Are you afraid of leaving your job? “I want to quit” are words you or a work colleague may have said at least once in their career. In reality, doing so and transferring to a different company, whether on the same career path or not, is normal. However, each person has a reason, such as personal growth, career growth, financial needs, mistrust, or a combination of these.
The following section is a curated list of the most common reasons for employees to leave a job. Each reason has a bit of explanation to it, helping you in understanding it. Reasons can either be good or bad, single or a combination, depending on the person. There are no fixed metrics on why employees consider or decide to do so.
Reasons to Leave
Whether you recently joined a company or have been with them for a long period, there is always a reason why you want to leave. Here are some, if not all, the possible reason.
- Company is going downhill or is experiencing a downturn: Businesses, whether small, medium, or large, may experience a downhill somewhere along the way. Several factors contribute to it, such as a pandemic or market depreciation. When a business is experiencing a rough patch, it typically manifests in different ways, such as company restructuring, loss of clients, laying off employees, or even a cut-off in office supplies. If you noticed any of these happening, you should consider looking for a different place to work. However, keep in mind that not all companies that go downhill file straight for bankruptcy or can no longer recover. Several companies recover from these rough patches as long as there is a recovery plan.
- Restructuring initiated: A restructuring happens for a few reasons, the most common one being downsizing or cutting down costs due to market changes or failing demand. The restructuring would include one or more of the following: Relocation of resources from one geographic location to another (e.g., Shifting resources from the United States to the Philippines to cut down on costs), changes in management structuring (e.g., Exit of a high-level director, merging of two or more roles), or change in ownership.
- A merger or acquisition of your company by another one: If two companies merge into one, this could be a great time to reassess your role and responsibilities in the company after the merger. There are instances when everything remains the same. However, there are also times where a restructuring would happen after a merger. Either way, it is still a perfect time to assess how you feel and where you stand.
- Career growth or advancement: Sometimes, staying in one company for an extensive period feels stagnant, especially to younger professionals. For example, you are a professional still staying with the same company you first worked for after graduation. You may be wondering what it is like working for a different company or picking a career path because you have never been somewhere else. To some employees, there are a few things you cannot get by staying with the same employer throughout your professional career. If you feel stuck, try to talk with your lead or manager. If you feel like nothing has changed, trying out something else and transferring to a different one may be the only way to move forward with your career.
- Shifting to a different industry or line of work: The industry or line of work you are currently in may not be the one you truly want. Sometimes, you had to do it because it is in demand and pays a lot. If you think you are at the point of your career that it is time to follow what you want to do, shifting industry may be the answer. In the short term, changing careers may or may not cost you money. In the long-term, it leads to more career and personal satisfaction, which impacts the overall quality of your work. If the shift in your career puts you a step closer to your ultimate professional goal, the risk may be worth taking.
- Change in a work environment: Toxicity at the workplace is one of the things you cannot avoid. Every company has its own culture, which may not fit well with everyone. Employees who can tolerate and work with the company’s culture will likely thrive and stay, while those who cannot stand it will most likely seek other opportunities. It is important to know that you can be an excellent or high-performing employee, but you don’t feel like the company culture fits right with you. Staying in a toxic workplace is not advisable because of the negative impacts on your performance.
- Development of your overall skills as a professional: Receiving training, experience, or supplemental knowledge is typically dependent on the company’s budget and prioritization. Larger ones typically have more commitment and budget in investing in their employees’ career development by providing training and workshops. As a result, it will help you grow holistically as a professional.
- Better overall compensation package: Compensation is not only the money you earn but a complete package of benefits, perks, basic salary, and bonuses. To most people, the basic salary and bonuses part have the heaviest weight in a compensation package. It is good to leverage your experiences and skills to get a position from a company that offers a bigger compensation package. Some sacrifice perks and benefits to provide a more competitive, bigger basic salary and bonuses. At the end of the day, it is best to check your long-term career goals and see if it aligns.
- Family or personal circumstances: Not all the time an employee leaves a job is it because of career matters. In reality, several employees need to do so to attend to the needs of a family member, whether it may be to provide support or care. If your partner is in the military, you may need to leave if moving is necessary. If your partner needs to relocate to a different country, you may need to move too.
- A change in leadership or management: A change in leadership or management may or may not be because of the company restructuring. Not all employees get along with their managers or leadership. Some can tolerate it up to a certain extent, while others cannot do it. If you feel like it is no longer best for you to be working with your manager or anyone in your leadership team, it is best to move on and look for a different one.
- You are no longer happy: The way you feel for your job, specifically how it makes you happy, is a huge factor in delivering great results to your clients. If you are no longer happy or your job makes you feel sad, you may want to start exploring different options. Emotions play an incredible role in how you deal with and handle work, so it is important to check on them regularly. On the other hand, if you think shifting to a different career path you have always wanted will address your concerns, then go for it. Always remember to consider both your short-term and long-term goals.
- You want more flexibility: Does your current job make you feel like it is too constrained? Are the working hours too strict for you? Maybe your work or shift schedule is not ideal? Or do you need to attend to family matters that require a flexible work schedule? If you can’t negotiate with your current employer for more flexible working hours, finding another job that allows greater work flexibility could be your option. However, when applying for other jobs, be sure to phrase wanting more flexibility carefully. It would be great you mention your dedication as an employee and your ability to manage time effectively.
- Challenges in terms of geographic location: If you are moving to a different state or maybe an entirely different country and your current job does not allow you, then resigning is likely the only option you have. People move around for a lot of reasons. Some move because their family needs to relocate, while some want a fresh start. Some people relocate to another country for better opportunities in their careers.
- You are looking for a part-time or full-time option: Do you currently have a part-time job and are looking for a full-time one instead? Or maybe it is the other way around? If you do not have the option to do it internally within the company you are currently working for, it could be the only option you have.
What to do when you want to quit?
You have been wondering about quitting your job but are not entirely sure about it. Are you afraid to do so? What should you do?
The first thing you need to do is to assess the situation. Ask yourself: why do you want to do it? There is always at least one reason. Is it because of a bad relationship with leadership? Or a personal matter that needs your attention? Or maybe there is a better opportunity for growth somewhere else? There are several reasons why an employee would want to do it. What you want to make sure is that it is what you want to do.
Once you have that figured out, ask yourself if it is a bad idea to quit or not. Depending on the reason, it can be good or bad for you.
Is it a bad idea?
Are you afraid to leave your job because you think it is a bad idea? In reality, quitting is not entirely a bad idea. If you are experiencing anything detrimental to your career, then it is a good idea. However, if you want to do it because you are too lazy to work, that may not be such a great idea.
If you don’t want your employer to know you are searching for a new one, this article about X tips on how to job search without your employer knowing should help you.
How much money should you have before doing it?
So now you have decided to follow through. Do you think you have enough money to cover your expenses if you don’t find a new job right away?
If you don’t have a different one to transfer to after your last day with your current employer, it is wise to have enough money to cover all your expenses in the next two to three months. Situations like this are when an emergency fund will come in handy.
Regarding how much money you need to save before quitting, at least three times your monthly salary would be the minimum. Anything more than that is better, but anything less will likely put you at risk.
Should I quit if I am unhappy?
Do you think doing something else will make you happy? If it is stable and secure, leaving may only put you at risk of running out of money or going into debt. Evaluate what is causing sadness at the workplace. Is it your project, manager, workmates, or something else? If you think what you are feeling is only short-term and will eventually go away, it would be great if you do not leave. Talk to HR, a manager, a trusted colleague, a friend, or family. However, if you think it is there to stay long-term, then it may be the way to go for you.
Being unhappy with should not be the only basis for quitting. You must dig deeper and identify the root cause of the problem. Only upon identifying the root cause can you address the issue and make sure you’re not repeating the same mistakes all over in a new position.
How do you know it is time?
Again, there are so many reasons why and it is a case-to-case basis kind of thing. There is no hard rule on how many years you should stay with a particular job.
Most people know it is time when they stop growing professionally. The reasons specified in the “Reasons to leave a job” can be your basis.
Why should you never quit?
Several people think being unhappy with your current position is not a valid reason to quit. Depending on the root cause, being unhappy is a solid reason to pursue other options. Situations such as not getting along with your manager, not being promoted for several years despite meeting expectations, and toxicity in the workplace are all possible reasons to be sad. These reasons can trigger an employee to ultimately pull the trigger.
How do you do it politely?
So, you have committed to going through with it, now the question is, “should I tell my boss I am looking for a new job?“
It is best to go separate ways on good terms. Doing otherwise will only reflect negatively on your character, which could impact your chances of being hired by other employers. Talk to your manager or HR, informing them that you are pursuing other options. Do allow one to two weeks’ notice of resignation. You may also want to check with your company if they have the required number of days or weeks to render resignation. Otherwise, one to two weeks will do.
Is it OK to quit without notice?
In the US, it is not against the law to quit without notice. However, it is not a wise thing to do. If you do, it may be difficult to ask your former employer for a reference in case you need it in the future. You will also be causing inconvenience to your coworkers if you choose to do it without rendering a notice period.
When is it time?
Does not it scare you to be stuck doing the same old thing for the rest of your career? There are so many reasons why it is time. Each person’s experience is unique, so you can’t be 100% certain it will all be the same.
Most employees quit because they feel like they are no longer improving. Being stuck in one place for a long time is frustrating. If you feel like your current situation does not align with your long-term goals and are getting older, it is time to reassess, take a different approach, and start aligning your goals.
Some people do it because they have been with the same company for so long. Staying with the same one for x years, especially if you have not been with others, is not recommended. Should you want to learn more about it, here is X reasons you should never stay at a job longer than X years.
How do you answer, “why are you leaving your job?”
If you recently transferred to a new company, it is unavoidable for your work colleagues to ask, “why did you decide not to stay with your last company?” If you encounter a similar question, be ready with a fair, unbiased, and professional response. An article that tackles the 10 best, acceptable answers to “Why did you leave your last job” would be the perfect one to read so you can find the answers to this sensitive question.
How to do it on good terms?
There are plenty of best ways to leave on good terms. The minimum is informing your manager or HR about the decision, submitting a formal notice of resignation, and fulfilling the notice period.