17 honest reasons to leave your job

It’s the inevitable interview question that everyone dreads: “Why did you leave your last job?”

Your answer will help a potential employer understand what drives you, or what you cannot abide in a workplace, or perhaps what they can expect from you should they offer you a position. It’s a telling indicator of your personality and workplace values, so your answer must ensure you leave a good impression.

If you’re looking for a way to phrase your answer to this complicated question, read on to see 17 honest and completely acceptable reasons for leaving your current job.

1. A better deal is on the table 

Whether it’s a step up in your career, more opportunities for future growth, a higher salary, or improved benefits, a better deal is a perfectly valid reason to leave. This shows any potential new employer that you are looking for growth that you cannot find in your current role – but may be able to at their company.

2. You do not enjoy your work 

If you are currently in a role where you simply do not get any enjoyment from the work, you have every reason to look for a new job. While all jobs have tough days, you should at least get some satisfaction from completing the work, and whether you’ve felt that way since day one or have grown to dislike your duties, it’s definitely time for a change.

3. You decide to pursue other goals

Leaving a job to pursue goals outside of work is another worthy reason to quit. Perhaps you wanted to retrain for a new career as an accountant, devote time to travelling, or something else.

4. You have not been promoted

Career stagnation can be difficult to deal with, so if you have been working hard for years without any options, promises or offers of promotions, you may choose to leave for a company where a promotion is a possibility.

5. Your boss left the company

It’s not uncommon for team members to leave after a manager has moved on, especially if a new boss comes in with a vision that goes against your beliefs of how the job should be done. You may decide to leave simply because you see it as a sign that it’s your time to go as well, or if you don’t believe you can work through your differences with the new manager.

6. You are overqualified for your position 

Some people will accept a position knowing that they are overqualified for the role, simply because they need a job or like the benefits that come with the company. Eventually, working on projects and tasks beneath your qualifications can become dull. Your potential new employer will recognise the fact that you are looking for more of a challenge, and will appreciate it.

7. You are ready for a more stable position

If your old job involves freelancing or working from home, it’s an entirely different world to a normal 9-5 office job. While there are certainly perks to this lifestyle, it’s also understandable that you may feel it’s time to find something more stable.

8. Family circumstances influenced your decision

A change of priorities can mean that your family situation will need to come first. Whether that’s looking after an unwell loved one, or staying home with the kids, it’s a perfectly valid reason to leave a job.

9. You left to start your own business

Starting your own business shows initiative, drive, and real business acumen. Perhaps you have now sold the company, or maybe your venture wasn’t as successful as you had hoped, but your new potential employer should recognise the determination it takes to try to start your own company.

10. You have no options for a higher salary 

While a salary isn’t everything in a job, it can be a major part of leaving a company. If your current boss ignores your questions concerning a pay rise, or there is no option for a salary increase in the future, looking elsewhere for more financial incentives is completely understandable.

11. Your work conditions are not what you were promised

Did your employer promise an excellent work-life balance, then you ended up working nights and weekends? Whatever the case may be, if your work and environment are not what were promised to you, it makes sense to search for a new job that can fulfil your expectations.

12. You feel burnt out 

If you start to feel like you ‘hate’ everything about your job, it’s possible you are completely burnt out. It may be the office politics, the workload, the stress levels, or something else, but if you get to this stage, it can be better for you and your company to start afresh somewhere new. 

13. Your work schedule takes over your life

A work-life balance is important in any role, so if you feel uncomfortable with the hours you’re putting in month after month, it may be time to move on.

14. You or your workplace has relocated

If you suddenly find yourself living a long way from work, you may wish to move to a new company that offers a shorter or easier commute every day.

15. Your company is doing layoffs

Finding a new job is always exciting, but that excitement can turn to anxiety and concern if the company begins the layoff process in your department. If this happens to you, looking for a more secure position is warranted.

16. You were fired

If you were fired from your last position, be honest about that fact. If you truly made a mistake that led to that decision, be clear with your potential new employer that you have learned from your mistake and show them how you plan to never repeat it.

17. Your gut tells you it’s time to go

A gut decision doesn’t always have to be supported by logic, but it can still be a great mentor. It can help to decide to move on and to find the right new position for you.

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