Drucker on Quitting

By | February 16, 2010

In my regular calls with my dad, he mentioned that it seems Baby Boomers, when unhappy with their jobs, tend to do little but whine about it, whereas Gen-Xers tend to quit. I thought that observation meshed well with this insight from Peter Drucker (“The Essential Drucker“, p. 314):

But increasingly also, knowledge workers, and especially people of advanced knowledge, see the organization as the tool for the accomplishment of their own purposes and, therefore, resent … any attempt to subject them to the organization as a community, that is, to the control of the organization; to the demand of the organization that they commit themselves to lifetime membership and to the demand that they subordinate their own aspirations to the goals and values of the organization. This is inevitable because the possessor of knowledge … owns his or her “tools of production” and has the freedom to move wherever opportunities for effectiveness, for accomplishment, and for advancement seem greatest.

Managers in IT organizations might do well to remember this.

4 thoughts on “Drucker on Quitting

  1. Jordan Walker

    I am in this situation where I gave a company my word that I would be there for two years, regards of my thoughts of the job. Your father would agree that giving your word to someone far out weights a promise. I hope that GenX gets that idea conveyed to us from our fathers.

  2. pmjones Post author

    Jordan: Did they give their word they would keep you employed for two years, regardless of their thoughts about your work? If not, then I think they got the better end of the deal.

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  4. Bill Bennett

    That’s not entirely true, I’ve pretty much lived my working life by what you would call the Gen-X code rather than the boomer code, even though I am now 50.

    It’s not just about being self-centred or arrogant, it’s mentally healthier to walk when a job isn’t the right fit or when an employer is exploitative. Indeed, if more people had the courage to do the same thing, employers would quickly learn to treasure their human resources.


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