Why I Quit My Day Job

You can only push people so far before something in them snaps.  This recently happened with me and my day job, so yesterday I quit.  For the longest time I kept telling myself I couldn’t do that since I didn’t want to give up my current situation with Friday’s off…yet even after a while that wasn’t a good enough reason to stay around.

So what was wrong with my job?  On the surface, not much.  I like my co-workers, my work and I felt I was being well compensated for my time and my company was very supportive of my other job as a school board trustee.  Yet the problem in a nut shell was I was incompatible with my supervisor.  You see we didn’t choose each other at all.  He got assigned to be my boss after my old one transferred positions and I felt I have to give my new boss a fair try (its been over a year now).   We had our problems working together and I tried to discuss the issues and propose some solutions, but in the end not enough progress was made.  I felt like I was banging my head against a wall in frustration, so it was time to move on regardless of what that might cost me.  If you are routinely unhappy are your job, it doesn’t matter what the other reasons are for sticking around it is time to move on.

Apparently, I’m not alone on this situation as I came across a few statistics on why people leave their jobs and their direct supervisor accounts for 30 to 35% of why people quit.  In some respects I’m amazed I lasted this long as I could have quit at any time in the last year and been fine.  My other income make me ineligible for Employment Insurance and we have enough savings that I could literally not work for years (yes, I used the plural there correctly).  Yet I’m stubborn and had to try to work the situation out prior to quitting.

So am I unemployed?  No, I’m just transferring to a new position down the hall.  Actually the position that opened up is very similar to the work I do now, but just has a different focus.  Rather than working with proposals on air emissions regulations, I’m going to be working with on a broader scope of environmental regulations but excludes air emissions.  Also I have a bit of bonus situation of I got to recently work with my future boss on a joint project between the departments, so I already know I like working with her.

While this change of jobs was largely precipitated by me being unhappy in my current position, there are a few fall outs financially about this change.  First up is I’ve given up my 80% working schedule. So while I’m somewhat sad to see that go, it isn’t all bad as I did manage to negotiate a 90% work arrangement with the new job.  So I will shift from having every Friday off to having only every second Friday off.  Which isn’t a huge deal as I’ve grown comfortable enough with my other position as trustee on the school board that I can handle the change.  This also means I’m basically getting a 10% raise which makes my recent 20 month dash to finish the mortgage just shifted from challenge to easily done.

The other price I’m paying for this move won’t come due for a few years, but I have accepted a lower job classification.  In English, it means my maximum pay possible at my job just got cut back severely.   Which is some respects you think would matter more, but it really doesn’t at all for me.  The pay ranges move annually for inflation adjustments which is all I require for my retirement plan.  Also I do work on other things that provide some additional income anyway, so the lack of bigger raises at one job isn’t that particularly limiting to me.

So have you ever left a job because you were unhappy?  Is so, what was driving you nuts?  If not, what has driven you nuts at some of your jobs?

19 thoughts on “Why I Quit My Day Job”

  1. I quit a job because of a terrible boss once. If someone in the office made a mistake, she would call a staff meeting where the offender was made to stand up in front of all of us and apologize, and ask for forgiveness. It was excruciating. I was quite young so I didn’t have the guts to stand up to her, but it did give me the needed push to go back and finish my degree. University was a much better option than staying in that terrible job!

  2. I’m quitting my job this afternoon, without anything lined up for what to do next. Essentially, with my job, my boss was going to take me off of salary starting next Monday to work strictly on commission. I would be fine with this, except my boss is one of the nastiest people I have ever met, and I will not make the mistake of trusting her again. I’d rather not work that be working for the sake of appearing productive with in all actuality no pay anyways.

    Sometimes you just need to take a proverbial step backwards to move forwards. I’ll need my time free to line up more interviews anyways.

  3. Many of us have been there. Since a job takes up such a large chunk of our time, physical and emotional energy, identity, etc. some semblance of satisfaction matters.
    I went to graduate school in my 30’s and quit my first job post-graduation. I left out of fear … I felt very unprepared to take on the resonsibilities of my new position. I gave no notice and I am not proud of that.

    Happy ending, though. I took a less stressful position and worked my way back toward a very responsbile position from which I am now retiring. No fear now, just ready to let go and pursue some other things. This time, though, I have served my notice and am leaving in good standing with the option to work per-diem. I feel very good about that.

    BTW, I am a nurse and it irritates me to hear nurses say they hate their jobs when where are so many options for nurses. I suppose martyrdom suits some people. Good on you, Tim, for taking responsibility for your well being.

  4. I’m in the same situation. My old boss who hired me left to a different position, now I’m stuck with this new boss who is a total pain. Every time I ask him for help/instructions it’s like pulling teetth, and sometimes I literarlly feel like swollowing flies when he speaks to me. I’m hoping to get voluntary layoff in the near future.

  5. I have left a job because of a bad boss before. So has my father. In fact I am surprised the number of people have done so is not higher. For me, the supervisor is a huge factor in job satisfaction. Kudos to you for doing what you needed to do – sounds like a good resolution all the way around. Like you, I prefer to make a good faith attempt to make things work before bailing out – makes me feel like I sincerely tried my best.

  6. I left my job once because of a new boss that I hated.

    He was a super nice guy then went to some kind of training camp and came back a totally brainwashed complete company stooge who clearly didn’t care about the happiness of his staff, he just wanted to exploit us. All he cared about was getting better numbers out of us so that he would look better.

    He was so miserable that I ended up quitting without notice. He was constantly ragging on me about being 3 minutes late for work because I would forget to punch in right when I got there (I was actually getting straight to work) – something that had just been introduced in the past couple weeks. I came in one afternoon when I was supposed to be there that morning – a mistake I only made because he had posted two different schedules. It was the first time I ever missed a shift and it was only half a shift at that. He pretty much just started yelling at me when I got there told me he was GOING to fire me that day but my co-workers convinced him not to because they knew I was a good worker and pleasant to work with.

    I called him two days later after a split decision that morning that I just couldn’t bring myself to go work there again… I knew he wanted me gone so I beat him to it and said I’m not coming in today (or ever again). He actually tried to intimidate me by telling me that it was “a small city” and he wouldn’t give me a reference for my next job. This tactic didn’t work on me since it was Vancouver city and I came from Edmonton. I got a better paying job two doors down a month later.

  7. Myself and two coworkers (we’re all IT) threatened to quit when we got a bad boss. Instead, the bad boss was sent elsewhere and we lived happily ever after…

    In 17 years doing the same work, I’ve had 6 bosses. Only two of the bosses have left voluntarily, the others were removed. Yes, that’s less than 3 years per boss on average!

  8. I quitted my job once because I knew I wouldn’t be able to climb the corporate ladder anyway and the job was not particularly well paid – so in short, no future.

    The last job I had I was very frustrated with one of my coworkers but the rest of us supported each other until the contract of that coworker ended!! Hurray!!

  9. I gradually quit my day job by reducing my hours. The first time was to 20 hours per week in 2001 and the second time was to 12 hours per week in 2007. In 2008 I switched to zero hours per week, a.k.a. my early retirement.

    While it was mainly the commute which finally drove me away, I did come close to quitting a few times in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The reasons were not due to a bad boss or the commute, though. The first time was a bunch of different things while the second time was because I did not get promoted when I thought I deserved to be. The first time, I got a nice raise to stay while my boss fixed the other things which were bothering me. The second time I toughed it out for a year until I did get promoted.

  10. Tim, are your employers aware of this blog? If so, are they cool with you talking about workplace issues in a public forum such as this?

    Personally, I wouldn’t do it, but my workplace hasn’t emerged from the stone age yet….

  11. Tough decision in many ways…..easy decision in many ways. But sometimes self-respect needs to rise to the top.

    Good luck to you, Tim. I’m sure that you will land on your feet.

  12. I had a job like that during college. I was working at a fast food place and everyday was a slow monotonous death, but I felt I would have been irresponsible if I left. Though, eventually I couldn’t take any longer and i quite. Now I think it was great decision as the little amount of money i was making really didn’t compensate for the mental and emotional stress.

  13. @jon_snow,

    Yes they know about the blog, but the vast majority of people at work don’t read it. In fact, I’m only aware of two people who read it regularly. I’m not worried about this post as I’m not telling all the details involved, I’m just stating why I moved on and the emotional effects it had on myself. So over all I’m not worried about any negative feedback from the post.


  14. Yes, I left a job once because I hated working with my boss. He’s so bossy. And he thinks that he’s the only who can do that kind of work in the right way. Anyway, it was better for me to leave or else I would have a high blood pressure. And my health would deteriorate. It’s also a great idea to plan one’s retirement when she/ he ‘s still young. I am trying to make some extra income working online. And it really works for me.

  15. I’ve left many jobs because of the boss. I’ve worked in the same company for years though, and usually just when the situation would become intolerable, there would be another opening somewhere that I could translate my skills into. For awhile, I thought I was the one that had the problem – I’ve been through 8 bosses in 14 years. But then, I realized, 6 out of those 8 bosses have been terminated fairly shortly after I left each position. So I don’t feel so bad about it now!

  16. I left one job because I ran out of things I could think of to do, and I was bored and wasting my skills.

    Ironically, the interview had heavily stressed the need to be able to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment!

    This was a governmental organisation that was heavily over-staffed, and under-tasked.

    I was fortunate enough to then get a contract that required me to stretch my knowledge and skills very quickly – much more enjoyable and rewarding.

  17. Hi Tim.

    I would be interested in writing a piece for your blog. What you and most of the contributors are trying to do myself and my wife accomplished years ago. At the age of 35. Please contact me and we can dicuss this further. Thanks DadatHome.

  18. Good call. I’ve read from somewhere that people always make excuses saying “I cannot find a better place than my current one” but the truth is most of the people find a better place eventually.

    Hope you find a better one soon too!

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