A Job Quitter’s Primer: 25 Reasons To Leave Your Job

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2007-03-0614

This is Part 1 of the series entitled “A Job Quitter’s Primer”.

There are right and wrong ways to quit a job, and somehow I don’t think a dramatic departure, in any way, shape or form, would qualify as a recommended way to do it. So to shed some light on a situation that no doubt has touched most of us at some point in our lives, I’ve compiled a primer based on various sources as well as my own experiences and observations for all you job quitters out there.

When To Quit Your Job

The Good Reasons

  1. The company is suffering some hardships and looks like it’ll fold.
    When the ship is sinking, you’re allowed to bail.
  2. You’ve got a bad relationship with your boss or colleagues.
    Could you be in a hostile work environment? If you’re having issues with anyone at work or if nobody likes you, then you’d be hard pressed to last much longer at your position. Unless of course, you’re a difficult person to deal with no matter where you go. In which case, I’d suggest a bit of self-reflection that hopefully leads to personal growth and change.
  3. You’re facing life changing experiences.
    Perhaps you need more flexibility or your priorities have changed due to some life altering events that have befallen you. Your job may now have to work around your new schedule but if it does not afford you that flexibility, then it may be time to go.
  4. Your personal thoughts and views are not in line with the company’s culture.
    If you’re the odd person out and you stick out like a sore thumb, and you find it difficult to blend in no matter how much you try, it may not be worth hanging around in your uncomfortable state and being in constant stress. At least, I wouldn’t bother.
  5. The company is in a questionable business.
    If you start noticing shifty behavior and underhanded schemes going on behind the scenes, this is not a healthy environment to be in. Some people have gone as far as to whistleblow. Proceed with caution.
  6. Your reputation has soured at this job.
    So why not start fresh elsewhere? Unless of course you’re content with your mediocre standing at your job.
  7. The job is affecting your physical or mental health.
    If you are constantly overworked and your job is becoming detrimental to your overall health, well-being and relationships, then it’s best to take a break from it so you can unwind and reflect. This great article from About.com discusses this further.
  8. You are bored stiff and your opportunities for advancement are limited.
    You’re in a rut and you need a new place to cultivate your skills and increase your knowledge.
  9. You’ve received a tightly clad offer for a higher position and/or more money elsewhere.
    This is the #1 reason I’ve left my previous employers. It must be one of the most common reasons for leaving, if not the most common.
  10. You are being ignored and unappreciated.
    You work hard but nobody notices. It’s a shame, but it happens everywhere.
  11. If you realize that your benefits are insufficient.
    1 week of vacation and no 401K is just not good enough anymore is it?
  12. Your job security is somehow threatened.
    It’s time to set up Plan B if your company is starting to outsource.
  13. Your commute really sucks.
    A long commute will be tolerable for a certain amount of time, then it’ll take its toll. But wasting many hours a day in traffic is just not worth the extra pay sometimes. But sometimes, there just isn’t a choice, such as when you live in the Bay Area’s bedroom communities. To ease your pain, you can either move to where your current job is, or quit your long-distance job and find something closer, say if new jobs pop up in your town.
  14. You need to relocate.
    There’s some reason you need to leave your neighborhood. Your job will be just one of the casualties of your move.
  15. You’re planning a career change.
    Would you like to do something else altogether? Perhaps you always dreamed of becoming a chef or teacher. Or you may just want to start your own business.

The Wrong Reasons

Basically, if the cause of your leaving a job is unreasonable, silly or ridiculous, then you should think twice before pulling the plug. But “silly” is subjective such that most people who have silly reasons to quit are difficult to convince otherwise and won’t know better anyway…at least, by my experience.

  1. You haven’t gotten a raise in so many months.
    You’ll need to establish a track record at your position before you can start expecting rewards. Take into consideration the entire job market too, in order to determine if you’re in the same boat as everyone.
  2. You’re not being assigned the tougher projects.
    Again, you’ll need to prove yourself first at many places before you’re given the challenging responsibilities. If you do a good job with the small stuff, then in time, you’ll be given the harder assignments. Of course, if you’ve waited a long time and you’re really not being put to good use, it may be time to bail out.
  3. You think the job market is hot and so are you.
    I knew a highly paid director of software development who left his company in a huff, thinking he would be rehired promptly. Well, it turned out much harder than he thought. It took 9 long months, $3,000 out of his pocket to hire an executive placement agency that got him nowhere, desperate attempts at getting any sort of job including that of a shopping clerk at Best Buy (which didn’t pan out), and a close call with foreclosure before he eventually received an offer to become a traveling consultant for 70% of his previous pay. Moral: Don’t fall from the frying pan and into the fire.
  4. You didn’t get that promotion after the big project you just did.
    Once more, you need to take everything into consideration before thinking of leaving. Many times, getting ahead in a company takes more than just one feather in your cap.
  5. You discover you’re not getting an office.
    Need I say more? Everyone lives in a cubicle these days.
  6. You think you won the lottery but really you didn’t.
    This actually happened to a fellow who thought he won the lottery. He quit his job first before confirming that he was a winner. It turned out that he read his ticket wrong and he was NOT the winner. Needless to say, he was unable to return to his job. So moral of the story? Don’t count your chickens, as they say!
  7. American Idol is in town, you’re set to audition and you made it to the Hollywood round.
    So you think you have certain talents that deserve to be showcased on a different platform. An opportunity presents itself and you need to act fast. Before you quit your day job, assess your situation and look at your realistic chances at getting anywhere with this opportunity. Tread this path carefully.
  8. You’ve been in a job for only a week, you’re a frequent job hopper and you’re itching to leave again.
    Given your history, you may want to think twice before quitting. It may be the case that the problem no longer lies in the companies you work for, but rather in your tendency to move around. You’ll need to do some self-reflection on this one: are you even in the right career?
  9. Somebody dared you to.
    You know who you are.

There are so many other reasons why people quit. Hint: it can be all about the management.

So What’s Next?

Now if you’re thinking of leaving your job, make sure you’ve got other job options to turn to before you cut ties with your employer (unless you want to take a break from the rat race). Here are some great online resources to help you replace your lost work income.

Think carefully why you need to leave your place of work as there are legitimate reasons to go, as well as stupid reasons. I always go by the saying: Wherever you go, it’s the same #$(%@!, different faces. There’s always this grand honeymoon one experiences at the start of any job which for very many of us will diminish in time and will be replaced with cold, hard reality. The key is to weigh all your job’s issues and saving graces, and see if you can last and carve out a future with it. Hopefully you’ll find a place where that’s the case.

Part 2 of this article has been published!

< Source: SF Chronicle, who wrote a series on Jimbob, the job quitting Digg guy: here >

Copyright © 2007 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Silicon Valley Blogger March 6, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Dear readers,
There was a wayward link on this post I decided to remove for purposes of keeping the site PG-13. I had linked to a highly Dugg copy of an “over 18” divorce letter without reading it as thoroughly as I should have. I finally read it carefully. It turned out to be too explicit for my taste and for this humble blog, so out it went. Unless there’s a wild clamor for this sort of material here, I’ll spare you from it. My apologies.


Willster April 25, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Unfortunately I’m one of the dumb ones to break your #1 wrong reasons for quitting a good job: a bad pay raise. I felt really offended that all my hard work only netted me a 2% yearly raise. More than that I was jealous because people that had been with the company half the time as myself, and people I in fact helped TRAIN when they arrived…were getting larger raises than that.

So I left on somewhat bad terms, and the company is basically a scar on my otherwise good employment history. I have excellent references from that there, but the reason for leaving inevitably comes up in interviews and is still a sore spot.

Monevator November 19, 2008 at 2:38 am

Another reason:

“Because you can almost always go back.”

Most employers are ultimately accepting of seeing someone try something new, as long as it’s handled well and you leave on good terms.

a August 19, 2009 at 7:44 pm

If you have to leave due to an illegal or unethical workplace:
(1) try to speak with an attorney first to understand your options (including whistleblowing, constructive discharge, hostile environment, retaliation and other issues).
(2) if you must act immediately (dangerous or obviously illegal situation), speak to an attorney as soon as possible to protect yourself.

KnowledgeCity July 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Who would have thought that changing careers takes so much effort! I’ll be sure to take it into consideration when I start looking for a new JOB!!! =)

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