Why do people change jobs

Are you feeling stuck, unfulfilled, or miserable in your current job? You’re not alone. Studies show that over half of American workers hate their jobs. 

Why do people change jobs?

Man holding his headOver half of American workers hate their jobs.

What drives so many people to want to make a change? 

As an experienced mentor, I’ve seen it all and I can tell you, it’s not just about the money. There are deeper reasons why people change jobs and pursue something new.

Why Do People Change Jobs - The 6 Top Reasons

Here are the top 6 reasons people change jobs and move, from “I hate my job” to “I love what I do”, and how they found greater satisfaction and purpose in their careers. 

Life is too short to spend it in a job you hate.

#1: Lack of Opportunities

Rated as #1 in the survey of 'why do people change jobs?'

The number one reason people leave their jobs, is the lack of growth opportunities.

man looking pensiveWhen you hit a dead end in your current role or at a crossroads, it may be time to start looking elsewhere.

If you feel like you’ve hit a dead end in your current role with no room for advancement or skill development, it’s natural to start looking elsewhere. 

We all need challenges and the ability to learn and progress in our careers to feel engaged and motivated.

If you’re feeling stagnant, start by having an honest conversation with your manager about your career goals and aspirations. 

Also, be honest with yourself and write down the same questions. Give an honest answer.

You know where I’m going with this. If you have read my website, you’d know the ‘power of the notebook’, and writing down your thoughts in longhand.

man writing in a notebookDo not underestimate the ‘power of the notebook’, and writing down your thoughts in longhand.

See if there are opportunities for you to take on new projects, learn new skills, or even create a new role that better aligns with your interests. It may be time to explore other opportunities if your company can’t provide room for you to grow.

#2: Bad Management

People don’t leave ‘jobs’, they leave managers. I’ve seen it time and time again - a toxic or incompetent manager can make even the best job miserable. 

Signs include a lack of communication, micromanagement, favoritism, and a failure to recognize and reward good work.

If you have an awful boss, start by trying to manage up. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to align your expectations, share feedback, and build rapport.

meeting the bossSchedule regular one-on-one meetings to align your expectations. Get an understanding of what the future looks like.

Keep a record of the conversations and successes and the value you bring. If things don’t improve, it may be worth exploring a transfer to a different team or department. And if the problem persists, it’s probably time to move on.

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#3: Toxic Workplace

A negative workplace culture can be a major driver for why people change jobs.

toxic work enviromentNo paycheck is worth sacrificing your mental health and well-being working in a toxic environment.

Toxicity can take many forms - gossiping, bullying, excessive politics, unethical practices, lack of diversity and inclusion, and so on. No paycheck is worth sacrificing your mental health and well-being.

#4: Lack of Promotion

You’ve been ‘nailing it’ in your role, taking on more responsibility, but that promotion you’ve been gunning for is nowhere in sight. Being passed over for advancement is frustrating and can make you feel undervalued. If you’re not growing, you’re stagnating.

Get clear on what your advancement path looks like and what you need to do to get there. Make sure you’re consistently exceeding expectations and making your accomplishments visible. 

woman talking with her bossHave a conversation with your manager about your promotion goals and seek feedback on areas for improvement.

Have a conversation with your manager about your promotion goals and seek feedback on areas for improvement. If there is truly no opportunity to move up, you may need to look for a company that does recognize and reward staff contributions.

#5: Excessive Workload

In today’s ‘do more with less’ business climate, workers are buckling under unreasonable workloads and expectations. 

Excessive stress, lack of work-life balance, and burnout are rampant. No job is worth sacrificing your health and personal life.

If you’re drowning in work, the obvious thing is to get yourself organized and ruthlessly prioritize. 

man reaching for a keyReach for the key to freedom. Organize yourself and cease drowning in your workload.

Push back on unreasonable deadlines and demands. Make a case for more staff or redistribution of the workload if needed. 

Set your boundaries and turn off outside of work hours. 

Practice stress management and relaxation techniques. 

If nothing changes, it may be time to search for a company that values work-life balance and employee well-being.

#6: Poor Salary and Working Conditions

Ah, the money issue. It is surprising that while money is important; it ranks relatively low.

Why do people change jobs? You would expect money would be the primary reason but it actually rates the lowest. 

Yes, being underpaid and undervalued will wear anyone down over time. Then again, so will subpar benefits, long commutes, inflexible schedules and unpleasant working conditions. 

man at a computerDo your research on market rates for your role and experience level.

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You deserve fair compensation and an environment that motivates you to do your best work.

Do your research on market rates for your role and experience level. Compile a list of your key accomplishments and the value you’ve brought to the company. 

Then make the case for a raise or improved working situation with management. 

If the answer is no, then it’s time to start looking for a company that will value you properly. 

Life is too short to be underpaid and unappreciated.

To Leap, or Not To Leap.

Once you’ve identified a new opportunity, it’s time to make a decision.

It’s normal to feel scared and uncertain about making a change. Leaving the familiar, for the unknown, is never easy. But trust me, the temporary discomfort is worth the long-term gains.

man on a road with potholesThere will be bumps in the road as you get acclimated. Learn from the experience.

Think about it this way - what’s the worst that could happen if you change jobs? 

Maybe the new job isn’t quite what you expected. 

Maybe there are some bumps in the road as you get acclimated. 

You’ll learn from the experience. You will be better positioned for the next. 

Anyway, in today’s job market, you’re not far from finding something else. 

On the flip side, what’s the best that could happen? You could land in a role that challenges and fulfills you, with coworkers who feel like family, doing work that makes a real difference. 

You could finally get the recognition and compensation you deserve. 

You could wake up every day excited to go to work and go to bed every night feeling proud of what you’ve accomplished. 

You love what you do.

Isn’t that worth the risk?

Changing jobs can be scary.

I know change is scary. But stagnation is worse. You are too talented and have too much to offer to stay stuck in a job that makes you miserable. 

woman scaredChange is scary. But stagnation is worse. You are too talented and have too much to offer to stay in a job you hate.

You have the power to design a career and a life that brings you joy and fulfillment. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. So what do you do?

Get Your Stuff Together

So get your stuff together, summon your courage, and take that first step. Update your resume. Reach out to that contact. Apply for that dream job. 

The world is waiting for you to step into your purpose and make your unique impact. 

You’ve got this!

If you find yourself in a toxic environment, make sure you’re doing what you can to rise above and not get sucked into negativity. 

Be professional, set boundaries, and practice self-care outside of work. 

Try to find allies and positive influences. If you’ve done all you can and nothing changes, start making an exit plan. 

Research companies known for their positive cultures and start networking.

The “I Hate My Job” Syndrome

So, why do people change jobs? any one of the reasons above (

or a combination) can trigger the dreaded “I hate my job” syndrome. 

The feeling of dread and drudgery when your alarm goes off in the morning. 

The anxious Sunday as the weekend slips away. 

The bone-deep knowledge that you’re not living up to your potential.

If you’re nodding your head right now, I want you to know you’re not alone. More importantly, you have options. 

man looking in a mirrorThe anxious Sunday as the weekend slips away. It's Monday morning again.

Hating your job is not a life sentence. It’s a wake-up call that something needs to change.

The first step is to understand clearly what is not working for you. 

Is it the work itself? 

The people? 

The culture? 

The lack of growth? 

Once you pinpoint the problem, you can start exploring solutions. 

Can you change something within your current situation, or is it time to move on?

Finding Your Purpose

Here’s the thing - we spend a third of our lives at work. That’s far too much time to be miserable. You deserve to do work that energizes you, leverages your unique strengths and talents, and gives you a sense of meaning and purpose, not only for you, loved ones as well.

couple sitting drinking coffeeWhy do people change jobs? There are many reasons, but doing it for your loved ones, and your wellbeing has to be the most motivating.


So, why do people change jobs and  

how do they find that elusive dream job? 

Start by getting clear on your values. 

Clear on your passions and long-term goals. 

Clear on what impact you want to have on the world? 

Clear on what kind of environment allows you to thrive? 

The more you know about yourself, the easier it is to identify roles and companies that align.

Next, do your research. 

Read up on industries and companies that interest you. 

Follow thought leaders and influencers in those spaces. 

Attend industry events and conferences. 

The more you immerse yourself, the more opportunities you’ll uncover.

You have everything you need. 

You have the confidence. 

Now you understand why people change jobs.

It is your time. 

You got this. 

The worst thing you can do is not make a decision.

Do it, make a decision.

Experience isn't the best teacher, experience is the only teacher.

cliff climber

Confidence comes from experience