The main reasons why people want to quit their jobs are plentiful. But the number one reason why people quit is due to a lack of recognition. Providing recognition for a job well done is so easy. Yet, many managers don't even bother.
“Thank you.” “You're doing great work.” “Way to go!” Such simple words of encouragement cost nothing, but go a long way towards motivating employees.
I firmly believe managers don't do enough to express gratitude towards their employees. If they did, there would be much less turnover, much higher worker satisfaction, and ultimately higher profits for the firm.
Sometimes business is just bad and there's no room for a pay raise or promotion. No problem. Take your employees out to lunch to show them your gratitude for coming in early or going above and beyond for a client.
A lack of recognition by their managers is consistently one of the top complaints I hear from people who want to engineer their layoff. Some want to take it a step further and “stick it to their employers” for all the years of mistreatment.
Firms need to do more in the ways of managerial training. Often times, the best producer gets promoted to become manager instead of the best person with managerial abilities. This trend causes all sorts of problems down the road.
Training classes need to focus on teaching managers how to motivate employees by understanding their sincerest desires. My research shows that recognition is at the top of the list. Let's look at more reasons why employees are so disengaged.
Main Reasons Why People Want To Quit Their Jobs
Industry is in structural decline.
The good times don't last forever, especially in highly cyclical industries that experience boom and bust cycles. If you are in a structurally declining industry, things are even worse. Back in the late 1990s, working in finance was a blast. You were well compensated and there weren't so many restrictions on entertaining your clients.
Now the finance industry is heavily regulated with pay caps and entertainment restrictions. Pay has probably declined by 30-50% on an apples-to-apples basis as margins have come under pressure due to advancements in technology and the commoditization of information.
The job stops being fun.
There's no point working for prolonged periods of time if you aren't having fun. If you are in a toxic environment with backstabbing co-workers and an overbearing boss, please do yourself a favor and get out.
I used to love going to work every morning until I started getting harassed every day by several disgruntled colleagues who had to come in by 4:15am before the markets opened. Although I'd give it right back when they left by 3pm, it started getting tiring.
A lack of joy is why I decided to negotiate a severance in 2012 at age 34 to be free forever. I felt my life was wasting away doing the same old thing I no longer cared about. My wife ended up negotiating a severance as well at age 34 in 2015! She was a high-performing employee who had enough.
Better job opportunities elsewhere.
Just like in the stock markets where opportunities exist every day, there are also better employment opportunities every day. It's up to us to find them. The job market is incredibly fragmented despite the advent of online job sites like Indeed and The Ladders.
Most of all the good jobs I know come through networking. So if you want better opportunities you've got to get to know more people. It is highly likely you are making less than market rate. The longer you stay at one firm the bigger your market rate discount most of the time. Here are 15 things to consider before quitting your job.
Psychological abuse at work.
Instead of recognizing an employee for their achievements, some managers and colleagues sadly mentally abuse their employees, treating them as if they were like a machine with no feelings.
One female interviewee mentioned that her male boss often made her feel uncomfortable with his innuendos. Another interviewee discussed how just because she went to a rival school which her senior manager did not gain admission to, she was constantly badgered with remedial tasks.
We humans can be incredibly petty. Here's an article on how to stop haters from hating you so much if you find yourself in this situation.
Mental fatigue is one of the main reasons why people want to quit their jobs.
A fading meritocracy.
Work hard, get paid and promoted right? Unfortunately, if you are in a structurally declining industry it might not matter how hard you work; you will never progress in your career. You also need to actively self-promote and network if you want to get paid and promoted, which is something many hate.
One of the most attractive things about Wall Street was the “eat what you kill” mentality. If you were able to bring in a big deal for the firm, you were paid commensurately.
Working for a large investment bank has moved towards the likes of working for the government. Rigid promotion time tables and a narrow pay band kills incentive.
Just look at controversy with unions and tenured teachers and you get the idea. Beyond making money is the important sense of recognition.
No more room for advancement.
“Progress” is my one word definition for happiness. When you are stuck doing the same old thing for years it takes its toll. The glass ceiling or bamboo ceiling for discriminated Asian workers are real!
I suggest everyone who has hit a glass ceiling check to see if there are other departments, offices, or even countries with openings. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of scenery change to recharge and move forward again.
The problem with living in San Francisco is that it's hard to leave San Francisco because life is so good here. I've been to over a hundred cities and SF ranks right up there with the best of them.
Being stuck is definitely a main reason why people want to quick their jobs.
A realization that life is short.
The large majority of people I interviewed for my severance negotiation book mentioned in some way or another that they felt the brevity of life catch up to them. Women who hit 30 and 35 were particularly vocal about life largely due to the difficult balance of managing a thriving career and wanting a family.
Men showed a lot of wanderlust at 40 when they realized they were technically middle age with the median lifespan for men at 80. At age 34, I came to the realization that I lasted 10 years longer than I thought I would in the financial services industry. I also knew that I would regret not taking the leap of faith to do my own thing, especially after locking down a healthy severance package.
The #1 regret from the dying as assembled by Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent several years in palliative care was: 1) I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. I think it's everyone's duty to go out and find what truly motivates them every single day.
Never Quit, Get Laid Off Instead
For almost all of us, a job is a necessity for survival. We are the bourgeois who can't count on silver spoons and trust funds. As a result, we must work hard for what we want and take nothing for granted. The beauty of hard work is that it usually results in positive benefits that may very well last a lifetime if we are smart with our money.
Although I do sometimes miss the camaraderie of work, I think I shall miss my freedom even more if I go back to work. Everybody needs to decide for themselves how much of their lives they wish to sacrifice in order to get what they really want. There is no reverse button in life!
Now that you know the main reasons why people want to quit their jobs, it's up to you to take action!
Recommendation For Leaving A Job
If you want to leave a job you no longer enjoy, I recommend negotiating a severance instead of quitting. If you negotiate a severance like I did back in 2012, you not only get a severance check, but potentially subsidized healthcare, deferred compensation, and worker training. Since you got laid off, you're also eligible for up to 27 weeks of unemployment benefits. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.
Conversely, if you quit your job you get nothing. Check out, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, on how to negotiate a severance. I first published the book in 2012 and have recently expanded it to over 200 pages with new resources, strategies, and additional case studies thanks to tremendous reader feedback.
Recommendation For Business
Do something you love by starting your own business online! It used to cost a fortune and a lot of employees to start your business. Now you can start it for next to nothing with Bluehost. Brand yourself online, connect with like-minded people, find new consulting gigs, and potentially make a good amount of income online one day by selling your product or recommending other great products.
Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for starting Financial Samurai in 2009. I have maximum freedom now thanks to working on my side-hustle while working for 2.5 years. You never know where your journey will take you!
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Main Reasons Why People Want To Quit is a Financial Samurai original. Check out my Top Financial Products page for more great tools to help you achieve financial independence sooner.