When the economy is in the doldrums, many of us look at the silver lining, i.e., to have a job and overlook the negatives associated with the job we hold. When times are better, moving from one job to another becomes a relatively common activity. People change jobs for different reasons; this post will look at some of the primary drivers of such a decision (I am not counting people leaving a job to start their own business).

Lack of Career Advancement

There are some jobs that could be classified as dead-end ones. This is probably common in small firms (say, <50 employees). As an example, someone hired as an administrative assistant or accountant can continue for decades in that position, assuming the company is still around. A small firm is unlikely to have an administrative supervisor or accounts manager position on their payroll. So, it becomes difficult for the person employed in the role of administrative assistant or accountant to rise up the corporate ladder in that company despite several years’ experience. Boosting one’s qualifications may help but chances are good that the employee can get a better offer elsewhere with their newly-attained degree/diploma.

Some people may prefer to stay despite lack of career growth for several reasons such as an extremely likable work culture, friendly co-workers, no corporate games, proximity to home, decent wage/salary and benefits package, etc. Of course, I am overlooking certain extraordinary cases where an accountant in a small firm could get an MBA and be/become good enough to lead the company.

Lack of Mental Stimulation

This one is probably related to lack of career advancement but sometimes, getting a promotion may still not throw up enough challenges and some people need them to thrive. Doing routine tasks without any hope for something new to stimulate the brain cells can drive some people to their breaking point and such employees are liable to jump ships in search of more challenging work.

Changing Professions

Sometimes, people may realize that they do not like their area of expertise and want to shift tracks (think a chemist with an aptitude for sales). However, the present company may not need a new salesperson or be willing to let go of a good employee from his present (chemist’s) role. In such a scenario, the employee is left with no choice but to seek employment elsewhere.

The path of changing professions would be made easier for the employee if he can train in his desired field at the present company, as it is harder, though not impossible (with transferable skills), to land a job in a new field of expertise with past experience in a different one.

Unhealthy (to the body and mind) Work Environment

Certain jobs can be taxing physically – people with knee problems can find it a struggle if their job involves climbing a set of stairs multiple times every day. There are other jobs where the mental stress can push people to the edge – constantly attending (mostly useless) meetings, unending lineup of project deadlines, having to fire people, dealing with obnoxious co-workers and backstabbing, etc. could all be contributors. Such work environments are not worth the physical and/or mental stress and employees typically bolt before they do irreparable damage to themselves or someone else.

Personal/Family Reasons

A spouse getting transferred or having to move cities to be close to a newly-found loved one are also common instigators of a job change.

Irrespective of the cause, employees looking to change jobs would do well to line a new one up before giving in their notice and leave without burning bridges.

How has your career journey been? Did you change jobs for one of the reasons mentioned above or did I miss any other common causes? Did your new job take the same path as the old one giving you a sense of deja vu?

About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism.  You can read his other articles here.

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  1. JAMES on May 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

    When you wake up in the morning and dread getting in the car to go to work, you know it is time to find another job.

  2. Howard Hare on May 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    When you walk into your office and someone is sitting in your chair.

  3. jbearr33 on May 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I’ve worked in an organization where I just wasn’t comfortable with the direction things were going. The atmosphere was ok, the pay was good, but it was very difficult to see where the organization was going or if managment had any plans for the future. I left for another company in the same industry, but its leaders had vision, and this renewed my own sense of purpsoe for why I show up to work each day. What a difference to have a purpose beyond just the paycheque.

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