Human, Marketer, Musician

“Flipping the Bit”

A few more chorus members have left the chorus I sing in, casualties of trust from the transition. They’ve decided that for them, singing for that conductor in that chorus under these circumstances is just causing them angst. There are enough other musical outlets in the Boston area that they’ll certainly find another chorus to join.

It’s a cause for further grieving, as many of them are friends whom I enjoyed hanging out with during Tanglewood residencies. But at the same time, it might be a reason to congratulate them.

If you’re like me, you’ve been in situations where you look around yourself and say, “What am I doing here?” For me, that’s most often happened in my trailing months at a job. I realized that the work I was doing wasn’t satisfying, or that I was unlikely to advance my career path, or that the people I trusted and built a culture with had drifted away to other parts of the organization.

When that happens, you say to yourself, NOW what? It takes courage to make that assessment. To realize that something you’ve ALWAYS done is no longer giving you joy, and to change it.

Friend and fellow chorister Will Koffel called it “flipping the bit” (as in, moving a two-position switch from OFF to ON).  It’s an expression he picked up at a previous startup company to indicate when someone has irrevocably made the decision to leave. As in, “Foley’s been talking for months about quitting to go to another company, but you can tell he’s ‘flipped the bit’ because he’s stopped pushing for changes.  I think he’s serious this time.” At a certain point, you know you’re done. It’s a bit terrifying, but also liberating. And once you’ve done it, cognitive bias sets in, and no one can convince you it’s worth sticking around. Every smile by your boss is sinister; every good will gesture is viewed cynically; every mistake is further evidence why you should have left a long time ago. But I’ve seen people reach that stage and then quietly suffer, becoming more bitter with each passing day.

You may know the old joke – “Doctor, it hurts when I do that.”  “Don’t do that, then.” Why spend any part of your no-dress-rehearsal life trapped by inertia, doing something you don’t like? There’s joy in taking control of your reality and shaping it the way you want, rather than be a victim to the decisions and work of others. What can you “KonMari” out of your life that doesn’t bring joy?

2 thoughts on ““Flipping the Bit””

  1. Kinda reminds me of Freakonomics “the value of failure” episodes. When you’re done with someone, move on!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s