Why I leave a job

Main Thread 2 min read

After a short time I decided to leave my job as a Software Engineer at The New York Times. The New York Times! A dream job with a prestigious company. When people ask, "Where do you work?", they don't really care. But when I said, "The New York Times", they started listening.

So why did I leave? It's unfair to look at any specific job. I liked the The New York Times. So the question isn't why I left The New York Times, but instead why I leave a job.

This is something I've reflected on after leaving each of my former jobs. Actually, I first drafted this post after leaving Humana in 2010. Over the years, I reduced the citeria down to three.

Good Leader

There's an entire article bouncing around the web recently dedicated to this topic. So I will not go into great detail on the importance of a good manager. We all want to work for someone we respect. A true leader. Someone in the chain of upper management must be a good leader.

Talented Coworkers

Good developers learn. I believe the best way to learn is to surround yourself with talented people. While I believe I am talented, I know I'm not the most talented. I want to be among peers not only so I improve, but we improve together. Anything else and you risk becoming a big fish in a little pond.

A Bright Future

Either personally or professionally, your job must offer growth. We're human. We want to know that whatever we do, it's done for the better. If your job isn't going somewhere, you should go somewhere else.

Our society pushes a live to work mentality. I've never bought into that notion. In the words of Tyler Durden, "you're not your fucking job".

The average American spends a third of their adult life working. You should find a job you like. So I use these criterion to form my own mentality:

  • Missing one - fine, nothing is perfect.
  • Missing two - the grass looks greener at a new job.
  • Missing all three - I give two-weeks notice.

Some day my work/life balance will shift, and these things may not matter as much. But today is not that day.

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