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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, May 26, 2005

Successful quitters

 •  Famous quitters

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Before moving to Honolulu, Andrea Galvin lived the glamorous life, rubbing elbows with Los Angeles' fabulously famous.

Andrea Galvin, left, and Marne Dupere, quit their jobs in Los Angeles and moved to Hawai'i to start a movie marketing business. "Madagascar," opening tomorrow, is among the films they have been promoting, as was Jet Li's recently released "Unleashed."

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser


Trying to figure out if it's time to call it quits? As a starting point, consider these questions culled from lists used by experts in a range of fields, including smoking cessation, relationships and career counseling. If you answer yes, consider quitting.

• Is it making you sick or endangering you?

• Is it interfering with your family responsibilities?

• Are you feeling increasingly unhappy about it?

• Can the situation be resolved?

• What are your options?

• Does its cost — whether monetary or figurative — outweigh its benefits?

Her job: public relations for Creative Artists Agency, the largest talent agency in the world. The company represents celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise.

Exciting work, yes. But not fulfilling.

"I didn't have a life," Galvin said. "I was leaving for work at dark and coming home at dark."

Fed up, Galvin, 34, started exploring her options. And once she figured out what she wanted in life, she took a calculated gamble. She quit her job and moved to Hawai'i, starting anew with her own business on her own terms.

Experts would say Galvin's decision is a prime example of what to do when the going gets rough or your job no longer fits what you want in life: Give your options plenty of thought and act on them. Quit and start anew if it makes you happy. But do it smartly.

For Galvin, a year of researching the Islands' box-office numbers led to opening the Aloha Agency, a boutique marketing shop dealing exclusively with films. The agency has become the local representative for companies such as Sony Pictures, Dreamworks and Disney.

"I definitely took a pay cut, but I have a quality of life now," Galvin said. She also had a mantra that kept her working toward her goal: If she could wake up in paradise every day, why shouldn't she do it?

Getting the heck outta dodge

Although conventional wisdom suggests quitters never win and winners never quit, quitting isn't all bad. Galvin is but one example. Even reality TV contestants are getting in on the act.

On "American Idol" this year, contender Marlea Stroman dropped out after her son got a cold. Besides, she said, the people in Hollywood weren't very nice to her.

Verna Felton
Over on NBC's "The Apprentice," Verna Felton complained she didn't feel well and abandoned her team. Finally, she packed up her bags and went home.

Meredith Phillips and Ian McKee, the alumni couple of ABC's 2004 version of "The Bachelorette," reawakened public interest by quitting each other.

Quitting has always been cool, said Evan Harris, author of "The Art of Quitting" (Barron's, $14.95), especially if it's done for the right reasons.

"Our country was founded by quitters," Harris said. "They left England and said, 'Forget this. We are so out of here. We are not putting up with this anymore.' Reality-show quitters are just a continuum of the great American quitting wave. They are the new wave."

Everybody has quit something. Even if you got a better job and left your company, you had to quit one job to move on to another one, Harris explained. And everyone, she said, should be willing to give up the "quittable things."

For Marne Dupere, giving up her Los Angeles vintage furniture and design store — and high-profile clientele like Brad Pitt and Courteney Cox Arquette — was the best move she ever made.

"I was creatively burned out," said Dupere, 38.

Dupere and Galvin are best friends, so Dupere decided to move to Honolulu to work with Galvin.

"We were truly on a treadmill," said Dupere, creative director at the Aloha Agency. "It's so much more important to have a quality of life than to be chasing the dollar."

Now Galvin and Dupere can't imagine life any other way.

As the bridges burn

"I would like to see people quit jobs that aren't a good fit, people that aren't a good fit and bad habits," Harris said.

Or harmful habits, such as smoking.

Lori Igawa
Quitting smoking was a no-brainer for Kapahulu resident Lori Igawa, 44, who wanted to better her lifestyle and health. But her 15-year habit was a hard one to break.

"I had to keep myself busy, and I had to find other things to do," said the hospital patient-service coordinator, who quit smoking last November.

So Igawa turned to walking, which she does every day for about an hour. She has lost nearly 20 pounds.

Quitting "was one of the best things that I've done for myself," Igawa said.

If you've got something in mind you want to quit — a competition, your job, a relationship or whatever it is, Lois Schaefer, a clinical psychologist in Michigan, advises thinking carefully before going through with it. Make sure depression, fear or a lack of self-esteem isn't driving the instinct to quit.

People who give up quickly usually didn't feel they were cut out for the task in the first place, Schaefer said.

"In order to pursue a goal, you have to be able to envision yourself achieving the required task," she suggests. "If you do not see yourself as being able to do so, you won't put forth the required effort. You feel helpless because Donald Trump is too intimidating, or a competitor is overpowering you."

The danger in quitting prematurely is later regretting the decision and having to live with that.

"You would have the potential of carrying with you forever that disappointment in yourself, which would be a shame," Schaefer said. "You divorce a man and think, 'I didn't know how good I had it.' You just live with regret for the rest of your life."

But then again — when quitting takes place after careful weighing of facts, it might make you one of the happiest people in the world.

Gannett News Service reporter Kimberly Hayes Taylor contributed to this report. Advertiser staff writer Zenaida Serrano added Hawai'i information.

• • •


Famous quitters range from the noble to the disgraced:

Bill Parcells: Notorious for re-emerging from resignation, the legendary football mind coached the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories then retired after the 1990 season before returning to lead New England in 1993. After taking the Patriots to the Big Game in 1997, the "Big Tuna" left to coach the New York Jets and then retired from the game again three seasons later. In 2003, Parcells "unretired" himself to aid the struggling Dallas Cowboys.

Michael Jordan: This legendary basketball player, who led the Chicago Bulls to six championships, suddenly retired from basketball in 1993 to pursue a baseball career. He turned to basketball again in 1995, then retired again in 1998. He went on to head the Washington Wizards and returned to the game again as a Wizards player in the 2001-02 NBA season. He finally quit basketball — maybe for good this time — after the 2002-03 season.

Richard Nixon: The 37th president was a two-time quitter. After losing the 1960 presidential election and a gubernatorial election in 1962, Nixon said he was done with politics. He went on to become a twice-elected president but chose to quit in 1974 when faced with impeachment.

Diana Ross: She rose to fame as the star of the Supremes, a 1960s girl group. On Jan. 14, 1970, she quit the group, which had been renamed Diana Ross and the Supremes, to launch a decades-long solo career. She was recently named the new face for MAC Cosmetics.

Jerry Seinfeld: After enjoying years of TV's highest ratings, he decided to retire from his sitcom "Seinfeld" while at the top of his game in 1998.

King Edward VIII: After being on the throne for a year in 1936, King Edward embarrassed his family when he fell in love with an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. He gave up his crown and his brother became king.

Newt Gingrich: He was once king of the Republican Party, credited with helping his party gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1994 elections. But after disappointment in the 1998 elections, Gingrich resigned as speaker of the House and left Congress in 1999.

— Gannett News Service