to consider."

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Sometimes quitting is the right answer, even when people do not want to hear it. Perhaps it is more obvious in other contexts: If a girl would tell you that her boyfriend beats her, and ask how can she make him more happy because she does not want to leave him, what would you recommend? I would recommend leaving him. Even when she does not want to hear it. Perhaps if enough people say this, she will start considering it as an option. Analogically, sometimes the conditions in the workplace are obviously abusive, but the employee believes that it's his/her fault. The correct answer is: Quit. –  Viliam Búr Feb 18 '13 at 15:41
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@ViliamBúr - Maybe but people do not come here to be told to quit... or at least they should not be. They are looking for answers on how they can deal with an issue constructively with out having to get a new job. This is not dear abby this is how can I navigate my work more effectively. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Feb 18 '13 at 19:08
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I disagree. If you were to argue that "you should quit" is tossed around more frequently and glibly than it should be, you might well be correct. But to say that "you should quit" is never an answer ignores whole realms of unethical, pathological and illegal behaviour that I've seen people complain about from their employers. In plenty of these cases "get out - now!" really is the right advice. –  Carson63000 Feb 19 '13 at 11:19

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