WRITTEN BY: AMANDA KAY
Before you quit, it’s important to consider how you will explain your reasons for leaving. Because if you do return to the workforce, you will be asked why you left your previous job at some point. This is a common job interview question that may also appear on a job application. Some reasons are easy to explain during your next job search, while others could be a red flag that could potentially cost you the new position.
You may be wondering, “How can a person resign from a job while remaining professional and not burning bridges?”
Here are 12 good reasons for leaving a job that allows you to still keep things professional.
1. You Have Found New Opportunities Elsewhere
If you love the career field you are currently in or want to take on new challenges, there may come a time when another company makes you an offer that’s just too good to turn down.
This is one of the ideal reasons for leaving a job that is also easy for employers to understand. Advancing your career by accepting a promotion or new role is a good thing. It shows that you care about your career and that you are growing professionally.
2. Your Schedule Took a Hit
In some cases, your work schedule may ultimately be one of your reasons for leaving a job. This can involve various factors, such as having your hours reduced, being switched to working the night shift rather than a traditional daytime shift or even having your hours increased so that you are working more hours than you can handle.
Whatever the case may be, explaining your situation to your boss, how the schedule change is impacting you and your family, and emphasizing the schedule led to your resigning will let you leave your job in a professional manner.
3. Personal or Family Reasons
Unless you have a boss who has no feelings whatsoever, leaving for family or personal reasons is a way to quit your current job on good terms.
For example, if you are starting a family, you and your partner may decide that you will stay home and that they will keep working. Or you may need to take time off to care for yourself or an unwell family member.
When this reason is given, you may or may not want to share the exact reasons for your departure.
While it’s reasonable to expect your boss or others to ask what’s going on, you don’t necessarily have to explain why you are quitting in great detail, especially if it makes you uncomfortable. Your boss and coworkers should respect your privacy, accept your resignation, and offer to help in any way they can.
4. Your Commute is Too Long
You may be like many people and live outside a town or city and commute a long distance to your job. While it may not have seemed like a big deal at first, those long drives back and forth several times per week may be taking a toll on your family and your wallet, especially at the gas pump.
If you have family responsibilities, not seeing your kids off to school or spending quality time with your significant other can lead you to leave your job due to the long commute.
When you give this reason for your departure, your boss should understand. After all, you can’t wave a magic wand and instantly have your home and workplace located next to each other.
5. You Decided to Pursue Other Goals
Over the years, your personal and career goals may have changed.
For example, while you may have initially made your career your top priority, you may be thinking more now about settling down to raise a family. In other situations, you may want to explore starting your own business or want more time to volunteer for causes that are near and dear to your heart.
There’s nothing wrong with having an honest talk with your boss to explain how your goals have changed. By doing so, chances are that your boss and colleagues will have even more respect for you than they already did.
If one of your reasons for leaving a job is because you want more flexibility, this can apply to many different situations.
For example, you may want flexibility in your work schedule, especially if you have a schedule that rarely, if ever, allows you to deviate from your regular hours. Or maybe you want the option to work from home more often. In other cases, you want additional flexibility regarding your duties on the job, or perhaps to gain additional training so that you could place yourself in line for a promotion.
Often given as one of the most common reasons for leaving a job, don’t be shy about wanting to improve your work-life balance. Your boss may surprise you with an offer that allows you to keep working while giving you the flexibility you desire.
7. You’re Looking for Better Career Growth
Even if you love your job, your coworkers, your customers and the company where you work, you may be in a position that offers you little (if any) career growth.
In this situation, you will be making the same amount of money and doing the same work tasks for years and will likely begin to feel that you are not reaching your full potential. If this is the case and you want to move on to a company that gives you a clearer path to advance, feel free to resign due to a lack of career growth with your current employer.
8. You Want to Change Career Paths
For most people, having only one job their entire working lives is almost unheard of. In reality, most people change careers several times, and you are probably no exception.
For example, if you are currently working in an office position, you may aspire to pursue a career path in healthcare, law enforcement, or another occupation. To do so, you may need to resign from your current job so that you can attend college to learn new job skills or simply move right into whatever new career path you desire.
Since your boss and many of your coworkers have likely faced this same type of decision in their own lives, this will allow you to resign on good terms and look forward to a brighter and more fulfilling future.
9. You Want to Relocate
Moving is another one of the understandable and common reasons for leaving a job. Whether it’s because your partner has a better job opportunity elsewhere, you want to live closer to family, or it makes better financial sense for you to move, there is nothing wrong with resigning to do what’s best for you.
10. You Don’t Want to Relocate
On that same note, if you work for a company that suddenly announces it will be relocating its operations, you may not want to move to an area far away from where you currently live.
Even though more and more companies offer employees in these situations relocation assistance that can amount to thousands of dollars in incentives, your boss knows this is asking a lot from even the most loyal workers. Therefore, leaving for this reason won’t burn any bridges.
11. The Job Doesn’t Match Your Expectations
While you may think telling your boss you are leaving the company because your job does not match your expectations will burn bridges, it usually does just the opposite.
Like many people, you’ve probably gotten hired for a job that sounded fantastic when your first applied for it and had your job interview. However, after working at the job for some time, you’ve discovered it isn’t what you thought it would be, or it’s no longer a good fit. It could be either far more boring than you expected, doesn’t have as many career growth opportunities as you thought or has you working with others who are constantly micromanaging.
Whatever the case may be, you can be honest with your boss when using this reason for your resignation without having it hurt your career.
Just remember that when resigning, you may need to be a bit more diplomatic than you would prefer, but it’s worth it to move on to a new job while remaining on good terms with everyone from your old job.
12. There are Problems at Work
Some jobs simply aren’t worth your time, energy, or sanity. Leaving might be your best (or only) option if you find yourself in a toxic work environment.
Being bullied by a coworker, expected to always work late and answer work calls or emails during your off-hours, or even being asked to do something unethical or illegal are all very good for you to get out of that situation as fast as possible.
Life’s too short to keep working at a job that you hate. Regardless of how it might look, your well-being and health always come first, no matter what a potential new employer might think of you.
Before You Quit Your Job
Deciding to leave a job is a big deal. Although it can be tempting just to quit and hand in your two weeks’ notice when you realize it’s time to move on, there are a lot of factors to consider before you leave.
Do you already have another job offer lined up? Or will you be unemployed?
If you don’t have another job to go to, how will you financially survive while job searching? Unfortunately, finding a new job can take a long time. You may need to keep working at your current position while looking for a new job.
How will you explain your reasons for quitting during an interview? A hiring manager will want to know if you left voluntarily for a valid reason or if you were let go. And if you were let go, are you honest about it with the interviewer? Are you able to explain the reasons why in a positive and professional way without badmouthing your previous employer?
Preparing to Quit
You also need to think about what you will say in your resignation letter and during your exit interview. If you’re leaving on bad terms, it’s critical you are prepared so that you can maintain your reputation and ensure you will have a good reference from them going forward.
In both situations, you want to be consistent and concise with your answer. Avoid blaming other people or getting defensive, and instead, focus on what you learned.
Even under the best of circumstances, it’s natural to feel stress when resigning from a job. Using any of these 12 reasons for leaving a job will make the process much less stressful.
Whether you’re resigning to pursue an important career or life goal, have health issues that need to be your priority, or simply want to make a career change, being honest about your reasons for leaving a job will benefit you as you move forward with your life.