Quitting versus Giving Up

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Blogging: giving up versus quitting by Wardrobe OxygenGrowing up, I was the queen of giving up. Teachers would get so frustrated with me because I would get great grades… when I turned in my assignments. When I attended class. I was so afraid I’d do a bad job I wouldn’t do any job at all. I quit many jobs when the going got tough (I only lasted a week as a waitress and never even quit, I just gave up on showing up), same with friendships.

Sophomore year of college I started working at a shop near campus that sold fraternity and sorority merchandise. I was looking for beer money, I ended up with a new outlook on life. The shop owner, Ron, didn’t ever let me give up. He called me out on bad behavior, literally called me up when I’d call out “sick” from work. He kept giving me more responsibility and I thrived, becoming a manager and even chatting with him about buying him out when he was ready to retire. Through my time working for Ron I learned a lot of life lessons and became a stronger and better person. Ron passed away my senior year from melanoma and it broke my heart, but I didn’t give up and continued to manage his shop until I realized under new ownership it was no longer a healthy or enjoyable environment. I stayed past my welcome, thinking leaving was giving up. But with Ron’s passing I learned another valuable life lesson – quitting and giving up are different things.

Quitting is active, giving up is passive. When you quit something, you make a decision, you initiate change. They say quitters never win, but I disagree. Those who give up never win, but those who decide to quit what is unhealthy or unproductive are winners.

I quit my job at the fraternity shop, and took a job at a clothing boutique where I started my education in apparel, merchandising, styling, and sales. Quitting that job helped me grow, find my passion, and get to where I am now. If I didn’t quit and make a change, I would have never started Wardrobe Oxygen.

And now it’s 20 years later and Wardrobe Oxygen is one of my proudest achievements. Over a decade of my life is in the pages of this blog. I went from being someone who was so scared of rejection that she wouldn’t turn in term papers or pursue close friendships to someone who literally shares warts and all to thousands of strangers on a daily basis. Wardrobe Oxygen continued where Ron left off, making me brave, making me proud of my talents, and helping me find my voice and my community. I never gave up, not when I had a baby and my whole life turned upside down, not when loved ones died, not when my dominant arm broke… twice, not when I got torn apart on message boards. Just writing this paragraph put a lump in my throat but a grin on my face. I made this, and I never gave up.

But lately, life has been hard, and not the fun kind of hard. The kind of hard that brought back migraines and panic attacks and insomnia. The kind of hard where I have to forego sleep and time with my family to keep all the balls up in the air. I went to the doctor and guess what he told me guess what he told me. He actually told me something very similar to what Sinead O’Connor sang – not that I needed to have fun no matter what I did, but that I needed to quit my job. That I was being a martyr doing the day job and the blog. Why was I doing both, why not pinch a few pennies and go full time with Wardrobe Oxygen?

Because I write about work fashion and I won’t know work fashion so intimately.

Because bloggers end up sucking when they quit their day jobs.

Because I need insurance for my family, and with the current political climate I worry about healthcare.

Because I need job security, what will happen if the blogging bubble bursts?

Because my arm broke twice and I needed disability. What if that happens again?

Because I’m 42 years old and am a responsible adult. And responsible adults have jobs.

Because I have a really great job many would kill to have.

Because I’m being a little bitch and if I better managed my time I wouldn’t be so stressed.

Because I don’t give up.

And my doctor said, “You’re not giving up, you’re quitting.”

He’s right.

Last month I gave my notice at my day job and today is my last day. This month celebrates my 10th anniversary with this company. For most of that time I worked for a guy who in some ways reminded me of Ron, and for the last few months for a woman who constantly forced me outside my comfort zone to help me grow. I will forever be grateful to all they have taught me.

This isn’t giving up, this is Life giving me a chance to do something creative and scary and exciting.

And I hope you will join me on this adventure.

Sure, Wardrobe Oxygen provides work fashion advice, but I believe it’s more than that. With this blog I hope to show that we are all gorgeous, and deserve to feel that way. That we can have style and fun with fashion no matter our age, size, budget, or lifestyle. That fashion isn’t frivolous or superficial, it’s a form of self-care, a suit of armor. That we need to don that oxygen mask and care for ourselves so that we can properly care for others. I’m donning my oxygen mask and I am not giving up.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. YOU ROCK! I love this post. I am new to your blog, I found it a couple of days ago while searching online for size 14P clothing. i admire your courage and wish you the best of luck in your new adventure. I will keep reading for fashion advice and wisdom

  2. Oh wow ! I am SO very late to this. Firstly congratulations for doing what I have never had the courage to do ! I love your blog and have been following or rather lurking for years. I can so relate to your decision. It is not one that I made during my working years but this past April, after working for the Federal government for over 30 years, I decided to retire at the age of 60. It was SCARY going from a pretty good salary to a fixed income but I can tell you that I don’t regret a minute of it.
    I wish I had had the courage to leave earlier, but the concerns that you mentioned (need for permanent work, fear of the unknown, need for insurance) kept me at this job until I said NO MORE.
    Good luck Allie, I am very happy for you and wish you every success. I love your blog for its honesty and I hope to enjoy it for many years to come.

  3. 178 Comments later, my life just paused (or should I say I paused it) and caught up with what you have been talking about. I am a new blogger but an old blog reader. Your’s has been on I have read for at least she you had little Emerson. Now that I blog, I admire you even more. If you are like I am, no doubt you see all kinds of new avenues everyday and perhaps now you can explore a few more of them. On the health care front. We’ve both been self employed for 35 years and this period in time is the most difficult to maneuver we’ve encountered. I can understand your concerns, do not minimize them, but encourage you to be confident that you will figure this out. You, go this girl!-Laurel

  4. Wow! You are one brave woman! I know I can’t quit my job, though my health says I really want to any day now. But, in order to have health insurance in retirement, I have to keep at it for a few more years. It’s a vicious circle. By the way, did you mention how you’ll keep health insurance? At any rate, I’m wishing you all the best in continued success. And, count on me and your other devoted followers to be there in support.

  5. Alison … read your blog. Congratulations … you deserve the very best. I always wondered how you could keep all of the balls in the air. At times, I felt I wasn’t doing enough. You are a great inspiration to many of us and now you will get to do want your heart desires in a more balanced way. Life is about choices and priorities … hooray to you.

  6. I am reading this two days after you posted it, and I see there are already 172 comments, too many to fully read in my own state of overhelm! You probably don’t need to read another comment but damn, I can’t help jumping in too. I started crying about half way through reading this post, because it spoke to me so clearly about where I also am in my life right now, although the circumstances are quite different (starting with being 18 years older.)

    Thanks for sharing all that you do, Allie. Thanks for being such an excellent role model! May the road ahead be full of delight and success for you, and the continued strength to meet whatever challenges life inevitably brings!

  7. Congratulations, my friend. Yes, even though we’ve never met in person, I consider you a friend. I found you eons ago thru “Get Rich Slowly” and visit here every. single. day. I’m so excited for you and only wish I was as brave as you. Food is my passion and your story here may just be what I need to “quit”. xoxo

    1. Oooh, if my story could help you follow your passion, that would be the greatest honor. Sometimes just saying or typing it out loud can help things galvanize. And thank you for following for so long, it means a lot. I’m so glad to have you here!

  8. Congratulations! Massive leaps are always scary, but always worth it. I moved to NYC at 25 only knowing 1 person with no job. Six years and great friends later, I moved back to my home state – with no job & left me friends. It’s ten years later, I’m happy. I’m a wife, mother & getting paid to write. Everything works out. It’s an exciting time, I congratulate you! I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and I love it! In the last 8 years since giving birth I’ve gained 40 pounds plus married to a *frugal* and wonderful man – so I haven’t been very good at practicing taking pride in my appearance. My son has noticed and asked me on several occasions to “look nice” and not “couch potato-y” – it was a wake up call. I found your blog and now I am inspired to not wait until 40 pounds go away or we make more money. Thanks for inspiring real women, with real lives. You and your work is appreciated. 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh Tania, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s inspiring, and you are why I blog and why I love this Wardrobe Oxygen community. You deserve to feel amazing RIGHT NOW. I’m glad you found me and I hope I can provide some inspiration and ideas. And please let me know – feedback is the only way I can make Wardrobe Oxygen better!

  9. You had me scared you were closing down the blog. And I’ve been gently grieving the loss of another well loved site. Glad you are keeping the blog going!

  10. What a completely different direction for this life phase! Best of luck, I hope you are able to maintain your passion for blogging and creating content and it doesn’t become tedious. Having the weight of the FT job off your back should help your creativity soar.

    1. Thank you Delora! And thank you for your support and feedback all these years. It means a lot to see you still read Wardrobe Oxygen, you’ve seen all the changes and I respect you so, well it makes me smile each time I see a comment from you. It makes me feel like I’m still doing okay, and I often think of you with this blog. Will Delora think I’m selling out? LOL, but yeah, thank you. Thank you.

  11. I am so thrilled for you! Thank you for what you said, making a distinction between giving up and quitting. My husband and I tried to conceive for 8 years, had a failed adoption, and finally, when I was struggling with a chronic illness and still trying to adopt, even though due to my health I wouldn’t be able to parent actively, realized it was ok to quit. I found peace for the first time in 10 years. Best wishes for you, I’m so glad you’re here.

    1. Oh wow, I can’t imagine but yes, that is NOT giving up and I am so glad to hear you have found peace. I just tried to write all sorts of sentences after this and it all sounded so trite. You’re a badass, and I am honored that you read my blog. I’m so glad you’re here too <3

  12. I confess, when I saw the direction your post was going I panic-skimmed down to the part where you announced that it was your day job you were quitting! I’m sure I’ll read the rest once I’ve recovered. Congratulations! Once it sinks in over the next month I bet you’re going to be so relieved. Congrats again and thanks for staying with us!

    1. LOL sorry to freak you out Pam! Nope, Wardrobe Oxygen isn’t going anywhere, and a big reason is the community and people like you. Faces and names I am so excited to see in my inbox and in the comments, I feel I know after all this time. I couldn’t leave you! <3

  13. Wow! I thought you were going to say that you were quitting the blog! Wardrobe Oxygen is my #1 favorite blog, not just because of the super-useful content but because of you Allie – your honesty, wisdom and grace is so rare and so much appreciated! Looking forward to seeing what comes next!

  14. I will also congratulate you, but on your COURAGE to make such a life altering decision. When reading your arguments for the status quo, I acknowledged my own need for (financial + health insurance) security, and I would have stayed the course. We nurturers are supposed to care for others, our own needs be damned, right? I can’t wait to see how you and your blog evolve. I wish you emotional serenity and continued blogging success!

    1. Right? We sacrifice our entire selves for others, but if we listened to those we’re serving they’d rather have us than the financial things we provide. I know I’ll be a better provider if I am healthy and happy. I think how Oxygen in the blog’s name, and I never connected it to the oxygen mask theory until now. Caring for ourselves, whether it’s pursing a passion or a new sweater is donning the oxygen mask to be better people and better caregivers for others. Thank you Jo for all your support all this time, it means a lot. <3

  15. Dear Allie, I silently follow you from Switzerland since a long time now! I understand your fears. Your blog is way more than ’just about fashion’, at least for me! I am also 42, in your pages I see myself, and you help me, you are my virtual buddy from across the ocean. I am sure l am not the only one. And I am sure you will be doing just fine. It will work for you. You go girl, you are strong and you are damn good at what you do! Take care.

    1. Wow thank you so much Venera! You made me tear up, it’s so cool how the blogosphere makes this world so much smaller and see how across the ocean we actually can be quite similar. I appreciate your support, it means so much!

  16. I am so very excited for you and this new adventure. I have followed you consistently for several years and I love your blog. Have fun with this – I hope it becomes all you want and more. Congrats on making the big decision!

  17. Good on you! What a brave decision to make for your and your family, it will be amazing! At 30 I feel stuck in a rut myself and this blog post has made me feel confident that choosing to do a course next year and hopefully lead to a career change is the best choice I could make right now. Good luck Alison

  18. Congratulations! I’ve been reading your blog for YEARS, and have never commented until now. But I had to today to tell you how brave I think you are, and how much I admire that. And the thing is, Wardrobe Oxygen isn’t just a fashion blog. You talk about work and family and politics, things that matter to women. You give us all a little more confidence in ourselves and our ability to tackle everything the world throws at us. And I’m so excited to see how this space evolves.

    1. Oh my gosh Jenne your comment made me tear up. Thank you so much, that is my goal and I’m glad it resonates. My goal is to just to continue, but make it better, more consistent, and more of a community. Thank you!

  19. I can so relate to this. I have been dealing with a very difficult work situation that has caused me to question whether I should move on from my law firm partnership. I have decided that’s not going to happen. But I did think of it in terms of giving up vs. quitting.

    Best of luck, Allie! Let me know how I can support you!

    1. Thank you so much, and I wish you much luck and strength through your situation too! <3

      A few have asked how to help. The best way is be engaged. Follow on all social media channels. Leave comments, like, share. Tell your friends about the blog, be a part of the community. I'm not trying to be the biggest blogger, I just want to be a good one. One that readers are loyal to, and brands see as valuable because I am choosy with my partnerships and put my readers first. <3

  20. Congratulations! I was so worried when I opened this post that you were quitting the blog… so I was surprised and excited when it went the other way! You are somewhat of a role model to me, as a younger woman making her way in the world, and I’m glad that I’ll continue to be able to keep reading your writing!

  21. You are relatable and you have helped me and my friends grow more pulled together and confident. I, too, quit a 30 year career because it no longer served my family and my life.
    Alison, you and I only have one life. And you have a lovely little girl to love and protect.
    I’m with you on this journey, and I support you in your decision.

  22. Congrats on making a huge decision! I look forward to seeing how this blog changes and grows – it has been fun to watch the evolution so far. I have learned and grown so much because of the space you’ve carved out online. Good luck!!!

  23. Like many others, I thought you were going to say that you were quitting the blog. I am SO HAPPY that is not the case.

    The Kenny Rodgers song came to mind. Although it seems to be about card playing, it’s really about life.

    “…You’ve got to know when to hold ’em

    Know when to fold ’em

    Know when to walk away

    Know when to run

    You never count your money

    When you’re sittin’ at the table

    There’ll be time enough for countin’

    When the dealin’s done”

    My ex and I held onto a failing business partly because we both we so afraid of repeating our patterns of giving up. This was one time when we should have quit before we lost (almost) everything. We saw it through to the bitter end. Lost home, land, business, equipment, our relationship, and even our wonderful dog.

    Allie, you did the right thing!


  24. I have often wondered how you manage all that you do! When I saw the title of this post I was panicking that you were ending the blog. I am so glad that you are transitioning to full time blogger. I hope it brings you happiness and balance!

  25. Wow, wow, wow Ali! Good for you! You are and will continue to do great things. And as far as work fashion, I don’t work outside of the house (ok, on occasion I do) and I’ve never felt like your blog has been limited to that. I wear what I want when I want, to wherever I want. I just want to love what I’m wearing, look great and be comfortable. Here’s to your continuing success!

    1. Thank you so much Michelle, and thank you for being such a valuable part of this community. I look forward to your comments and feedback and think of you often when writing my posts. I couldn’t be here if it weren’t for you!

  26. yay yay yay for you Allie! As always you continue to inspire and motivate me every time you post. Thanks for sharing and I for one will be following your leap into full time blogging! All the very best of luck for your new direction in your career 🙂

  27. Once again, congratulations! This is a huge step but, I sense, one that you knew deep down inside it was bound to happen.

    And, my word, you’re a fantastic writer.

  28. Congratulations! This is inspiring and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Thank you for being so emotionally honest. It’s really a service for so many of us, even when we don’t give you the positive feedback you deserve.

  29. amazing post! plenty of great reminders in here. congratulations on this new phase of your life, and wishing you all the best with it!! i’ll continue to follow along!

  30. Hooray!!! I was so worried you were leading up to telling us you were giving up on the blog 🙁
    I am thrilled that this is not the case. Best of luck with everything (although you are not going to need it lady – you are awesome!!)

  31. OMG! I was so scared you were going to say you were ending the blog. Best of luck with this venture, though I agree that many blogs start to suck when bloggers quit their day jobs. But I have faith in you!

  32. Terror – exhilaration – humility – joy! I left a high-paying corporate job 11 years ago and I remember all those feelings as I walked out with no retirement, no next job lined up, and no idea if I would survive unemployment. The only thing I knew for sure was that my health would NOT survive working like that for another 20 years. My life today is not anything I could have imagined then, but it feels absolutely perfect.

    I’m new to your blog, and I look forward to seeing how life opens up for you now. Best wishes!

    1. Yes, all you wrote is how I am feeling and why I am here now. I’m glad to hear your current life is perfect for you, it makes me feel better about this decision! And I’m really glad to have you here and look forward to your comments and discussion. Welcome!

    1. Thank you, and thank you for your support and being an active part of the Wardrobe Oxygen community all this time. I treasure your input, your feedback, and am always happy to see your comments. You’re one of the reasons why WO2 is still here and hopefully still good! 🙂

  33. I applaud your bravery. At 60, neither my husband nor i have ever felt powerful enough to stop doing what pays the bills. We don’t love our jobs, but we feel obligated to mortgage, health insurance, retirement savings, whatever, to change or stop for fear that we wouldn’t have enough money.

    I wish you all the best on this new journey. I will be reading!

  34. Allie, your blog is so very much more tha work fashion. It is your wonderful perspective on Life! I retired 9 years ago, there is no need for me to be concerned with work anything. I’m here for all the delicious ideas you share with us on Life, Family, Music, Travel, and Politics! You rock, you roll, you Win!

  35. Congratulations! I am happy to see this! Your blog is one of the the few I still follow because I think you hit such a great balance of fashion, life, feminism – I’m looking forward to seeing how this new phase pans out!

  36. This is so exciting. I find your blog so refreshingly honest and you have such an amazing following! I look forward to following along Wardrobe Oxygen as you transition to a full time blogger!! The amount of people who were worried that you were quitting the blog (myself included) is a testament to what you have built.

  37. I’ve followed your blog for years — you’re one of my favorite bloggers, and I’m so excited for you as you embark on this new chapter! Congratulations!

  38. Congratulations! God has taken care of you thus far and he will continue to do so
    Health, whether physically or mentally are impotant! Good luck in your new adventure. Thank. God you are not going to quit blogging!

  39. Congratulations & best of luck!! Your blog remains my favorite and I’m always excited to see a new post in my in-box. I wish you & your family the best as you start this new chapter & I think you’re going to be even more successful than you already are!! (& can I just add that when I saw your post heading, I felt sad b/c I thought you were telling us goodbye. So glad that’s not the case!!)

  40. Wow! I was holding my breath, thinking you were going to go the other way. Way to take a leap of faith!

  41. I am so glad this post didn’t turn out to be about your quitting the blog! You will look back and pat yourself on the back for this decision, mark my words. Congratulations!

  42. Allie, I’m thrilled for you. As someone who quit a full-time job with benefits to go freelance last year, I know how it feels to take the leap, and I’m so pleased you’re going to do it. I’ve been a fan for many years and I’m excited to see what you do next. Thanks for your honesty, your heart, and your sense of playfulness. Here’s to being bold!

  43. That’s SO EXCITING! I was sure you were going to say you had to stop blogging and I’d have been so sad. This is your passion, and you are great at it. All the luck!

  44. Add me to the list of readers so afraid you were about to say you were leaving the blog behind, and now so overjoyed that it’s the opposite! I believe this blog is so much more than work fashion–you have inspired me as a woman inching towards 40 and what that decade might bring, and finding you such a wonderful example of living a vibrant and honest life. The prospect of seeing what you can do with this space in the future fills me with such joy and excitement. Congratulations, and thank you!!!

  45. Oh, Alison. I just breathed a sigh of relief when I realized you were not ending your blog. It is part of my morning ritual. You always inspire me. And now, I am deeply moved by your bravery. Thank you for paving for the way for all of us 40-something women that need to look at our life in a brand new way. If I didn’t live in Michigan, I would give you a big hug. So, instead I send you a BIG “way to go, you fabulous and fierce woman!” Here’s to a great new season of your life!

    1. +1000. I can’t say it better than this. Allie, you’ve inspired me as I’m contemplating a big life change of my own. Thank you so much for this!

  46. Wow! Strong post today. All about facing your challenges and thus, helping us face ours. I always thought you had way too many balls in the air … even though you did a great job juggling all of them. Go Team Allie!

  47. Congrats! I’m glad you decided to stick with blogging, because you’re one of my constants, since way, way back! I’m excited to see what you bring to the table as a FT blogger! And I don’t think that just because you’re not in the office, you won’t still be a good source for office wear and bags and shoes and things us working girls need! Keep posting good stuff, and I’ll keep clicking through your links!

  48. Just got chills reading this because I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go…. good for you, making a bold choice! I can’t wait to keep reading and see where you go!!!!

  49. You brought tears of recognition to my eyes about giving up today…and then you made my heart swell with pride and joy for you and and your growth. Go, you. You got this, woman. Congratulations.

  50. I’m a firm believer that when you say no to something you are protecting what you say yes to. Congrats on saying no to your day job so that you can say yes to your passion. I look forward to what the future holds for you.

  51. Whew! I thought when you starting talking about quitting that it was going to be quitting WO and I was sad – so happy it’s the other way around!

  52. Congratulations! What an amazing adventure this will be for you! Best of Luck and I can’t wait to see what this new chapter brings for you.

  53. Absolutely thrilled for you, Allie!!!!!!!! I’ve followed you through many changes and this is the most exciting yet. Proud of you:)

  54. Wow! This is exciting news and a big step! Wishing you the best and can’t wait to see where you take Wardrobe Oxygen now!

  55. Way to go,Allie! Live your life without regrets…at 62 I wish I had been braver when I was your age! And selfishly I love your blog best of all the ones I’ve subscribed to….you are so sincere,so down to earth and just so darn real! I love your style but most of all how you share your life with us all…sometimes I feel like we’re just sitting having a glass of wine and chatting like two old friends! Keep up the awesome work Allie….so looking forward to what’s to come….all the best!

  56. Oh Allie. My heart was about to drop when you said you had news as I was afraid you were quitting the blog.You gots this lady! I am so sorry you have been having a rough time- here is to better days ahead. Love And stars to you!

  57. Hey kudos to you! Wardrobe Oxygen will be whatever you want it to be – it doesn’t only have to be about work fashion. I’m at the same crossroads in my life too and I’m thinking of taking a step back and less money to find more happiness. I fully support you and wish you all the success!

  58. Fly fiercely brave woman! I am such a huge fan of your work, you have helped me slowly to learn to love my aging body that I barely recognize anymore. Clothing is no longer something to cover me but a billboard for the power that resides within. I will continue to cheer you from the sidelines.

  59. I was getting a lump n my throat thinking you were quitting your blog! Congratulations! I think this is more than wardrobe and I’m glad you will have more time! I bet your family is thrilled

  60. Wow! Congrats! Way to go! OMG! I’m with you on the ride and I hope you know how much you’ve likely inspired others with your brave decision. Can’t wait to see how you rock this new adventure!

  61. Oh my goodness! Bravo! We women tend to forget to take care of ourselves in the process of taking care of everything. When I became ill, I was working full time (and then some) which likely exacerbated the onset of my illness. Quitting was the best thing I ever did; for my health and for my family. May your next chapter be the best one yet!

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