The 4 Reasons We Change Jobs

Dec 23, 2020

Ten years. That's how much of our lives we spend at work. Not commuting, not complaining about work, but working.

The Balance reports, "The average person changes jobs 12 times during his or her career."

From my own experience, I have taken roles for the 401K, health benefits, two weeks of vacation, annual bonus, and the granddaddy of them all, a pension. But I remember thinking two years into my career "this is it? You've got to be kidding me!?!?"
The security we seek can come with a straight jacket of sorts. For every job, this straight jacket looks different, and that is why I believe we change jobs.
According to Recruiting Daily, there are eight main reasons people change jobs. I'm going to look at the four most compelling.

Now you have a choice. You can read on or you can take a short quiz to find out personally if it's time for you to move on.

Lack of opportunity to use skills and abilities

Let's call this what it is, lack of creativity at work. Do you remember art when you were four? I watch my son, who is this age, and I see reckless abandon in his eyes as he draws his masterpieces. Where did this go in our careers?

If you're anything like me you had high hopes for your creativity but after working for more giant corporations and hearing "that's not how we do things around here" your creativity was shelved. Until you found an opportunity to use it again, then you promptly left your creative death row of a job for the promised land.

Note: Creativity comes in many forms. Leadership is a form of creative expression and when this opportunity isn't given to us it can also feel like a straight jacket. I have changed jobs more than once due to a lack of opportunity.

Bad Management

In my world, "bad management" means being under leadership where I was not heard, cared about, or received any feedback.

While I've read that millennials need more feedback, I don't believe this to be a generation gap. Only 30% of the workforce is made-up of millennials, yet 22% leave jobs because of poor management, this leads me to believe that EVERYONE wants feedback.  

Toxic Workplace

I worked with one guy that called his coworkers his work family. It's true, though. You spend more time, on average, at work than with your actual family. But just like toxic marriages, you sometimes need to leave to get a fresh start and a new perspective.

Other Reasons

I'm jumping to this category because 1) It's technically the next highest ranking on the list, and 2) It's vague and deserves exploring. 

Rather than throwing out some conjecture on this one, I am giving you my "other reason" for leaving a job.

I chose an entirely new path. I left a 15-year career in supply chain to open up my life coaching practice, which may seem random. Still, after working with coworkers, employees, bosses, and clients, I have seen this many times. We have no idea who we are at 22 (when many of us leave college), yet we have to choose a life path and stick with it for 45 years? I call BS on that one.

If, after you experience the world, you decide to do something else, go for it!

I'll leave you with these rules of thumb:

  • If you see a lack of creativity, create it. If you get your hand smacked, go.

  • If your manager doesn't listen, coach him/her on what you need. If nothing happens, leave. If your workplace is toxic, take a long look in the mirror first. Are you poisoning the water? If so, change your attitude. If not, leave.

  • And finally, if you have a burning desire to do, create, and be different, test the waters. Start a side business, do some research. Then leave.

In the words of Alfred Adler, "follow your heart but take your brain with you.


To take the next steps in your job search learn the 4 simple steps here.

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