3 bad reasons to change job

Most of us are guilty of leaving a job when it wasn’t needed, as well as not leaving a job when it was needed. This hurts our career prospects significantly. Here are 3 bad reasons for changing job, and how to avoid them.

‘I can’t get along with my boss’

This is probably the most common reason to change the job. There are very few good bosses around, so there is indeed a good chance you will find a bad boss and may want to leave. However, for this very reason, you are equally likely to walk into another such boss again in your career. Whenever you encounter a boss you can’t work with, take the opportunity to learn how to work with him rather than running away from the problem by leaving the job. This usually requires understanding your own style of working, your boss’s style, and how to change yourself (or your boss) to adapt. This experience could be frustrating or painful but the reward is not only a workable (and sometimes good, in my experience) relationship with your boss, but also a joy in knowing you now have an important skill in your career arsenal. While you may eventually leave when pain outweighs learning, the reason for change should always be something other than leaving your boss if you care about your career.

‘It is hard getting anything done here’

This is usually the case when organizations are/become ineffective, inefficient, or both. You get frustrated by the lack of progress and would like to move on. However, in my experience, best career experiences happen when you are willing to stay engaged as the organization tries to fix its issues, and keenly observe and learn from what is happening around you. It comes with pain and hardship because you are getting frustrated at the lack of progress. However, you learn valuable lessons about organization, management, inter-personal relationships, and change management, and any prospective company will value them a lot. You can’t get such experiential lessons by reading a book, talking to others or taking a course. It is important to be selective in such a learning, pick people/situations that offer learning most aligned to your career milestones. Of course, there will be a time when situation hasn’t improved, you think you have learned enough, and it is time for you to move, then you should find a good reason to move.

‘I am being offered a higher salary’

When salary is the primary reason for change, it is a bad reason and you should be careful, it usually hides some valuable information. A company will always look for the return on investment on your salary, and so a higher salary should mean one of the two things: the new company thinks you are being undervalued currently, or it is paying for your potential. If it is the former, you should be investigating how you reached this stage of being undervalued (assuming it is a right assessment), and if it is the latter, you should be very careful in clarifying the expectation this company has from you, otherwise this may set you up for career failure. However, most common reason for being offered a higher salary is to entice you to move. Such changes are dangerous for the career, because you will reach a position where you don’t offer enough to the organization to justify the price tag and your performance evaluation will suffer.


Change is very hard. Moving to a new company requires you to spend time re-establishing your credibility, and learn about it enough to be productive at a level higher than in previous company. Such changes may risks to your career. Reasons for changes should be evaluated carefully, and above reasons should be avoided. In our next post, we will talk about some good reasons to change job.

What is your favorite ‘bad reason’ to change job?

4 thoughts on “3 bad reasons to change job

  1. Hello Kumar,
    You offered reasons NOT to change jobs but not the reasons for change. And change, for the most cases, aren’t bad. In fact, changes should be welcomed. So can you offer cases where you need to switch?

    1. Reasons for changes are more common than reasons for NOT changing, and hence this post :-). However, point taken: I will do a post about when you SHOULD change. In the meantime, here are a few:

      Your boss is killing your career aspiration.Here is one of my posts on this.
      You are not having fun at work, and it can’t be resolved by working with your manager.
      You are learning less and less
      What you give is consistently much more than what you get (from the organization) – this is tricky to measure since it is hard to compare financial gains with non-financial ones, so it is best to ignore financial gains in this calculation and focus on learning, experience, etc.

      Bottom line is that the reasons for change should always be aligned to your career goals and measures of career success. If you don’t have those measures defined for you, it will be hard to figure out whether you need a change or you just need to push hard in your current job.

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