A new Associated Press story notes that more people quit their jobs in the past three months than were laid off and the government says professionals have newfound confidence; proof of more hiring and a strengthening national economy.

From my research and interviews with professionals, the main reason for quitting is employees being tied to a job they really don’t want to be doing in the first place; in other words, if you asked people what they REALLY want to do, they typically don’t list their current job as their passion.

Often, employees don’t feel adequately compensated and feel limited in terms of opportunity for promotions.  Others are bored – their work is unexciting, repetitive and dull.  I’ve also heard from folks who are constantly harassed and belittled by their superiors. Others simply can’t stand being in a politically charged office environment.

What so many employers don’t realize is that simple non-monetary incentives goes a long way in keeping good employees.  A regular acknowledgment for doing a good job as well as performance plans that gives employees goals and opportunities to move up in the organization are a few incentives.  Broader internal culture strategies and emphasis on internal communications and transparency also helps employees to feel as if they are part of a team.

When to quit?

But at the end of the day, quitting is a BIG decision so make SURE you are quitting for the right reasons.

If there’s a problem, can it be fixed?

Is there a way to transfer into another department?

Didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for?  Figure out why and take the criticism to heart.

Feeling as if the boss doesn’t like you?  Confront them with specific reasons and try to talk it out!

Feeling harassed at work?  Go visit the HR Department.

Sometimes it’s a simple attitude adjustment on your part.

If you do decide to quit, plan it out the best you can.

  • Ideally it’s best to have another job lined up, but if that’s not the case, start saving money so that you can have a 3-6 month cushion while you are hunting for a new job.
  • Start to talk to folks you trust and let them know that you are considering moving on.  The best way to secure a new job is to network.  Do you have a client or a vendor who you are particularly friendly who would be a good prospect?  What about peers in your industry or folks you know at a competing business?
  • Start researching companies and industries you want to work in.  See where direct connections to these companies exist for you: friends, family, neighbors, peers, etc.
  • Make sure you have created an updated resume and/or portfolio.
  • Start saving your work documents/files.  If you do quit, often you are locked out from your computer so you should start saving stuff right away.
  • If available, take advantage of your current employer’s tuition reimbursement program to gain new skills for future employment.

Also, be professional when you quit – even if you are angry, make sure your resignation letter is not a diatribe about how awful your job was and what an a-hole you found your boss to be.  This company may be called by the next company you apply to.

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