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Are You Leaving Your Job for the Wrong Reason?

By Maurie Backman - May 21, 2018 at 6:18AM

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Will the one sticking point at your current job come back to bite you elsewhere?

These days, it's not uncommon to jump from one job to another, especially if you're unhappy with your current role. But before you rush to leave your job, make sure a new position will actually address the point of dissatisfaction you're dealing with at present. Here are a few common reasons workers leave their jobs and why going elsewhere won't necessarily address them.

Reason: You're not getting promoted.

Reality: Just because you want a promotion doesn't mean you actually deserve one. Remember, you're not automatically entitled to a title boost just because you've been at your job for a certain amount of time. Rather, you'll need to earn it.

Furthermore, if your skills and experience are only at a certain level, you may not get a better title at an outside company. Therefore, it makes sense to try boosting your skills or taking on more responsibility to see if you can land a promotion internally before running off in search of a title you may not be ready for.

Woman holding her head at a desk


Reason: You're unhappy with your salary.

Reality: You might think you're being underpaid at your job, but have you done your research? There's a good chance your current salary is more than fair, so before you go off in search of a higher number, see what the going rate is in your area. Sites like and Glassdoor let you compare salary data by title and region, and if you see that your compensation stacks up, there's no reason to assume you'll do considerably better elsewhere.

Furthermore, if you are being underpaid, it makes sense to try negotiating a raise before leaving. Even if your boss says no, you might get suggestions on what to do to merit that raise in the near future.

Reason: You don't like your coworkers.

Reality: Every workplace has its share of toxic coworkers. Rather than let one or two obnoxious colleagues drive you away, try keeping your distance and learning to cope with them instead.

You might, for example, ask to be switched to an ongoing project that those problem coworkers aren't assigned to or even jump teams if you know the players are much easier to get along with. But don't assume that working elsewhere will help you evade annoying colleagues; you never know how much worse the people might be in a different environment.

Reason: You don't get along with your boss.

Reality: You have no idea what sort of manager you'll get elsewhere. Rather than run off to escape your boss, try figuring out why your relationship went south and what you can do to fix it. Maybe you've been complaining too frequently, thus incurring your boss's wrath. Or maybe you have a history of missing deadlines, and as such, your boss micromanages you out of distrust. No matter the circumstances, it pays to attempt to repair the relationship before applying elsewhere.

Reason: You're bored, and there's no room for growth.

Reality: If you're truly trapped in a dead-end job, that's a perfectly valid reason to leave your company. But before you do, try sharing your feelings with your manager and seeing if they can be addressed. In speaking up, you might manage to get yourself assigned to a new project or even make a lateral move to shake things up. While putting yourself in a new working environment might serve the same purpose, you run the risk of growing increasingly bored with that role over time, as well, so if you're otherwise comfortable where you are, you might as well see what options you have.

There's no sense in forcing yourself to stay at a job you don't like. But before you jump ship, make sure the reasons you're leaving won't follow you to your next role. As a general rule, if you're thinking of quitting due to a single point of dissatisfaction but are otherwise content in your job, it pays to spend some time addressing it before moving on. Chances are, a little effort or action on your part will make enough of a difference to compel you to stay.

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