If you have followed my career at all, you are well aware that I have been around the block a few times when it comes to employers. Most of that has to do with the short-term and long-term repercussions of changing careers two years after college because of the M-word—marriage (which I thoroughly enjoy, by the way).
This career change has taught me a lot about recruiting, interviewing, vetting, and networking. But it has also taught me a whole lot about quitting. Fancier people may call it “resigning” or “seeking new opportunities,” but regardless, there is an art and science to being able to quit without it being seen as a negative attribute on your resume. So without further ado, here are the top 5 most acceptable and commendable reasons to quit your current job.
(1) Unethical and Unsafe Work Environment
This is my number one because it has the biggest impact on your future employment. If you are with an employer that does not truthfully prohibit unethical and unsafe characteristics then you will probably be hurt more by staying than if you quit. Please turn in your two-week notice immediately if your boss or a significant portion of management are guilty of doing or accepting the following:
- lying to customers and suppliers
- using sexual or suggestive language
- touching coworkers sexually or inappropriately
- drinking alcohol or doing drugs on the job
- consistently paying workers late or not paying at all
- making racist comments or jokes
- letting jealousy and anger affect decision-making
- endangering workers with poor safety practices or no safety practices
- doing other inappropriate behavior
(2) Becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent
This is a very tough (or very easy) decision for many families to make. If this decision is something you and your spouse are going through currently, then please do not be pressured into feeling you have to work outside the home to be a fully developed human being. Being a stay-at-home parent is perfectly acceptable as long as you can pay your bills on-time and not accumulate debts.
In order to prepare for this season in life, try living on only one income for 3 months while you are still working. If you succeed at this task, then go ahead and let your employer know your family’s decision for you to become a stay-at-home parent. And again, please do not feel pressured into staying at work. And please, only come back to work when you want to come back to work.
(3) Spouse Works Significantly Far Away
Often this affects newly married couples and military couples the most. It also affects couples who have a spouse that has received a dream job offer in a distant city. If you and your spouse work with employers that are hundreds and thousands of miles apart, then you have a pretty arduous decision ahead of you: determining which one of you has to quit.
This can be very difficult because both spouses may love their jobs; however, spouses need to love each other more than their jobs. Firstly, seek to see if you can just transfer within your current company. Secondly, if this is not possible or takes too much lead-time, then you will have to quit. This does not have to be an immediate resignation, but you definitely need to get the ball rolling in that direction.
(4) Becoming an Entrepreneur
Do not do this on a whim. Only do this if your hobby or “side hustle” has become lucrative enough that you can afford to quit your day job. The romanticism of being a business owner fades quickly if you cannot put food on your dinner table. However, if your business is capable of paying you similarly to or more than what you are making currently, then by all means, quit!
Careful: Just be sure not to burn any bridges with your current employer. You may need them to hire you back in the future if your business flops.
(5) Seeking More Pay or More Opportunity
Sometimes you reach the proverbial glass ceiling. Many large companies do not give pay increases very often, or they give pay increases yearly but at a 1% or 2% rate. Meanwhile, many smaller companies only have a handful of employees so opportunities for promotion are pretty slim. In order to grow and reach your potential, you are going to have to quit. However, make sure you have a new job first!
Depending on the situation, some people may call you greedy for making a move. Take their opinion with a grain of salt though—while your mentors may have your best interest at heart, other people may just be green-eyed with envy.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER VALID REASONS TO QUIT BESIDES THESE?