Just Quit Already! Author Interview

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Just Quit Already is your first book. Do you plan any follow-ups or additional books?

Absolutely! Just Quit Already was the result of a glaring need in the workforce; employees need to know they’re not alone in feeling unhappy or disengaged in their job, and that things can get better. Drawing from my Marine Corps training, I provided employees with a description of the “situation” they may be currently facing. The tactics within the book are meant to provide a stop-gap in their pursuit of a long-term solution. The book exists because employers are failing to identify and meet the needs of their employees in terms of values and company culture. It seeks to provide guidance to the employee to enable them to take control of the situation and their own happiness – a noble feat, but certainly a much longer journey than one book. Just Quit Already is the catalyst of self-awareness in the workplace, and provides a “70,000-foot view” of contemporary personal and professional concepts of self-improvement. Human Resources professionals are the ones who have seen the trends emerging among company cultures. It’s from that platform that I look forward to continuing to share information and experiences with employees and managers alike in pursuit of a more engaging and rewarding employee experience.

What do you think makes a great self-help book?

In writing Just Quit Already, I subscribed to a method of focusing on “three E’s” from chapter to chapter. Engagement, Empathy, and Efficacy. I moved through each concept in a way that led the reader into an engaging allusion to a situation they could resonate with. There is no universal similarity between workplace experience, but there are certainly some common elements the reader could tap into. I shared with them that even as a Human Resources professional, I had been there too. No amount of training or academic studying can make up for the fact that sometimes things are just plain bad. Regardless of the situation, there’s always a clear pathway to results. A strong company culture and a rewarding employee experience isn’t the result of strong policy, but effective processes! From the process of discovering personal values to the process of developing emotionally intelligent behaviors, there is a brighter way ahead!

What inspired you when writing Just Quit Already?

I’ve read book after book, attended seminar after seminar, and accumulated countless hours behind a computer screen reading articles and watching webinars learning what makes an engaging employee experience. Only after working for a company that was dysfunctional to a level nearing self-destruction did I realize the only key to sanitizing cultural toxicity will come through a revolution of empowered and aware employees. Employees who know what they want in a workplace and refuse to settle for less can change a company culture one employee at a time, but they must have the tools to do so. My inspiration was the idea that as an HR professional, there can come a time where turnover costs and recruiting fees become a rarity, because when people are hired, they want to stay. But, if the employee is waiting for management to get it right, they’re backing up. The revolution of employee engagement starts with the empowered employee and works its way up.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I hope to create pieces that will provide an insight to the employee who feels they’re the only ones struggling with happiness in a career. Whether that comes in the form of a series of books, articles, or a blog post every once in a while, it’s time for the emergence of the “human” aspect of human resources. I haven’t set out to write a specified number of books or hit any quantifiable goal, but I hope to make a substantial contribution to the movement of the empowered employee. The widespread distribution of Just Quit Already and the open discussion of some of the concepts within it will get the employee engagement culture moving in the right direction.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Upon departure from one of my recent jobs, a colleague of mine asked me to put together a few pieces of information describing what went wrong in the organization. Understandably so, as I quit in a pretty dramatic fashion. If you read Just Quit Already, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I started to put that document together and quickly hit 500 words, then 1,000, then 10,000. It was around the 10,000-word point that I started to develop an awareness of similarity between the circumstances regarding my departures from other organizations. If these concepts were consistently affecting me, maybe there was a bit more to it. I didn’t begin Just Quit Already with a conscious decision to try and become a published author. I merely began with the intention to capture some elements of a toxic culture to create awareness for the organization and its employees. I attribute a great deal of my leadership training to the Texas FFA. One quote that I heard within that organization is “the essence of leadership is to plant a tree under whose shade you will never sit.” If Just Quit Already empowers one employee to better their situation, then I will have been successful in my responsibility of HR leadership – it just so happens to be as an author.

When writing Just Quit Already, did anything stand out as particularly challenging?
The challenge in Just Quit Already was depicting the elements of a toxic culture in a way that was more than just a depressing reminder of what employees were already facing. It was easy to venture into greater degrees of negativity in describing common workplace problems. But, as the employee experiences negativity every day, the book needed to remain optimistic. There’s not a great amount of positivity in making a living by continuously going to work in a job you hate, but the upside comes from arriving at the decision to escape it and pursuing something happier. Just Quit Already breaks down the toxic elements of a workplace and equips employees with tools to rise above them.

How did you come up with the concepts and ideas in Just Quit Already?

Quite simply, I lived through them. From one side of the Human Resources desk submitting my resignation or receiving an employee’s resignation on the other side, I’ve seen the results of toxicity in an employee’s career. I’ve had the privilege of working in an empowering, engaging, and emotionally intelligent culture and know firsthand the results that can be achieved personally and professionally! Conversely, I’ve worked in some pretty deteriorated cultures as well. Poor communication, nepotism, pay scale distortion, dysfunctional relationships, immature leadership – I’ve seen it all. Bringing the elements of the engaging culture and the toxic culture together in one comprehensive resource for the employee seeking guidance is what Just Quit Already is all about.

What do you like to do when not writing?
Advocacy without action is only a partial effort. Along with my longtime business partners in leadership development consulting, I like to find opportunities to assist employees and companies develop innovative solutions to building an engaging company culture. It’s not an impossible feat. The first step is to refuse to continue settling down into mediocrity and commit to stepping up towards success!