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  1. Blog
  2. Career Development
  3. June 27, 2023

15 Good Reasons for Leaving a Job & How to Talk About Them in an Interview

Example language that will land you your dream job

Leaving your job for a good reason
Photo courtesy of Nick Fewings

Are there good reasons for leaving a job? Absolutely.

Imagine this: Preethi, a talented software engineer, finds herself trapped in a job that no longer fulfills her. The long hours, lack of growth opportunities, and toxic work environment have taken a toll on her mental and emotional wellbeing. Eventually, she musters the courage to take a step toward a brighter future by resigning from her current position without a job lined up (but with plenty of recruiter messages in her LinkedIn DMs).

This is just one example of a time when leaving a job can be a necessary and positive decision—there are many more.

Let’s explore the other various and compelling reasons to leave a job, how to communicate this decision with your boss, and what to say when an interviewer asks about why you left.

15 good reasons for leaving a job 

1. There’s a lack of personal growth

Seeking new challenges and fresh avenues for growth opens yours up to broader horizons and the potential for a more rewarding career.

2. The work environment is toxic

A toxic work environment characterized by constant negativity, hostility, or harassment can severely impact your mental health, overall wellbeing, and job satisfaction. Prioritizing your mental and emotional health by seeking a healthier work environment is a valid reason to leave a job and pursue greener pastures. Read more about quitting a job for mental health reasons here

3. There’s inadequate compensation and/or benefits

When your job fails to provide fair compensation and benefits that align with your skills, qualifications, and market standards, it can be demoralizing and lead to feelings of undervaluation. Sometimes knowing your worth means leaving for a new and better opportunity. 

4. There’s no work-life balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for personal happiness and overall life satisfaction. Seek a job that respects your boundaries and allows for a harmonious integration of work and personal life.

5. Your values aren’t aligned

Misalignment of values can significantly impact your job satisfaction, motivation, and overall sense of purpose in your work. Leaving a job that contradicts your values allows you to find employment where you can contribute to a mission or cause that resonates with you. 

6. You want to change careers

Exploring a different industry or profession provides an opportunity to pursue a passion, discover new interests, and embark on a more fulfilling career path.

7. The company has limited learning opportunities

Seeking a job that offers continuous learning and skill development ensures your professional growth and keeps you engaged in your work.

8. Leadership is ineffective 

Leaving a job with ineffective leadership allows you to find a workplace where you can thrive under capable guidance, enhancing your productivity and job satisfaction.

9. Your coworkers are competitive, and it’s unhealthy

Escaping an environment of cutthroat competition fosters collaboration, teamwork, and a positive work atmosphere, leading to higher job satisfaction.

10. Your boss doesn’t recognize your achievements 

Leaving a job where your efforts go unnoticed provides a chance to find a workplace that appreciates and rewards your contributions, boosting your motivation and morale.

11. You plan to relocate 

If you need to move to a new city or country, leaving your current job enables you to find employment in your new location, providing stability and opportunities, including a community, in your new surroundings.

12. The company is unstable 

Departing from a financially unstable or volatile company protects your job security and allows you to find a more stable and secure work environment.

13. Better benefits package

Seeking a job with comprehensive benefits, such as healthcare, retirement plans, or flexible work arrangements, improves your overall well-being and work-life integration.

14. Company culture mismatch

Leaving a job with a culture that doesn't align with your values or work style allows you to find a workplace where you feel comfortable and can thrive personally and professionally.

15. Entrepreneurial aspirations 

Pursuing your own business or startup venture provides an opportunity to be your own boss, follow your passion, and take control of your professional destiny.

How to tell your boss you’re leaving your job

When it comes to informing your boss about your decision to leave your job, it's crucial to handle the conversation with professionalism, respect, and clarity. These four tips will help you navigate that situation gracefully:

1. Schedule a meeting

Request a private meeting with your boss to discuss your resignation. This will allow for a focused conversation and demonstrate respect for their time. A meeting request over email might sound like this:

Subject: Meeting Request - Important Conversation

Dear [Boss's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I would like to request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss an important matter regarding my position at [Company Name].

After careful consideration and reflection, I have made the decision to resign from my current role at [Company Name]. Please know that this decision was not taken lightly and has been driven by my personal and professional goals for growth and development.

I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have had during my time at [Company Name], and I deeply appreciate the support and guidance you and the team have provided me. The experiences and skills I have gained here will undoubtedly contribute to my future success.

In order to ensure a smooth transition, I am committed to assisting in any way I can during the handover process. I will do my best to wrap up any pending projects and document any necessary information to facilitate the transition for my successor.

I genuinely value the relationships I have built with my colleagues and the positive work environment fostered at [Company Name]. I believe it is essential to maintain a strong professional network, and I hope to stay in touch with you and the team in the future.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this further in person. Please let me know your availability, and I will adjust my schedule accordingly. Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the next steps.

Once again, thank you for your support throughout my tenure at [Company Name]. I am grateful for the experiences and growth opportunities I have had here.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

2. Be prepared and concise

When the meeting takes place, clearly state your reasons for leaving, emphasizing the positive aspects of your decision. Highlight your appreciation for the opportunities you were given and the professional growth you achieved. That might sound like this:

As I reflect on my career aspirations and long-term goals, I have realized that there are new challenges and opportunities I would like to explore. I believe that by venturing into [specific area/industry], I can expand my skill set and contribute to a different sector in a meaningful way.

I want to express my gratitude for the trust and confidence you have shown in me throughout my tenure here. The collaborative environment, along with the mentorship and feedback I received, has played a vital role in my growth and success. I am truly thankful for the professional development and achievements I have gained as a result of being a part of this team.”

3. Offer assistance with the transition

Express your willingness to facilitate a smooth handover of your responsibilities. This gesture will leave a positive impression and show your professionalism.

4. Maintain a positive attitude

Regardless of any negative experiences, maintain a professional demeanor throughout the conversation. Leaving on good terms can help preserve your professional network and leave the door open for future opportunities.

How to explain your reason for leaving a job in an interview

You’ve left that job behind—now it’s time to search for a new one. Inevitably, you’ll be asked about your reasons for leaving your previous position while interviewing, and when you are, it’s essential that you frame your response in a positive and professional manner. Employers ask this question to gain insights into your decision-making, career aspirations, and how well you handle professional challenges. It also helps them assess your compatibility with their organization and whether you align with their values and goals.

Here's why employers want to know about your reasons for leaving and how to respond effectively:

1. They’re assessing value add 

Employers want to ensure that you are a culture add to their organization. By understanding your reasons for leaving your previous job, they can gauge if there are any potential red flags or concerns that may impact your performance or longevity in their company.

What to say: "I decided to leave my previous job because I am seeking a work environment that aligns more closely with my values and career goals. I am looking for an organization where I can contribute to a collaborative team and have opportunities for growth and learning."

2. They’re assessing your problem-solving skills

Exploring your reasons for leaving can provide insights into your problem-solving abilities. Employers want to see how you handle challenges and whether you proactively seek solutions rather than remaining in an unsatisfactory situation.

What to say: "I encountered certain challenges in my previous role that limited my professional growth and the opportunity to contribute to the company's overall success. After careful consideration, I realized that by seeking a new position, I can overcome these challenges and continue to progress in my career."

3. They’re curious about your career progression

Employers want to understand how your previous job fits into your career trajectory and whether the move aligns with your long-term goals. They are interested in individuals who are motivated and focused on their professional development.

What to say: "Leaving my previous job was a strategic decision to advance my career. I felt that the opportunities for growth and development were limited, and I wanted to explore a position that would provide me with more challenging projects and the chance to take on additional responsibilities."

4. They’re looking for stability and commitment

Employers want to ascertain your level of commitment and understand any factors that may have influenced your decision to leave your previous job. They want to ensure that you are genuinely interested in the position and that you will stay with the company for a reasonable duration.

What to say: "Leaving my previous job was not a decision I took lightly. After careful consideration and reflection, I realized that in order to achieve my long-term career goals and find a better fit, it was necessary to explore new opportunities. I am committed to finding a position where I can make a meaningful impact and grow professionally."

When responding to this question, it is important to strike a balance between being honest and diplomatic. Focus on the positive aspects of your decision to leave and highlight how it aligns with your goals and aspirations. By demonstrating self-awareness, adaptability, and a proactive attitude, you can present yourself as a strong candidate for the position.

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