If you’re considering quitting your job, you’re not alone. A recent survey polled 4,505 U.S. job seekers and found 76 percent of full-time employees are open to new career options. We take a lot of things into consideration when thinking about leaving — pay increase, opportunity for growth, new leadership — but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Hindsight is always the clearest, especially when making the tough decision of leaving a job. It’s important to move on and grow in your career, but sometimes new opportunities aren’t as appealing as they sound, and after quitting my favorite job, I found this out the hard way.
Working from the ground up.
I was an account executive at a tiny PR firm. When I first came on board as an assistant account coordinator, it was just me and the founder. I grew with the firm, and when I left, there were four people including me.
Of all my jobs over the years, this one was my favorite — making looking back on leaving it all the more painful. I worked with a group of up-and-coming young women in the PR field and considered the founder a friend and mentor.
After I’d worked there a while, I was basically running the place — especially after the founder went on maternity leave. I headed up hiring, ran our internship program, managed client accounts, did much of the day-to-day work, and oversaw all media pitching efforts. As a young professional, I was basically living the dream!
Getting in my own way.
When you get down to it, pride and ego got in my way. I shake my head when I think about it now, but I quit because the founder was hiring someone who would be my new boss, instead of promoting me again like she’d done so many other times before. It felt like a personal affront, although of course it wasn’t.
So I started applying for other jobs, and when I received an offer with a much larger salary, I took it.
[Related: Why Do People Quit Their Dream Job?]
Money isn’t everything.
I regret quitting this job for so many reasons. I loved my boss, and even though I wouldn’t be reporting directly to her anymore, we’d still be working closely together. I actually knew the woman the founder was bringing in to become my new boss, and I know we would have gotten along well. To this day, I regret not having an honest conversation with the founder about my future with the organization, rather than making assumptions and getting angry.
Money isn’t everything, although I didn’t see it that way at the time. I could have easily continued to build my career there, and my husband and I often wonder if I’d still be there if I hadn’t left in that moment for that particular reason.
Keep moving forward.
No one can change the past — no matter how much we want to. After finding myself in a job where my salary was higher, but my happiness definitely wasn’t, I started my own PR agency. This whole experience changed how I communicate with my own employees today.
One of my top goals is to build relationships with my employees so they will at least talk to me prior to making a move somewhere else — something I didn’t do in my own situation. Although I grow quite attached to people, I never take anyone leaving personally — and I try to keep the lines of communication open so it doesn’t get to that point.
Have an open conversation.
Discussing concerns with your boss can feel intimidating and awkward, but these are the conversations I advise you to have.
If they are the right type of boss, also consider discussing your desire to leave — before you make any permanent decisions. The right boss will not punish you for your feelings, but instead have a conversation about how the situation can be rectified. This is certainly the type of boss I strive to be today.
Learning and growing from both mistakes and regrets is crucial for truly moving on with your life. Even though I regret quitting my job with that little PR firm, it has afforded me the chance to give my employees the boss I’ve always wanted.