Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What is the right reason to leave a job?

As a consultant, I frequently leave jobs. I also help many people decide whether or not to leave their jobs. I have learned there is no one "right" reason for leaving, but I've accumulated a list of many "good" reasons for leaving. I'll give some examples:

In my career, I have left jobs when 

- the job I was hired to do was finished.

- the job I was hired to do could not be finished.

- the job I was hired to do would be finished just fine without me.

- I was not able to do the job I was hired to do.

- the job I was hired to do wasn't worth doing.

- I was no longer learning new things (that's my most frequent reason for leaving)

- they told me that my pay was going to be "temporarily" delayed

- they asked me to do something illegal or unethical

You may notice that I never leave just because someone is going to pay me more money. If I was hired on to do a job, I feel committed to see that the job is finished, or going to be finished, or will never be finished. Only when my commitment is fulfilled am I ready to move on to bigger things. I don't think it's a good idea to leave behind me a trail of broken commitments.

Another good reason for leaving is not one I've experienced yet, but it's when they ask you to do something dangerous to your life or health. Very few jobs are worth dying for.

And here's a useful principle when leaving: If possible, don't quit until you have the next job set up. Why? Because it's much easier to get a new job when you already have a job. Employers tend to be suspicious of unemployed people.


chuckyd said...

Leave if the environment sears your soul. Leadership makes secret teams that undermine other teams. Sucking up more beneficial than performing. Telling the truth somehow becomes less beneficial. Good people trying to do the right thing around you are frustrated. Smart people given menial tasks to "test" how good they are, etc.

Oleksii Burdin said...

The problem for people often is that they are not having "finished" neither definition nor feeling.

Unknown said...

"Employers tend to be suspicious of unemployed people." Absolutely, especially if your are "old."

Scotty said...

What a great set of "rules". One thing that's implied in all of these "reasons" is an ability to be objective about both the work and your own role IN that work. That can be hard (especially for non-contractors), but is critical to being able to make healthy decisions!

Noel Khan said...

@ChuckyD, Sounds like you worked in government.

Hui Shi said...

Thanks Gerald for your valuable insights on this hot topic.
However, for this comments

" I don't think it's a good idea to leave behind me a trail of broken commitments. "

In reality, you will be given constant tasks to full fill and it is most likely that your tasks will NOT be completed when you decide to leave the current operations.
In my opinions, as long as you conduct a good knowledge transfer session with necessary documents, it is good enough to keep the bridge intact.

Most people do not want to leave the job that they've applied before. However, when the time is ready to move on, let's just move on with a professional way.