Top 10 Good Reasons for Leaving a Job

November 30, 2023

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13 min read

A Black woman with a natural, afro hair style in a grey, long-sleeve shirt scrolls on her phone while standing in an office building.

If you’re unhappy at work, chances are, you’re not the only one. There are many good reasons for leaving a job, and you likely won’t work in the same position for your entire life. 

We’ll explain the top 10 good reasons for leaving a job, as well as ways to explain your reasoning for leaving, and what not to say when you leave. 

Top 10 Reasons for Leaving a Job

Eventually, at some point in your life, you’ll probably want to leave your current position for one reason or another. This is completely normal and expected. Whether you’re pursuing a new opportunity, furthering your education, or simply unhappy in your current position, industry, or company, your decision is yours alone. 

Keep in mind that there are many valid, good reasons for leaving your job. As such, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Here are the top 10 good reasons for leaving a job, in no particular order. 

1. You want to advance in your career.

For many people, career advancement is one of the most common reasons for leaving a job. Their current company might not have much room for advancement. For example, you may be unable to switch teams, rise up in the company, or take on new roles and responsibilities. If you’re feeling stagnant in your career goals, it could be time to move on to a more advanced position. 

Look for new opportunities with many chances for advancement, such as companies that have the exact position and roles you’re looking for. 

2. You’re currently working in a toxic work environment. 

If you work in a toxic work environment, it’s definitely time to consider moving on. Not only is it an unpleasant type of workplace to work in, but it’s also detrimental to both your physical and mental health. These types of work environments lead to lower employee retention rates and even quiet quitting

You can always speak with your manager or an HR representative to discuss your concerns and brainstorm solutions. However, toxic work environments can’t be fixed overnight. It’s definitely something to consider.

3. It’s difficult to have a good work-life balance at your current company or role.

Having a good work-life balance is more important than many people realize. If you struggle to balance the two, it could be a sign that it’s time to move on. For example, if your employer doesn’t offer sick time or vacation days, this could easily lead to burnout. 

Working non-traditional hours or working more than 8 hours a day can also take a toll. If you constantly work overtime, this could be a red flag that you don’t have a good work-life balance. 

If you’ve noticed this issue and you’ve taken steps to mitigate it and improve your work-life balance but the situation hasn’t improved, consider branching out to other companies. 

4. There isn’t much room to grow or develop at your current job. 

Most people like to be able to grow, develop, learn new skills, and build up their foundation of knowledge. But when you work for an employer that doesn’t offer room for growth, this can be problematic. 

Lack of growth opportunities can happen at companies of any size. There might not be any open positions or perhaps you’ve already climbed to the top of the ladder. Whatever the case may be, it’s a very valid reason for leaving a job. 

5. The benefits and salary at your current job aren’t great. 

Not being sufficiently paid for the work you do is another good reason for leaving a job. Perhaps your salary is subpar or you haven’t received a raise or promotion like you imagined you would. If you feel dissatisfied with your pay, you’re not alone.

It might be a good idea to do some research to confirm whether or not you’re underpaid for the work you do. For example, you can use a site like Glassdoor or ZipRecruiter to see the average salary for your title and role. You can go further and compare salaries by location and level of experience, too.

Similarly, your benefits package might not meet your needs or expectations. For example, if you wear contact lenses and your employer doesn’t offer vision, it could be time to explore other options.

6. You don’t feel appreciated or valued by your employer. 

It’s essential — especially for companies with low employee retention and job satisfaction rates — to make sure your employees feel valued and appreciated. When you feel unappreciated or undervalued, it can be hard to feel excited and engaged about your work. 

When your achievements and contributions go unnoticed, it can translate to job dissatisfaction. 

Many companies have employee benefits and employee recognition programs to help improve this issue. If you relate to feeling unappreciated, finding a company with a more rewarding workplace could be a good idea. 

7. You don’t agree with the company’s overall mission, ethics, or morals. 

Many companies openly state their mission and company values for both customers and employees to see. However, not everyone always agrees with a business’ ethics or morals. 

If you don’t feel aligned with your employer’s values, this counts as a good reason for leaving your job. It’s not easy to stay motivated and enthusiastic about the work you do if you don’t agree with it. 

For example, if you’re very passionate about the environment and sustainability but you work for a business that supports fracking, it could be difficult to feel engaged in your work. Instead, try exploring other employers whose values align with yours. 

8. A new job opportunity opened up that you feel you need to pursue. 

This is one of the most exciting reasons for leaving a job: a new opportunity recently opened up. Maybe a former coworker offered you a position at their new startup company or maybe your lifelong dream job is available at another business. Whatever the case may be, this is a totally reasonable (and thrilling) reason to leave your job. 

If a new opportunity presents itself but you’re unsure, definitely take a few days to consider. Although changing career paths or even just positions can be daunting and scary, it can also be life-changing in the best way. 

9. You want to further your education.  

Some people join the workforce to gain some experience in their industry of choice, but end up wanting to further their education. This is another exciting reason for leaving a job. 

For example, you might want to go back to college to earn a master’s degree or a doctorate in a subject you specialize in. You could also get a bachelor’s degree in a completely different field if it’s something you’re interested in. It’s one of the most common reasons for leaving a job and can lead to new opportunities down the line. 

10. There are other reasons outside of work that require you to leave your job. 

Sometimes, your reasons for leaving a job might be completely unrelated to your current job. Many people have family obligations — such as taking care of their parents or raising kids — that require them to leave their job. Sometimes, it’s an emergency situation. 

If you need to leave your job for personal reasons, know you’re not alone. You have to make the right choice for you, your family, and your goals and aspirations. 

How to Explain Your Reasons for Leaving a Job

When you give your reasons for leaving your job, there’s a good chance your employer will ask you why you’ve come to that decision. Even if you feel like you were clear, they might want more clarification as to what in particular led you to feel that way.

If you’re in that situation, knowing how to explain your reasons for leaving a job is essential. 

What should you say as your reasons for leaving your job?

Although there are many valid reasons for leaving a job, you might not feel comfortable directly sharing all of them. Even though “honesty is the best policy,” as the age-old saying goes, some people fear that being honest with an employer in this way could harm them in the future. You can also honestly explain your reasons for leaving your job without simply listing your grievances. 

For example, you could explain that you’re just looking for a career change or a change of pace. Plenty of people like to pivot in their career at some point in their lives and that’s completely normal. Employers should respect this reason. 

In a similar vein, you could say that you’re looking to grow your skills in the same industry but in another position. Not all companies have room for growth. If you work for a small magazine with three co-owners and you’re already the main editor, there may not be much room for growth as the chances of them promoting you further are slim. Even if it’s a large company, it can be difficult to transition to another team or department, so growing in your industry in another company and role makes sense. 

If your reasons for leaving your job involve education, feel free to explicitly explain this to your employer. Many people leave their position to pursue their education. For example, maybe you want to earn your master’s or doctorate in a field that you specialize in. Or perhaps you’d like to study for a bachelor’s degree in a completely different field. Whatever the case may be, your employer should be understanding. 

What should you never say as your reasons for leaving your job?

There are also some things you should never say as your reasons for leaving a job. 

For example, never say you outright “hate” a company or your job, even if you feel that way. Saying this, especially to your employer or another, can be detrimental and can come off as unprofessional. 

Similarly, even if you think your job was boring or tedious, don’t list that as one of your reasons for leaving your job. It’s not unusual to feel dissatisfied with your job, but this too can give off an unprofessional attitude, even if it’s not your intention. 

If your main reason for leaving your job was that you wanted more pay, don’t bring that up, either. Even though it’s completely normal to be motivated by pay and want an increased salary, it can seem flippant and rude. For example, if you’re leaving the company for a job with better pay, you could just say you’re pursuing other opportunities, which is true. 

It’s important not to burn any bridges by coming off as rude or unprofessional when you explain your reasons for leaving your job. Even if you’re positive you never want to work for the company again, you never know what could happen in the future. 

5 Tips for Explaining Your Reasons for Leaving a Job

Explaining your reasons for leaving a job isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be pretty difficult sometimes, depending on the situation. 

Here are five simple tips to explain your reasons for leaving a job. 

  1. Practice explaining your reasons for leaving a job. Pretend like you’re speaking with your employer face-to-face. You can even use a communication technology tool like Yoodli to get more insight into how your responses might sound to an employer. Practicing what you’re going to say before you say it can give you more confidence when you have this conversation with your boss or HR representative. 
  2. Keep your explanation brief and to the point. One of the pitfalls people sometimes fall into when explaining their reasons for leaving a job is rambling on and on or going on a monologue. To avoid this, make sure your explanation is concise. 
  3. Make sure your reasons for leaving a job are honest. You want to be transparent, but you don’t want to come off as flippant or rude. For example, if your reason for leaving is that you don’t like working in a toxic environment, rephrase it. Instead of saying, “This work environment is toxic,” you could say something like, “I want to explore other opportunities to get experience in other environments.” 
  4. Try to give it a positive spin. Similarly, try to include some positivity in when you explain your reasons for leaving a job. You don’t want to focus on the negatives, even if your reasoning is negative. You can instead frame your resignation as a positive career step. For example, you can describe your new opportunity as a means of growing in the industry or explain your thirst for knowledge and new challenges. 
  5. Be enthusiastic during your conversation. Even if you’re dissatisfied at this job, be enthusiastic when you explain your reasons for leaving your job. That’s where the aforementioned positive spin comes in. Displaying positive body language can help, too. 

What to Do After You Leave a Job

After you’ve shared your reasons for leaving your job and have quit, the next question you’ll have to answer for yourself is, “What’s next?”

Unless you’re receiving severance pay, one of your first moves might be to find a new job. 

Once you’re ready to start applying to new positions, it’ll also be time to start preparing for interviews. As soon as you’ve applied to a few positions — before you’ve even received interview requests — plan to practice interview questions to brush up on your skills. 

One great way to do this is through Yoodli. This is a free, downloadable app that helps you improve not just your interviewing skills, but also your communication abilities as a whole. However, Yoodli’s virtual interview simulation will specifically come in handy after you’ve considered your reasons to leave a job. Here’s how it works.

Yoodli will pose interview questions and as you respond, the app analyzes your answers and provides meaningful data and metrics. For example, you’ll be able to see measurable information about your: 

  • Speaking pace
  • Word choice
  • Inclusive language usage (including any alternatives if you accidentally use non-inclusive language)
  • Filler word usage, among other insights

You’ll also get a transcript of how you answered each question with exactly what you said and when. 

You can easily practice interviewing for a new job with Yoodli when you’re ready.

By providing you with this data, you’ll be able to skip all the guesswork and go directly to improving the way you interview. Plus, the interview simulation is totally customizable. You can change the tone of the conversation from friendly to a more serious one. 

You can also change up the questions Yoodli asks you by inputting your own. This is helpful if you’re applying for a particular role so you can practice with industry-specific questions. For example, you could work on a few content marketing interview questions or even company-specific queries, like Capital One interview questions.

Regardless, you can use the metrics provided and Yoodli’s personalized and actionable feedback to prepare for your next role after you’ve given your reasons for leaving your job. 

The Key Takeaway 

At the end of the day, there are tons of valid, good reasons for leaving a job. Although you don’t necessarily have to explain yourself or defend your reasons for leaving your job, it can be helpful to prepare to do so. Using a comprehensive tool like Yoodli can help make all the difference. 

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