List of Reasons for Leaving a Job (17 sensible reasons)

This blog article will provide a list of reasons for leaving a job. It will outline the things you should avoid saying or doing while giving suggestions for various scenarios of leaving a job.

List of Reasons for Leaving a Job

You may leave or wish to quit your job for various reasons, including:

  • You want to continue your education;
  • You do not feel valued in your job position and your company;
  • You got a better opportunity, which you would like to utilize;
  • You no longer wish to continue in this field;
  • You want a higher compensation, which the company is unwilling to offer;
  • You do not resonate with your company’s values, vision, and mission;
  • You do not find the job challenging or making use of your abilities optimally;
  • You wish to work in another industry;
  • You want opportunities that provide better career growth and development;
  • Your company is not doing very well;
  • You need to leave for reasons related to your personal or family life;
  • You are moving to a new town or city;
  • You were fired;
  • You developed a psychological or physical condition that does not permit you to work in this field or in general;
  • You do not like the work;
  • You wish to start a family and need time off;
  • You have been with the company for a long while and want a change of pace and environment;
  • Your career goals changed;
  • You do not relate to your current supervisor or boss;
  • You find the job too stressful; 
  • Your job description is no longer what you were hired for; and
  • There is no work-life balance.

What Should You Not Say or Do? 

You have understood the common and understandable reasons for people leaving their jobs. The following is a list of several things that you should not say or do while quoting reasons for leaving a job, as you may rub on the wrong side of your interviewer. 

  • Blame external factors;
  • Say you had a fight with a colleague;
  • Bring up the topic yourself;
  • Come across as impulsive and indecisive; 
  • Make money everything;
  • Hesitate while talking;
  • Speak ill of your company, boss, or colleagues; and
  • Be vague 

Blame external factors

If you were fired or had a misunderstanding with your boss that led to your leaving the job, do not entirely absolve yourself of any responsibility, and blame external factors. You do not have to assume all responsibility but own up to the actions for which you are accountable. Saying “I was at no fault” is potentially worse than saying, “everything was my fault.”

Strike a balance and take personal responsibility for the things you did and convey the lessons you learned from these actions. If you come across as adamant or unwilling to take responsibility and learn from your past, getting a job can be challenging.  

Say you fought with a colleague

It is not uncommon for people to disagree on professional matters. Getting fired or having professional disagreements can be expected in any organization. However, when you state that you faced disharmony on an individual scale, it poorly reflects you. They may suspect your ability to get along with employees in their company.  

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Bring up the topic yourself

Unless they ask for reasons, do not bring it up. You are under no pressure to reveal the reasons unless you are asked to state them. 

If you have the urge to explain yourself, find spontaneous ways of talking about it. You could talk about all the critical career changes or steps in your life when asked to talk about yourself. 

Come across as impulsive and indecisive

Employers want to see commitment and dedication. If you sound like you decided to leave the job and are unclear on where you want to go from here, they may find you incompetent to contribute to their organization effectively. 

Therefore, after you quit, or get fired or laid off, take time to introspect and understand what you would like to do with your career, where you want to go, and how. 

Make money everything

If you left your previous job because you wanted a higher compensation, do not mention only this. Along with it, say how the organization can benefit from your skills and knowledge. 

Hesitate while talking

If you hesitate while telling your interviewer your reason for leaving your job, you may seem like you are either lying or lack self-confidence, both of which are detrimental to your chances of landing a job. Therefore, once you have framed your reason wisely, practice it several times, either by recording yourself or reciting it in front of a mirror. 

You do not have to memorize your reasons verbatim. Ensure you seem confident while maintaining your calm and composure. 

Speak ill of your company, boss, or colleagues

Badmouthing is commonly and understandably frowned upon as interviewers might see it as reflective of your personality and ability to take up responsibility. They might assume that you would treat their company the same way, and do so could be damaging to their reputation. 

You must own up to your actions and even if there was no fault of yours, never speak ill of your company, boss, or even colleagues. 

Be unclear

Being precise and straightforward about why you left your job is essential. It is particularly crucial if you were laid-off or fired. Using vague terminologies like “I was let go” can create suspicion in your interviewer as it can make them question various things. 

If you are direct and clear about being fired or laid-off, it fosters a sense of trust in them and can help things move smoother and quicker. 

Tips for Various Scenarios 

You could leave your various reasons and under different circumstances. Let us look at suggestions to keep in mind for multiple scenarios, such as:

  • When You Have Been Laid Off
  • When You Quit
  • When You Have Been Fired

When You Have Been Laid Off

The primary difference between being laid off and getting fired is that the former is usually the employer’s fault while the latter is due to the employee’s wrongdoing. Layoffs are situational due to the ever-changing business weather and patterns. 

Ensure that you state the facts clearly and precisely. Avoid displaying your opinion or emotions and be as objective as possible. Do not show resentment or anger toward your organization and its constituents, including your employer. To begin, say something along the lines of the following pointers:

  • “The organization is changing structure, which affected my job position.”
  • “The changes in the organization led to insufficient workload, which disrupted your roles and responsibilities.”

Layoffs are typically unfortunate happenstances that employers are considerate toward and will express their understanding. You can state your reasons clearly while keeping in mind the following suggestions:

  • “I was unable to be immersed in the product at all times, which made it challenging to express its value to prospective consumers. I realized that it was not a suitable role for me and that my interests truly lie with your company’s product or goals.”    
  • “I did not possess the required skills and knowledge to carry out the responsibilities of the job, which is why I am looking into opportunities that could optimally tap into my potential and strengths.”

When You Quit

Several reasons could drive you to quit your job, but specific ones come across better than others to most employers. Assuming that you graciously resigned from your job after careful consideration, ensure you disclose information that would be agreed upon by your ex-employer if they were to do a fact-check. It is uncommon for such checks to happen, but it is best to be prepared. 

Instead of using words like quit, you can consider verbalizing in the following ways.

  • “I voluntarily separated from the organization.”
  • “I resigned because…”
  • “I wanted to pursue other opportunities.”

Even if you resigned due to conflicts or professional discord, it is best to avoid blaming the company or employer as it reflects poorly on you. 

When You Have Been Fired

First and foremost, there are company policies in place regarding the disclosure of information upon being fired. Consult your Human Resource manager to understand these policies. Ensure you gain clarity on what you are allowed to tell your recruiter regarding the previous company as a violation of these regulations could result in monetary penalties. 

Take up responsibility while not assuming too much of the same. Strike a balance between owning up to your actions and clearing the air regarding your competencies.  

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Conclusion

This blog article summarized a list of reasons for leaving a job, enumerated the things you should not say or do while answering questions while quoting these reasons, and provided suggestions for various scenarios. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): A List of Reasons for Leaving a Job

Why do productive employees quit?

Productive and good employees usually quit because: 

They found an opportunity with better pay;
They do not feel challenged anymore;
There is a lack of career growth and leadership opportunities; or
They are dissatisfied with the management.

What is the best answer to give for leaving your job?

There is no ideal reason for leaving a job. If you quit your job to look for better opportunities, you could say something along the lines of reaching your potential and that there are no further growth opportunities for you with your previous company. 

You could add that the current company provides the chance to acquire knowledge and gain new experiences that would allow you to develop in your career.  

Which is better – getting fired or quitting?

Getting fired and quitting have their respective pros and cons. You are viewed in a more positive light if you leave rather than get fired. However, quitting robs you of the entitlements that you receive if you get fired. 

How do I cope with a toxic workplace? Should I stay or quit?

You can cope with a toxic workplace by doing the following things:

Allow yourself some time but ensure you place a deadline to leave the workplace;
If your supervisor is changed or some significant alterations to your management are made, start making plans to quit;
Keep checking for job openings;
Do not stay in a company for extended periods; and
Assess your mental and physical health, as they indicate toxicity, which implies that you must seek professional health and make plans to quit. 

All these suggestions imply that you must never stay in a toxic company. Leave as soon as you notice signs of toxicity. 

References

Indeed. (2020, October 19). How to Explain Your Reasons for Leaving a Job (With Examples). Retrieved from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/how-to-explain-your-reasons-for-leaving-a-job.  

Clark, B. (n.d.). Best Answers for “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job” – 20 Good Reasons for Leaving. Career Sidekick. Retrieved from https://careersidekick.com/why-did-you-leave-your-last-job-answers/.  

Doyle, A. (2019, September 13). What to List as a Reason for Leaving on a Job Application. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/listing-a-reason-for-leaving-on-job-applications-2061580  

Glassdoor. (n.d.). How to Explain Your Reasons for Leaving a Job. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/how-to-explain-your-reasons-for-leaving-a-job/.  

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Sara Quitlag is an Applied Psychologist, with a deep interest in psychopathology and neuropsychology and how psychology impacts and permeates every aspect of our environment. She has worked in Clinical settings (as Special Ed. Counselor, CBT Therapist) and has contributed at local Universities as a Faculty member from time to time. She has a graduate degree in English Literature and feels very connected to how literature and psychology interact. She feels accountable and passionate about making a "QUALITY" contribution to the overall global reform and well-being. She actively seeks out opportunities where she can spread awareness and make a positive difference across the globe for the welfare of our global society.