There are some obvious reasons, and then there are some that are less obvious… Let’s start with the obvious ones:
- You can do better somewhere else. My Dad always told me that it’s easier to get a job when you have a job. You should keep your ears up and be aware of other opportunities. If another company will offer you more money, better benefits, balance, culture etc… then you may want to move on.
- People who change companies every 2–5 years generally increase more in pay, because a company filling a position needs to pay for it, where as the “standard of living” raises are generally… crap.
- It is negatively impacting other aspects of your life. Work is important for mental stimulation, a sense of accomplishment, and to pay the bills, but there are other aspects of our lives that are important too. If you don’t have enough time for your family, friends, passions, or your job impacts them in other ways, it may be time to move on.
- Remember who said, on his death bed, that he wished he had spent more time in the office? Oh yeah… that was no one… ever.
- You are not being treated right. We live in a society where it is okay to demand that we be treated fairly, justly, and with dignity. Here, we start to get a little less obvious, but there are still blatant indicators that you’re not being treated right:
- You are mentally, spiritually, or physically abused.
- You are not compensated at the industry average (taking into account ALL factors).
- People less deserving (be humble and honest with yourself here) advance instead of you.
- People are disrespectful.
- You disagree with the mission of the company. If you’re a vegan, don’t work for a meat-packaging company. Your time is the most valuable resource you have; don’t spend it contributing to something you’re morally against.
Now, let’s get into the ones that are a little harder to identify, but perhaps more important to!
- You’re no longer learning. Edmond Lau talked a lot about this in his answer. Learning and improving is one of the factors that gives us purpose and a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, expertise is what will really increase our value in the long-run.
- Sometimes, you can continue to learn at your company. If you’re a valued member of the team, your desire to take on a new position—even in a different department—will be met with positivity and understanding.
- You can’t advance. Sometimes, especially in small companies, we outgrow our position—many times because we’re no longer learning—and there just isn’t room to be paid more or take on more duties. A creative company may find a way to put a talented person to use regardless. But, sometimes, you outgrow your pond and need a change of scenery.
- You aren’t happy. I could have answered the entire question with this point. If you aren’t happy, first, identify the real cause of that unhappiness, and then find something that will make you happy.
When I think of all the reasons that I cruised through 4 companies in 8 years before quitting and starting my own business, the final point sums it up. In fact, I know it encompasses a lot of people’s problem who SHOULD leave their current company. If you’re not happy, find a way to be happy.
Most people don’t, because they’re afraid, and they don’t know what else they would do. My company helps people start online knowledge businesses, so they can leap from employee to entrepreneur and lead a life of impact, freedom, and fun. Today’s world allows much… to those who are willing to go out and get it.