With a name like “Johnny Paycheck” singing a song titled “Take this job and shove it” was a great fit! It’s also a thought many of us have had more than once. If you’ve been considering leaving your job, you aren’t alone. Almost 3% of the U.S. workforce quit a job in 2019 for a variety of reasons. This rate was the highest in history, pointing to a new set of rules and employment norms. American workers shift employment values from strictly pay to professional purpose, work-life satisfaction, and social responsibility. The days of toughing it out and staying loyal to an organization for 30 years are gone by the wayside.
While you shouldn’t base your decision to leave a job on a few frustrating days or a miserable bunch of co-workers, you should do some self-reflecting if you’ve been thinking about quitting your job for a while. How long have you been feeling this way? What would you do if you did leave your job? What are your reasons for wanting to leave your job? Here are some common reasons to consider as you do your self-reflection.
The company has a lousy work culture or work environment.
Probably the biggest reason why people leave a job is a lousy work culture or work environment. Who wouldn’t consider leaving a place that was draining, depressing, or just plain dangerous? Companies that turn a blind eye to harassment, mistreatment, and unethical behavior often experience a high employee turnover rate. And if leadership is not interested in making critical changes, the culture isn’t changing any time soon.
Maybe you realize that your values and morals don’t align with your organization like you thought they did. Why didn’t you notice this before? Chalk it up to the “honeymoon phase” when excitement and expectations are high. Everything looks great during the interview process and your first few months. After you experience the entire day-to-day operations, you’ll be able to see your company’s true set of values. And if those values don’t align with yours, you won’t be working to your full potential or fulfillment.
You want to take control of your time.
The modern workday doesn’t look like the traditional 9 to 5 from 20 years ago. Now more than ever, people want to take control of the one thing they can’t make more of…time. According to a Gallup poll, 51% of employees said they would leave their job for one that offered flexibility. This flexibility includes not only flexible working hours but flexible working location as well. People want to be able to work remotely or during hours that work with their schedule. Flexible work schedules give people the freedom to enjoy more time at home, with their families, or spending time on other passions such as hobbies or side gigs.
The ability to manage your own time is a big reason why people leave a job. Taking responsibility for your schedule will take some discipline, though. Unless you’ve got a significant nest egg saved up, you’re probably going to have to make money. However, the good news is that you will be in control of your day. And, you get to decide when to work and when not to. Many people who are their own boss end up working more hours than before, but on projects they genuinely love.
You feel undervalued and unappreciated at work
One of the main things we hope to get from our work, besides a paycheck, is a sense of accomplishment and pride in our work. When we get positive feedback from our superiors in the form of a “job well done,” a promotion, or a bonus, we feel validated and supercharged. If we’re not getting that positive feedback, or worse yet, getting continual negative feedback, our motivation dies. When people think that bosses and co-workers appreciate their contributions, they’ll push through challenges and give their all. Without it, they’re looking for another place to spend their efforts.
Does this mean you need to tell your boss to take this job and shove it and leave your job? Maybe not. Take an honest assessment of what’s going on and ask for advice from a trusted colleague or leader. There are things you can try before throwing in the towel. But if you’ve tried it all and things still don’t feel right, it may be time to move on.
You want to work in a different career field or industry
If your interests and passions lie in a completely different job field, you may want to leave your job. If you are happy with your organization overall, check-in with human resources to see if you can transition to another position within the company that would better suit your interests. Otherwise, you’ll need to start thinking about what you need to do to get to where you want to go.
Do you need training or experience to get the job of your dreams? Is it possible to get that training or experience while still working your current job? These are things to consider before you leap. Do some research, interview people who are doing that job, and make sure you have a good understanding of what you’re getting into. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before leaving reliable employment.
You want to start your own business
There’s no better time than now to start your own business. If you’ve got an idea, a business plan, and a burning desire to be an entrepreneur, that may be a good reason to leave your job. There are countless stories of people who left high-level corporate positions in pursuit of their business ownership dreams. And if this is something you’ve been dreaming of for a while, you owe it to yourself to see it through.
Certainly, starting your own business can be scary. You’ll want to make sure you can still provide for your specific financial needs, whether that’s by saving up a cushion or starting part-time on the side.
Either way, there are many resources available to small business owners, from administrative advice to funding options. I wrote an article on 10 simple steps to start your own business that will help you, along with a list of small business grants you’ll want to check out.