Pulling the Pin

via Pressfield:

What is a tramp anyway? Dave explained: “A tramp is an itinerant worker. A hobo is an itinerant non-worker. A bum is a non-itinerant non-worker.

The term “pulling the pin” comes from the old days of riding the rails. To uncouple one car from another, the train crew pulled a heavy steel pin out of the coupling mechanism.

In migrant lingo, pulling the pin meant quitting.

I’ve been labeled a habitual and serial quitter. I called myself this for a long time because I didn’t know what else to call it. I ate it, slept it, and abhorred it.

It wasn’t a badge of honor, it was shameful. Heck, there are even a few “best selling” books that are all about “quitting” which I think is fundamentally stupid. There’s no badge of honor with that word or idea no matter how much spin or marketing you do to co-opt it.

Quitting is quitting.

The problem was that I wasn’t quitting but rather I had actually finished my work and I and my managers (or the business) didn’t know what to do with me. It wasn’t their fault entirely and neither was it mine. No one was really sure what to do.

So I would linger, most of the time for longer than I should have, and somehow I’d find a way to either get fired (which I did a handful of times) or find a new project to work on.

And so I was called a quitter. But I’m not. I’m no fucking quitter. I don’t pull pins. Even my big project failures there were always a handful of people who’d say that I had just “given up” or “quit” for so-and-so reason. They didn’t have a clue.

Quitting is ultimately up to you. The world will call it whatever they want but you ultimately hold the keys on what it was really about. Perhaps one day you’ll woman up to the reality that you are a quitter and you need to stop. Or, you’ll forgive yourself and realize that you were doing anything but quitting.