So you've contemplated it for weeks which turned to months, which maybe turned into years and now you're ready to make your big move. Quitting. A bold move in life that many see as a huge negative. "Why quit you're job! I know you hate it, but then you won't get to buy stuff". I've recently decided to move away from my current employer in search of better and bigger places. After 4 long arduous and tedious years, they pushed my hand. Over the course of these 4 years, I have had the urge to quit this job repeatedly bi-annually for varying reasons, and usually, I just drink a lot, play video games for 4 or 5 hours, and the feeling goes away and back I go for another fun fest quarter. And I've learned that's a terrible habit to obtain. It's both bad for you, as it is your life ticking down faster than you can count and bad for your employer who has an employee doing the bare minimum to get through their days.
So I will compile the top reasons why I have had the need to leave my position, some of which, I'm sure, everybody has encountered. They'll be ordered by my personal level of randomness. I'll try and explain as many as I can to give a better understanding. And with that, let us begin:
Because Learning Things Is So Last Year
If you spend 5 years in a company, let's say from 2005-2010 and all you've done is update HTML and make a few CSS updates then believe me, that next job in 2010 will destroy you. Technology jumped leaps and bounds ahead of its time in that time period. Making a website in 2010 won't be the same in 2020 and only some people will be able to keep up.
Because You Have Forgotten How To Think
This has happened to me on occasion. Writing code is both my job and my hobby. I go home and do it for hours. I read tons of coding material all the time, and constantly keep updating my libraries with new stuff. But at work, I have to work with what someone wrote over a decade ago. Turns out, things were very different back then. Classic ASP anyone? Sometimes, you just need to move forward, or you will get left behind, and that next higher paying job will be that much more difficult to attain.
Because Everyone Quit Except You
When I started at my current/last employer, we were a tight knit group of 4 programmers constantly busy, and not afraid to stay late Friday nights to finish up a project. That was 4 years ago. 3 of those people left long ago for bigger and better things. Can you guess who the awesome guy that stayed was? That is correct. One of the best parts about having a career, is that you get to work with like minded people. I can't talk to my family about AJAX, but during lunch at work, I'd really let go. Sometimes, many times, you get really comfortable in your daily routine so much that you won't do anything to rock the boat. I had an apartment, a running vehicle, food money and some savings left over in case things got rough and so I told myself that everything was on course for success. Move forward one year though, without those 3 other people and I realized that this job isn't any fun at all without other people to share it with.
Because You Feel Like You Will Be Fired At Some Point
I make it a point to never stay where I'm not wanted. With new management comes new perspectives. Where as before I was the senior most guy in my group always up for a QA session with members of my team, I am now the guy that works on that one site over there, and oh yeah, let's rewrite his website into some language he doesn't know. Reading between the lines I am. But this can apply to anyone. Sometimes you hear rumors that management isn't happy with your department, or that maybe they're thinking of downsizing. Then you spend the next 6 months going to work terrified that it will be your last day, and that's just not fun.
Personally I don't worry about that anymore. I've more than comfortable not having a job for a set period of time and the way I see it, it's the companies loss if a hard working employee leaves. At one of my last jobs I got the feeling that maybe I was getting pushed out slowly by made up warnings and impromptu meetings that were meant to annoy me more than anything. So instead of worrying about it, I gave a handshake and took my leave. That department doesn't exist anymore. All that was left was a new manager with fresh ideas that he picked up from management blogs, and so it drove itself into the ground. You should never go into work wondering if you will be fired. Your employer should go into work wondering if they will lose a good employee.
Because After 5 Years, You Need To Move Out Of Your Parents House
Salary is important, if you're poor that is. If you're rich then "Dude that's only like 900$ becomes a common catch phrase". I am the former. I became a software developer so that I could help my family out and maybe help out others in need in the process. I do not have 900$. And no I do not currently live in my parents spare room, although I might soon. Thank you Mom and Dad. But with more experience, you expect more pay, since you "should" technically have a higher role every day you go to work. If you're pushing 40 and still make less than the median for interns in your field, then it's time to vamoose.
Because Yearly Raises Should Not Come Every 3 Years
Ahem..2011. I'm still waiting. After 3 years, let's be honest, you will be doing much more than you thought you would be at any job. People will have left, you will have learned new things, and you will have become the go to person for random issues that no one else seems to understand. This was an issue at a previous company where I worked, where employees were promised raises "real soon", leaving them feeling happy and working harder for that week. Then 2 weeks. Then 3 weeks. And employees aren't as enthusiastic anymore. A company that makes false promises to its employees just so that they can crank out as much as possible before they leave is not a company you'd want to work for.
Because The Day You Quit Was The Best Day Ever
That's me right now. I don't have a job lined up yet, and I'm not too sure what next week holds, or next month even. But I am 100% certain, that this, is how life should feel. I have the time now to work on personal projects that I've had on my plate for months but that I was too busy to get started on. This blog for example. I like writing and I like coding and now I can do both here for anyone interested in reading it.
Because Life Is Short And Jobs Just Plain Suck
My dad tells me that all the time. And it's true. If you hate your life, you're doing something wrong. And of course I'm not saying if something is difficult don't do it and find an easier route. When my job was difficult, I enjoyed it, because I was doing new things all the time. But if you're constantly saying "well this task is a waste of my week" or "you want me to delete everything I just did?", then it's probably time to move on. Sometimes jobs just plain suck, and you need to step away from them for a moment and live life.
Because It's The Only Way To Experience New Things In Life
New people, new environment, new city. And it's awesome. I've had friends move across the country for new jobs leaving alot behind, and as I scroll through their Facebook picture posts in my pajamas eating ramen at midnight telling myself "eh, we're almost the same", I came to realize that..eating cold ramen at midnight, is not the same. But you don't need to move across the country to experience new things. Maybe you've never seen snow, or have gone camping or have gone to Vegas. And maybe your job has you tied up so much that you can barely pick up Panda Express for dinner. 5 days a week, 8 hours a day is a huge sacrifice in your life and most people will never question it. Well question it! And go outside.
And with that, I leave you with this. These weren't all my reasons. These came from some of the best people I know and have worked with over the past 4 years. I've had good jobs, and I've had bad jobs in my career. And I came to realize that the more time you spend at the bad ones, the less time you have to enjoy the good ones. So if any of these sound familiar, then maybe it's time to make a big change in your life.
Walter Guevara is a software engineer, startup founder and currently teaches programming for a coding bootcamp. He is currently building things that don't yet exist.
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