Poll: Why are people leaving their jobs?

 4 months ago
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Poll: Why are people leaving their jobs?

Poll: Why are people leaving their jobs? 176 points by MobileVet 2 hours ago | hide | past | favorite | 279 comments There has been quite a lot of press about the 'great resignation,' with employees leaving jobs in droves. This is likely hyperbole, but it does seem that there are a large number of people switching jobs.

If that is something you have done or are considering doing in the near future, why?

new challenge / learning
173 points
486 points
company culture
261 points
flexibility (remote, hours etc)
115 points
life balance
106 points
56 points
change is good
29 points
I'll be departing my job at the end of the month. I had too many roles, affecting too many pieces of engineering, and my title didn't reflect my work. I needed to go down to a 4 day work week and have my title reflect my roles, but my manager attempted to call my bluff and essentially said it's not going to happen. I hinted about what my decision would have to be if these accomodations couldn't be made, but he didn't budge. When I gave my verbal notice, suddenly there was immediate backpedaling and said maybe something could be worked out. I declined because I don't negotiate like that. If you mismanage a negotiation, there is no do-overs just because you overplayed your hand. The trust is broken.
Same thing happened to me at my last company. I was over worked, wore too many hats, and was paid significantly less than my team mates who were more junior than I was (and had less responsibility). I had a handful of conversations that never amounted to anything. As soon as I put in my notice with a new offer in hand suddenly I was able to "set my price".

I left for other reasons as well, but it really shone a light on how management thought of ICs. Managers: proactively reward your ICs, don't wait until they're halfway out the door. I would honestly take a less aggressive adjustment in comp if it was done proactively, rather than waiting until I'm fed up and on my way out.

Too many roles / too many hats is far too common and why I find it hard to stay anywhere more than 4-5 years.

As a senior IC in a super-flat & growing org.. I'm almost like a customer successs engineer, product manager, scrum master, senior developer and tech lead all rolled into one.

Management administrivia I accumulate administrative things my manager doesn't want to do & pushes down I do unofficially own a part of the team Dotted lines of devs in my "team" that can be rolled in & out sprint by sprint

Customer success / product / architecture I collect customer requirements, translate them into stories & documentation I manage customer/manager expectations with status meetings & reports I project plan out 3 months of work with JIRA hierarchies/Gantt chart I design solutions given the requirements

Scrum I run our standups, sprint plannings, backlog refinements

Corporate citizenship I am involved in recruiting 5-10% of my week I run working groups / long running cross team tech org

Development I do IC work - directly assigned sprint deliverable tickets (analysis, development, infra creation) I need to accomplish

I've been looking at moving to a more official management role elsewhere so I can focus at being good at a few things instead of decent at all the things.

It's really hard to justify with management.

Instead saying "X left, we need extra budget to replace it" will often work.

It's idiotic and expensive for the company but what can you do.

Here's what you can do: Hold and express sincere trust in and appreciation of your employees.
Sincere trust and appreciation doesn't make my retirement any closer. Show your appreciation with cash.
Agreed - people who employ dishonest tactics during negotiation should be left alone at the table.

I have been in this situation in the past and it's always the right move to walk if they won't come to the table when you ask politely.

I was playing a board game with my 7-year-old niece recently. She negotiates the same way most companies do. She holds the line firmly until her bluff is called, and then backtracks quickly once it's too late.

The biggest différance is my 7-year-old will learn, while companies will continue to make the same mistakes.

Re "trust is broken" - I used to think like this and I understand, but I would encourage you to try a more nuanced POV. There's a decent chance your manager was simply not allowed to accommodate you, and your verbal notice unlocked options from upper management.
A good human being would say, "i'm not allowed to say this but...". Which good managers will do. You're on the path to leaving anyway.
> I hinted about what my decision would have to be if these accomodations couldn't be made

I don't hint because it's too confusing. I try to very politely offer options, where one option is me looking for another opportunity. It's not as though it's a secret to either party that's always an option.


Employer might not have even known quitting was on the table if there is only a hint. Be bold and direct to reduce miscommunication and you'll be the one standing with integrity.

To be specific about what my hint was, I said "it doesn't make sense to me that the company would be willing to lose me over letting me go down to 4 days." I'm fairly certain my point came across clearly, but my guess is that he thought I was bluffing.
That's not without risk if you don't already have an offer in hand, though. And it really is part of the manager's job.
Neither is hinting if you are assuming the person you are hinting to understands the hint. And if they don't understand, the hint is useless.
Giving raises and promotions only when people have outside offers invents awful behavior all around. Yet so many companies do this “just this one time…”
Beautiful. I remember hearing it said that if you're not willing to walk away completely from a negotiation, you have zero actual leverage. Bravo!
Negotiating courses often refer to this as the BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). Considering what that scenario is and having it as your bottom line is the best piece of advice they impart.
Haven't looked at it in years but I remember Getting to Yes as being a great little book on negotiation. Maybe there are better books out there but I found it a good place to start.

There are a number of other things in there too. For example, you may not have the same priorities as the person you're negotiating with.

I'd recommend _Never Split The Difference_, by former Chief FBI Hostage Negotiator Chris Voss. Very fun read and widely applicable.

Spoiler: His advice is not to strong-arm, but to build trust with your counterpart.

Having a BATNA that you're perfectly fine doing takes a huge amount of pressure off in a negotiation.
I feel like I can always replace “BATNA” with “alternative” or “option” and the statement conveys the same information.
Even just knowing the concept gets you halfway there, assuming you have any other options at all. It's a term everybody should know. BATNA BATNA BATNA!
Always be ready to leave the table first.

It doesn’t mean that you will, it doesn’t mean that you should. It means you re prepared. And this can be a huge advantage.

When the worker has another offer in hand, you've already lost as a hiring manager/org.
> When I gave my verbal notice, suddenly there was immediate backpedaling and said maybe something could be worked out. I declined because I don't negotiate like that. If you mismanage a negotiation, there is no do-overs just because you overplayed your hand. The trust is broken.

Good for you!

This is something I always tell junior engineers who are looking for ways to negotiate for something (usually pay and/or promotions). Although it's very effective, negotiation by throwing a competing offer on the bosses desk usually starts a fire-drill up the management chain which gets you noticed in a not-so-positive way. It also leaves a lot of bad feelings all around.

I'm in the same situation but I don't really know what to do. I've been trying to extricate myself from a lot of stuff but the way things are structured it doesn't seem like I'm going to be able to just focus on one role. It looks like a lot of openings are offering a fair amount more than my current salary as well. The only thing holding me back at the moment is that I really like the people I work with.
In the same boat, I think this is something that's going on everywhere because of the market. I love the people but I'm spread so thin something is eventually going to explode.

I've basically given myself another year

>> I really like the people I work with.

Quality of life can be a considerable part of compensation, imo.

There are still too many managers who don't understand one of their primary responsibilities in a market that favors employees: making sure that their best engineers don't leave. The job market won't always be like this, but you'd think that they would have figured it out by now during the current run. It's been nearly a decade at this point, and the pandemic has tipped things even further in the favor of the people who make the sausage.
To be fair to the managers, from my experience managers themselves have little to say and it is mostly HR that determines rules like compensation. In our case, insanely, salaries are frozen. Nothing that your direct manager can do about it. Except, leave, and get hired the next day.
There's an exception for every rule. As a manager I've fought HR to get pay rises during pay freezes. And won. Bad managers roll over when presented with obstacles, great ones fight for their team.
The great ones also realize that there are other things employees value and build upon those, along with compensation.
The great ones also just leave themselves, rather than suffering the toxic culture on two fronts.
This is a fair point. It seems like standard policy at lots of places is to not budge significantly on comp unless a Valued Employee is prepared to leave. You then end up with one of the three scenarios:

- the employee leaves anyways, since it's too late to change their mind

- the employee stays, but there's a loss of trust and loyalty

- the employee never planned to leave in the first place, and exploited your broken system

Valued Employees should be rewarded preemptively.

I have been surprised how emotionally unaware many of my managers are. They are engineers who moved to management and seem to think reading a bunch of books on management will make them adept at the social skills needed to read and adapt to individuals and a teams emotional state. Compensation is huge but good software devs are all making enough to where a 20-30% swing in either direction isn't going to make or break us. I would happily take a 20% cut if I loved what I was doing and felt endeared of my manager and our goals.
> When I gave my verbal notice, suddenly there was immediate backpedaling and said maybe something could be worked out. I declined because I don't negotiate like that. If you mismanage a negotiation, there is no do-overs just because you overplayed your hand. The trust is broken.

Agreed. That's like trying to take your money back once you see a river card that doesn't help you in poker.

Just doesn't work like that. Negotiate in good faith or accept the potential consequences.

Rather than look for another job I retired at 63.5. My job was long hours, high stress, high visibility, continuous deadlines and changes that never ended at a large non FAANG company. Compensation was OK (not FAANG but OK for where I am). Everything I or my team shipped worked great; but lots of things with these challenges never shipped for political/idiotic reasons. So much budget was wasted on Exec whims and fantasy. I just grew tired of the frustration. If I were younger I would have left and gone to the local competition or even moved somewhere. But enough was enough after almost 6 years here.

I still write code but now its just for me to support my generative art. I still hear stories from my former team; not missing the nightmare at all.

Any art you could share? I'm really interested.
Congratulations on successful retirement. Hopefully you can have a healthy and interesting retirement and enjoy your family and loved ones to the fullest.

Honestly, probably should have done it sooner if you could have.

As a 30-something, most of my peers are not planning to work past 60, and most are planning to retire in their 50s. Unfortunately that seems to be a privilege of a certain level of job income and not all of my peers will be so lucky.

I have been programming on the same team for 2 1/2 years and have a very hazy idea what salary I could be making. So one reason for going out and getting offers will be to get an idea of that. If they offer the same or near what I make I am more likely to stay. If my pay is bumped $20k that is more enticing, and even more enticing the higher it is.

So I chose compensation, but company culture and life balance are part of that too. There was a reorg about a year ago, and not long after that people have been complaining about how much workload there is, and how we're not given the tools etc. to deal with it. I gave polite responses to recruiters prior to December, in December I had my first phone call with an inside recruiter in 2 1/2 years. The other night I was programming at 10PM to make a deadline the next day and fired off two applications, maybe just because it made me feel better (although the positions looked good).

It's not just workload, if my workload was refactoring and learning the technology deeper I might not mind the hours, but it is a lot of meetings with multiple teams and a lot of bureaucratic stuff.

The workload/culture just increases or decreases the timeline somewhat. I am socking away enough money a month, I know the team and the stack and have the institutional knowledge (almost everyone on the team joined later). I would also prefer to spend a few months reading the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs to practicing Leetcode. But crazy workload and culture stuff speeds up my timeline - I am switching from SICP to Leetcode, and am more apt to interview at places "before I am ready". But if work calms down more I might push the timeline out more.

I just want to note I've left different jobs for different combinations of these reasons! I checked 3/7 of these boxes.

Don't interpret this survey as "Most people's primary reason for leaving is compensation", because the survey does not ask this ;)

Curious to find out if anyone is able to achieve strong career satisfaction working less than less than 20 hours a week.

For me, I've always looked at the exchange of time for money. The problem with that is that you can't exchange money for time, only time for money.

Realizing this, I set work to 0. There seems to be a step function at 40 hours - the "full time job", but I haven't heard of many people that are successful in traditional software engineering jobs with a 20 hour work week, aside from perhaps those that work for themselves and have their project in "maintenance".

My old boss Eric Carlsen used to say, nobody left because of money.

They may get more money if they change jobs. But they start looking because they're unhappy. So when somebody asked for more money, he'd start by asking what was bothering them.

I think the old generation really bought into this, but the new generation knows it's a load of bull.

The poll makes it pretty obvious that compensation is the biggest reason folks leave, and it's the thinking of the old generation who doesn't know how to retain talent (they do, but they keep throwing pizza parties / sending out merch instead). It's a real "it can't be helped" mentality around retention.

I like the notion of breaking job satisfaction into "motivators" and "hygiene factors" (Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory [1]).

Motivators actively cause job satisfaction. Things like finding personal fulfillment, meaningful work, and other top-of-Maslow's-hierarchy stuff.

Hygiene factors cause dissatisfaction in their absence, but aren't standalone motivators. Salary probably fits in this bucket - if you learn that you're underpaid, you're likely to feel demotivated and look for work elsewhere. If you learn that you're overpaid, that can cause dissatisfaction too (feeling like you have to serve out the rest of a prison sentence until your shares/options vest is pretty common in our industry).

Compensation isn't everything, but if it seems unfair, it's absolutely enough to motivate people to make changes. I think we're seeing a reevaluation of labor market expectations with the whole Great Resignation thing, where those who are in demand are realizing just how demanded their skills are (and getting pissed off that they're undercompensated in their $current_job), and the old generation you speak of is trotting forward with their fingers in their ears, blinded by normalcy bias to the fundamental shift happening in front of them - a big labor market awakening.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-factor_theory

Strong disagree for me. I'm starting a new job in less than two weeks, but the current job I'm leaving has been the best so far in my career. Wasn't perfect by any means but it exceeded most of my expectations by far. My new job is paying 60% more than my current job, that's my reason for switching and not much else.
Why is compensation #1 though? There is a threshold where you have enough money and it's easier to work with people you know and like. So, what do they need that extra money for? As I mentioned elsewhere housing is currently the #1 issues I see here in Canada that people are focused on. If you are a front line person, making $15 at a restaurant, plus renting where housing costs $1m+, you are probably looking for options (vs someone who owns a house and is making $150/hour as a dev).

This is a leading question to expand on why compensation matters. Personally, I fall into the group where I could probably make more but really like my group. So, there is risk with leaving (bad boss, toxic culture, too much work, etc) vs making more.

Do you know anyone where that threshold has been reached? Anyone with a family? Given the way inflation is going, I know maybe one person, and they're single with their mortgage paid off.
I recently just left my job for another because of inflation, if the price of things go up so should my salary. The value of my work did not get cheaper!
The format of the poll biases the results. You can select multiple options, and compensation might be the one that most people have in common -- but not necessarily the reason why people are leaving.

In other words, I think the results can only show motivating factors, but can't satisfy it as a sufficient condition for departure.

+1 anecdotally I think it is often a combination of factors. And once you start looking/ exploring and realize you can get a comp adjustment, then that becomes an easily quantified motivator to pull the trigger.
Personally, I’m still building for retirement. I have way more than enough to live every month, but way less than I’ll need to retire and be able to spend my early retirement (healthiest remaining) years traveling and still be confident that my spouse (with longevity in her family) will be well taken care of financially if she lives as long as the rest of her family tends to.

Retirement savings (and to a lesser extent because the numbers are way smaller, college savings) drive the need to accumulate 25x your annual expenses.

They want that extra compensation for whatever they want it for. That's the thing about being paid a fungible - it puts the freedom to decide what to do with it where it belongs.

A publicly traded company I left some years ago had dozens of different little "things" they offered instead of better salary and/or better hours for the salary paid. They're now worth a tenth of what they were when I departed.

Who is making 150/hour and owns a house as a dev in Canada ? Nobody that works for Canadian companies that’s for sure
Yes, if you live in Canada and work remotely for a US company.
In that case, you've likely already optimized for compensation, so it makes sense that it would be less of a factor in your next move.

US companies pay 2-3x as much at the top end (if you relocate, probably less for remote). With that kind of gap it's pretty hard for pay not to be a major factor.

I thought Canadian houses were purely to be investment vehicles for foreign speculators. Canadians actually live in homes they own?
No, plenty of Canadian speculators as well.
Older ones I guess. According to Stats Canada over 6/10 families own their home.
> Why is compensation #1 though?

> There is a threshold where you have enough money.

You've answered your own question.

The threshold where you have enough has been driven up by crazy rents and house prices. Personally, I want my house paid off before I'm 40, so I shoot for maximum earnings and remote work that lets me live in a cheaper place. That ratio makes my ambition very attainable.

Related is the sustainability of work: I don't want to need high earnings past 40. I want to retire into a second career I'll find more fulfilling but which might pay dramatically less. Higher pay now is the only way I can achieve this.

Why would you pay off your house when you can keep the cash in an investment account making > 5% APR vs. the house loan which presumably is in the low 3s.
>> Why would you pay off your house when you can keep the cash in an investment...

I asked someone that in my mid 20's. He said "It's nice knowing I can support my family working at McDonalds if I have to." That stuck with me. Something fundamental changes in your life when you become debt-free.

> Something fundamental changes in your life when you become debt-free.

This to me is the only legitimate criticism, and it really boils down to risk-reward.

If you're holding cash for say a backup fund, great! That's good security and everyone should aspire to that. But also acknowledge that with 6% inflation, you're actually losing 6% on that backup fund.

Inflation is insipid. You _must_ take risk with your funds just to not lose the value of it.

> Inflation is insipid. You _must_ take risk with your funds just to not lose the value of it.

This certainly seems to be the case, but it's fustrating. I can think of no fundamental reason why it should be so. Other than speculators and govt policies backfiring to destroy the safety of alternative places to keep your money besides cash.

Couldn't agree more!

Then add to that the fact that you're taxed on `gains` for investment.

So buy an ounce of gold. 1 year later sell it for 6% more than you paid. Cool, beat inflation right?

Well, no because now you pay capital gains on something that isn't really worth more than when you bought it.

Inflation _is_ a tax...

> govt policies backfiring

Yeah sure, they're `backfiring`...

House prices are increasing by >5% a year in a lot of the world.
This doesn't change the equation.

Go buy a house that will increase by >5%/year, but then don't pay it off any sooner than you have to.

Make the minimum payments, and invest in something that will return a stable 5%+ with your remaining income.

Just because the house itself increases in value, doesn't mean you should pay down the ~3% interest rate loan any faster than you have to.

And really, once you've built enough via this strategy, you should either invest in a more expensive house or buy a house to rent afterward.

This is all the consequence of inflation and easy money/loans, but the smart money move is to never pay off low interest rate loans. This is particularly true when inflation (acknowledged anyway) is 6%.

Using the 6% number, you're actually gaining (on average) 3% on a 3% loan just by using the cash.

What investment can reliably get > 5% APR with low risk?
Over the timespan comparable to a mortgage? Broad-based equity funds.

The worst ever 20-year return for S&P 500 was +6.4% per year for the 240 month period ending in May 1979.


*assuming conditions over the next 150 years mirror those during the sudden rise of a single global superpower with control over the world's reserve currency and a continent full of unexploited natural resources at its disposal
I paid mine off years ago. I got the same thing then. "Name me one investment I can put this 100k into that will pay 1500 a month". That is closer to 15% per year...
Your actual return is only the interest portion of the payment, so that's an odd way to calculate it
>keep the cash in an investment account making > 5% APR vs. the house loan which presumably is in the low 3s.

One is guaranteed, one is not. Markets are volatile. I lived through 2001 and 2008 as a working stiff, that shit can drop on a dime.

Right now, I have no debts. House and vehicle are paid off and I have an "oh shit" account that's pretty good. I can sit here as a hermit for at least a year or two, three if I really hunkered down and pinched pennies. It's a good feeling; one less thing to worry about.

Now if I put all that money into the market and shit hit the fan, not only would I not be willing to sell stocks due to their price plummeting, I would still have a mortgage and car payment. I'd be in this situation for 6 months to a year. Not a great situation.

Ensure your freedom / ability to live first, then invest heavily, IMO.

This is something you can hedge against, which is known as a sequence risk [0]. There are investment vehicles with built in volatility buffers designed to avoid this https://paradigmlife.net/blog/episode/the-volatility-buffer-....

That 3 years of cash on hand would be better off in some kind of investment and if you're worried, supported by a volatility buffer.

[0] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sequence-risk.asp

> Why is compensation #1 though?

Is this a serious question?

Even people earning top 3% of salaries find houses to be expensive and most people will get indebted to buy a house. This is normality nowadays.

Money will always be a concern for the majority.

That said, I agree that once you've bought a house, you can cover your expenses and holidays, who cares about making more money. It's just not a very common position.

Could just be a due to a lack of awareness.

Some people will leave a low stress/low-moderate wage job for a high stress, high wage job, but end up with a drug habit/in a mental ward/jail and then wonder for years what the cause of the trouble was. I've seen it happen a number of times.

More is certainly better, but at a certain point, you kind of know where the industry is, and that you're probably not going to get a radical bump (although maybe right now you are?), so while it still counts, you start looking at the other factors more.
The poll is messing with your way of thinking.

Look at the poll and think on this statement:

"The majority of people leave a company because they are unsatisfied, not because of compensation."

The poll statistically verifies the above statement as true. Its just divided in a way that makes you think compensation is the main reason.

Still what the poll does show is that compensation is a significant factor, more than ever before.

That's a pervasive story that lots of people want to be true, but I can tell you firsthand it's not something you should bank on. I've definitely left jobs because money and only money. I've definitely watched co-workers and friends do the same.

There's definitely a ratio of job satisfaction / money where more money won't cancel out a toxic work environment (there's no reasonable amount of money that would persuade me to work for certain companies or return to certain jobs) -- but generally, I'm in it for the money. That's why it's a job and not a hobby. I got a mortgage, a family, and retirement to think about. I generally write off my work hours as an investment in those things.

If I start a salary conversation with my manager about more money and they rejoin with "what's bothering you?" that's not gonna go well. Now I want more money and you're being dismissive about it.

You can answer this with a little more nuance as a manager. I'd say "Let's talk about that, and also talk about what might be bothering you about working here". As others have said, for some people it's about money (need more or you are way underpaid), or you have things you hate about your job.

When you've got 10 or 15 years exp as a dev in the big tech cities, in my experience you expect to be paid market rates as an automatic thing but also you accumulate money over your career so it gets to be less important; I at least far more want more interesting work and no shitty work relationships wrt boss or time expectations. Being paid market rate is just the start, and that's easier to clarify. It's much much harder to know about the work situations you will be going into. I'm currently thinking of quitting my job after my 1 year stock comes in. My company is way over-working me and although I'm well paid in a sense at market rates, the job is not what I thought I was getting when I came there. I really struggled with how to answer my peers when they ask me about working there. I gave a mostly neutral recommendation.

Well, my landlord raised my rent 40% this year. So you better believe that made me start looking for another job

It's nice to think an employees's world revolves around office culture. Until Bright Horizons hand you that $4500 childcare bill (food not included, of course)

I could move to a lower COL city. But said job decided not to approve anyone moving to a remote location, we have to be ready for that return to office riiight around the corner

That might have been true in the old days when competitors paid 10, 20, 30% more. Now some tech companies are paying like 2x, 3x, 4x regular dev wages and its a reason to dedicate your life to this.
Also, for folks who are renting. With the cost of housing going through the roof this is also a driving factor that makes people reassess location/job and if they want to be renting the rest of their lives. Cheaper location and 30% more can go a long way.
Its still true as a generality. I would say the majority leave because they are unhappy.

Its very rare to get 2x to 4x TC unless you switch to faang, which is not the majority at all.

> which is not the majority at all.

It doesnt matter if it's the majority. It only matters on a per individual capability.

I am capable of FAANG and thus to keep me my employer(s) must both give me work w/ high value and compensate me accordingly.

We're talking in terms of the general consensus. The topic of this conversation is a POLL attempting to gauge that general consensus.

You're switching the topic to be about you and your individual ability. You're obviously the center of this conversation. Good for you.

Explain what you mean by 2,3,4x more please. You can look at levels.fyi and if you are in a big tech see what the big companies are paying, that sets the market. In my experience the amounts of sometimes shockingly high, but eliminate a few crazy outliers and I see accurate rates. I'm a 20 year experienced principal engineer, and I see rates that match what I get.

So what would 2,3,4x mean. Do you mean that much over your current salary, or over the 'market rate'. If someone paid me 2 or 3x my market rate as a principal backend infrastructure engineer, I would take it, but a year ago when I was interviewing, the offers from the big guys were not that different.

What I mean is in my firm grads with 2 years experience are on $140k, and can make multiples in MANGA. If you already have a good SV tech salary you aren't going to make 3x unless you luckily hit a RSU jackpot.
~Nobody left because of money so long as the money’s reasonably close. This environment has made it so the money is often not close.
This. It's a different game right now. As an employer it's very hard to take everyone's salary up 20% because that's what they might get elsewhere. So you don't. So people leave. But this won't last forever.
> But this won't last forever.

I feel like this quote is relevant, if slightly off topic:

"The market can stay irrational longer than you can remain solvent."

i.e. You may run out of good candidates long before your competitors stop offering 20% more than you.

Give it long enough and something irrational will just become rational. Especially when people have only ever experienced the irrational.
Ha. I've heard that for 20 years. And as an employer I don't see it ending soon. There's a boom right now, for sure, and wages are up, but I heard that in 2000 too. There was a slightly drop for a year or 2, but it's been steady upwards movement since then.
Steady growth is fine. The growth is not steady as of late, things have spiked in short order.
Someone can be quite happy with their jobs most days, be compensated at a historically very fair level, continue to get RSUs, etc. But, especially as a younger person or as someone with kids in school, etc. if Google comes along and says you can work remotely for 2x your current salary, that is really hard for most people to turn down.
Is that true anymore? Everyone I know is always on the job market, even folks who haven't jumped employers in 10+ years are regularly in idle conversation with the job market.

But, the honest answer to your boss's question: what bothers me is trading my time for money. My comp doubled. I can now afford to stop working in 3-5 years instead of 10+ years. I think this attitude has become much more common in the last 5-10 years.

I think this is something that varies with age. At 30, I was very aggressive in seeking better pay and more interesting opportunities. 20+ years later, I'm pretty much near the peak of my salary band in my region, and the work and environment is good enough to stay. I also have the typical roots put down; home, friends familiarity with my community. Disrupting that would be very stressful and the rewards would have to be commensurate.

So why would I bother jumping to a new job for a 10% increase?

I think the Great Resignation is really for industries that have had stereotypically low compensation, coupled with shitty environments. And I'm glad that people in those industries have a lot more leverage to make things better for themselves.

>Everyone I know is always on the job market

I think that's true for almost anyone--unless they're coming right up on retirement.

But there's a difference between semi-actively looking and occasionally responding to someone reaching out about something that actually looks interesting. Phone calls are rarely a bad idea unless they're complete wastes of time.

If people feel like they aren't being fairly compensated they'll definitely leave over the money.
This is exactly right and I think a good example of why we shouldn't generalize.

I grew up poor - and judge me however you'd like - but I'd put up with less ideal conditions if the pay was worth it.

Reminds me of in college when I was a waiter - I typically didn't mind a table's behavior if I knew they were going to tip well.

> but I'd put up with less ideal conditions if the pay was worth it.

They are called golden handcuffs for a reason. I think for the majority of people, they will do this. I know I will.

The thing is, in today's environment you can almost certainly get more cash comp at another company, almost no matter where you are. The stock can hold you back. The new company will probably give you more, but there will be a cliff. Often you can negotiate for something like giving you the stock money you'd get in the next 6 months as a hire on bonus.

If you worked at a company for a few years and they went ipo, that's a different situation.

I recently left because of money. I loved where I was at but I'm 40, I don't have a partner, and I want to buy a house already. I'm Canadian and got a job with a US company which worked out to be an almost 50% increase, so nothing they really could have done, unfortunately.

Well, I also really wanted to write Elixir professionally, and now I am! :) So it's not 100% true that it was all about the money.

Depends on how much money. If I can get 50K-100K a year more? (significant if you make under 250K annually) Then I'll probably look around even if I'm fairly happy.
The first of my friends to switch companies recently may have had another reason, but the rest switched when they heard how much he was making at his new job.
*nobody who was well compensated left their role due to money.

If I can leave my job right now and make 30% more than my current salary for doing the same work as my current company is only giving out 3%-4% a year max pay increases than I am a fool for staying.

I just left my job at one FAANG for another FAANG. I felt like I was under-compensated and talked to my manager, they said "well, go get another offer and show you're worth more". I went and got an offer that was nearly 60% higher and at a higher ladder level. My manager and director tried to retain me, but upper management "did not want to play that game", which I guess is a nice way of saying I'm not worth that much to the company. I did get a nice raise and a big bonus and a big refresher but it wasn't anything near the other offer.

Now, I kinda liked my job and team - but TBH it wasn't the most amazing role ever - let's say it was 7.5/10. If all things were equal or the difference was insignificant I would have stayed probably. I wonder how much I would need to love my job to have stayed regardless of having such a higher offer.

Yeaaaahhhh no. People leave because of money. People are leaving for money. And they would be stupid not to. Because companies have no loyalty. You are a human resource to be used up like any other. Like gasoline. The second they can save a few pennies this quarter you are gone. People used to stay for their pension. No pensions now. You have to fund your own retirement and that takes money.

I run my personal finances like a business. Whenever companies say "we're a family" or "we don't want someone only focused on money" I hear "we only hire morons". I an cognizant of cashflow, taxes, I'm very heavily invested and I take all of it very, very seriously in terms of structure, diversification, opportunity, tax efficiency, profits. Like any business should! Income is my biggest revenue stream and therefore the most important factor for my success a/k/a the success of my business (which is me). If I leave I'm leaving for money.

My relationship with my employer is a business one. I don't understand why managers / HR think it's some kind of therapy one. Your manager wants to talk about feelings? I don't write contracts for fun and friendship, they are for business and employment is a business relationship. I have an actual life that I am living and this business relationship is about money it is absolutely not my whole life and I'm more than happy to take my skills elsewhere for more.

I cannot fathom someone getting so wrapped up in their job as their identity that they literally pay money to the company to do it (by staying in a lower-paying position) but I guess it can happen, e.g. people go work for Apple which notoriously underpays as well as being kind of a poor work environment, but people still flock to them due to brand reputation. I don't have feelings about the companies I work for. I have strong feelings about the code I write, I strive for highest possible quality given the constraints. But who I am is the person who writes that kind of code, not who I write it for.

...If they are paid or have saved enough, maybe.

I just left a job that I loved for a big raise. I have a policy of seriously considering applying for similar jobs that offer salaries well above mine. Turns out, I love this job too, but I get more money.

I'm quite happy with the work environment of my current job. But I bet I can earn more money, so I'm interviewing. I'm specifically only applying to companies I'd really like to work for, though - I'm not trying to keep myself afloat.

After all, why not? It's not like you have to take a day or two off to potentially fly out for the on-site these days. It's been years since I played the interview game, so I need to keep my skills sharp. And if I get a better offer at a company I'd like to work for, why not take it? If the offer's not better, I can politely decline.

That doesn’t make any sense for my case. I always kept talking with recruiters just to see what’s available and as soon as there was a chance for a significant raise I took it
A former boss of mine said something similar:

"People don't quit a company, they quit their manager."

True for me in one situation. Worked for a large corporation and could not find any lateral movement within, either. Had to leave the entire company because I was growing frustrated (after too long - 1.5 years) with my manager appeasing his bosses at the expense of focusing on the career growth (learning, responsibility, impact) of his direct reports.
Unfortunately not true in my experience – the flow that I hear of happening a lot nowadays:

* Employee is happy (enough)

* Recruiter reaches out saying "we'll pay you your_current_comp * 2"

* Employee thinks "hmmm that seems **ing crazy, I wonder what's going on"

* Checks resources like levels.fyi or their network and realizes that they could _theoretically_ make (current_comp * 1.5), and probably pretty easily make (current_comp * 1.5)

* This leads to bitterness in some cases, or frank discussions of how to get paid more in others

I don't necessarily think that this is a bad thing fwiw but it requires employers to anticipate comp issues as benchmarks change.

Honest question: did he say how often the answer was "I need more money"? Most of the times I changed jobs, it was for reasons not related to money, but there was this one time that I actually needed more and ended up leaving because of that.

Ironically, it was one of the best jobs I ever had, but you can't actually pay for your newborn's healthcare with job satisfaction.

Maybe that was true in old days when jobs also give you some security. Covid proved that there is no “job security”: as soon as your employee runs into a little bit of revenue trouble, the lay offs will start.

So money is very very important.

I changed jobs last year because I was unhappy that I wasn't making enough money. These two things aren't completely unrelated.
He is right but only partially. A lot of people are unhappy about the money they make. you can’t escape your environment where you see someone else doing better than you in some small aspect or area of life but then is generalized to them doing better than you and hence the urge to have more money.

Most of the time things start from there and then the unhappiness snowballs to other areas of life

To examine this a different way: I have not ever gone a year in this industry without having to deal with some bullshit that made me annoyed / frustrated for multiple weeks.

But when my pay is good, I am much more likely to push through the bullshit and get back to the good stuff. When the pay is bad, I start thinking about touching up the resume and sending it around.

The corollary is that if I know I’m severely underpaid, I’ll probably be out the door within a year even if I am mostly content with the job. I’m 7 years into my career and this corollary has proven correct for 3 job changes now.

And that's how your old boss used to talk people about getting more money. Kids cost money. Mortgage costs money. Food costs money. And the biggest money trap of all is retirement. If you can't afford to retire from your current job, why stay?
People leave some jobs because of money: low paying jobs, generally. But I think this statement is more correct than not.

If people are quitting successive jobs for incremental pay raises, it probably means they hate things other than their salary, but don't believe those things are going to improve.

What a ridiculous statement, of course some people leave because money. They didn't get as big of a stock refresher as they wanted, they looked at levels.fyi, they asked a colleague how much they make, etc.

Perhaps some people start looking because they're unhappy and then learn they're underpaid but I personally know many people that started looking because of money—not the other way around.

The sociological aspects are always prime to me. When I find a rhythm, a place and a group, a lot of my minds goes relaxed. Even if the job is boring, even if the pay is lame.

And yeah every time you get sad or suffering at your job you get the reflex to want to be compensated for the pain. Or you can even think of sabotaging the place a bit.

I actually left a fake job paid very well because of the toxicity.

I would leave any job if the competition offers a significant raise. I don't think this attitude is very prevalent nowadays.
This is simply not true in many cases I’ve seen and experienced first hand. There are a lot of interesting problems and people to work with, many times the pay is the final deal breaker or maker when deciding between options (and when deciding to leave).
I don't think this is true anymore. Look, most of us here make good money. But look around, things are getting crazy.

I think get what you can get while you can get it and sock away as much as you can.

A review of the housing market should disabuse one of this notion in a very big hurry.

Sure, after a point, it's not about the money.

I've left jobs I was happy at for more 20% more money. And ended up just as happy.
Me too. I left for 25% more money. I'm also still just as happy. Both my new company and old company are excellent places to work.
well, if you are massively underpaid... you will leave just for money
What’s bothering me? Everything is so expensive and I have so little time.
In the past when people where spending 15 years in a company and the market was less competitive, yes.

Job hopping is the new default for engineers, most people after a few years in the industry realise their value goes up every once and then and that they can leverage that to get a salary bump.

I think this may only be technically true in a way that is unhelpful as a model for either employers or employees, and I'm not sure it's still true in the current day.

The immediate thing that caused me to start looking for a new job, most recently, was that I had a performance review / bonus conversation that went poorly (for me). It's a little hard to distinguish whether the thing that made me unhappy was getting the feedback of "We don't value the things you want to do with your career" or getting the feedback of "and, therefore, we will dock your pay." (In fairness to them, it's not clear the things I wanted to do with my career were in fact valuable to them.)

However, once I started looking, I discovered I was being seriously underpaid, and I really should have already been looking for new jobs. There's just a bootstrapping problem here - you don't know your market value until you start getting offers, and you have to start looking in order to start getting offers.

With new norms about talking about pay (this very website is a good spot, for software engineers) and sites like levels.fyi, I suspect I would have come to this conclusion a little earlier, on the basis of money. It's hard to estimate your market value but you now have a better idea of what the ballpark is.

(I suppose the other option is to continually be "looking," whether or not you have an active desire to leave. I know some people do that. But I personally find that exhausting.)

One of the good things that I think happened from the pandemic is that more and more people are realizing that tying up your identity and sense of self-worth in your job is a bad thing, that's why I'm very glad to see compensation so high on this list.

Sure, everyone wants to work in a good working environment, but I think the idea that "nobody left because of the money" is finally being put to bed.

The fact is that corporations and VCs have always realized that business is primarily just about the money, and their ability to get people to work for their "passion" has resulted in people getting underpaid. I'm always especially amused when people are expected to have "passion" when they're working at like a bank or an insurance company.

You work to make money. There are plenty of opportunities for hobbies and volunteering for passions. I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy what you do at work, but don't lose sight of why someone is paying you to do it.

I had a job that I enjoyed and excelled at. I did great, got good bonuses so I didn't move for 10 years. Then I got laid off. It was really really hard to find work again as my background wasn't full of hot technology, and I had no experience of modern interviewing (like leetcode). I dont want to be in that position again, so I'm interviewing again after a few years already.
In the tech industry, I'd generally recommend looking around every 3-4 years, unless you have golden handcuffs and you don't think that can be beat elsewhere. Any longer than that and you risk settling into a box of which you may become unable to think outside. Any shorter than that, and you probably aren't maximizing your potential, in terms of promotions and learning those fresh perspectives and new tech that will benefit you in your next role.

At some point, you may get to the level where you're happy with your comp and happy with your responsibilities, in which case it might actually be best to stay around as long as you can. Not my cup of tea, but it's definitely something to think about.

In other words, good on you for looking around after a few years!

It can be more than just golden handcuffs. If you stay at a place for 4+ years you hopefully have a lot of clout and connections. That kind of situation can get pretty comfy.

Starting all over again kinda sucks. The older I get the less I look forward to doing the hustle to gain cred in new orgs.

Definitely. You're not wrong. But one of the downsides of sticking around for 4+ years is, like I said, there is a _risk of_ (ie, not guaranteed) becoming kind of a stick in the mud and the company then could suffer from your leadership/clout rather than benefiting from it. I've worked at several companies where the leadership had been there for 8+ years, and that led to inertia and small-C conservatism and reluctance to adopt new technologies or paradigms that would really accelerate company growth. The companies were generally successful, but working there was kind of a slog and it was tough to attract new engineers to work on old tech in outdated paradigms. That said, there are plenty of folks who _like_ the old tech, so it's not necessarily a deal-breaker for anyone.

All that to say: you aren't wrong. If you're in that position and you don't want to leave, that's really the company's problem and not yours. Do your own thing! I support it 100%! (Not that you need my support, but you have it anyway!)

> unless you have golden handcuffs and you don't think that can be beat elsewhere

Luckily this is becoming less likely now that more companies are allowing remote work. I live in a relatively small city and have interviewed at every local company that interests me. My previous employer was by far the highest paying of all of them. I was able to find a remote job that broke my golden handcuffs by almost 2x.

The other golden handcuffs are vesting schedules.
There are two questions at the core of this: "What made you look" and "What made you leave". They can have the same answers but this isn't a great poll IMO.
https://randsinrepose.com/archives/shields-down/ is a classic article (and an incredibly important read for anyone in engineering management) that essentially argues that these two questions are fundamentally equivalent.
Jesus, I just looked at this article's bullet points for the factors that we evaluate in an instant when considering leaving a job. And where I failed every line. :\

I knew that I was looking for something else but I hadn't consciously realized it had gotten that bad.

    Am I happy with my job?
    Do I like my manager? My team?
    Is this project I’m working on fulfilling?
    Am I learning?
    Am I respected?
    Am I growing?
    Do I feel fairly compensated?
    Is this company/team going anywhere?
    Do I believe in the vision?
    Do I trust the leaders?
interesting. I'm a solid 'mixed' on these, although, I'm p/t contractor, not fte.

not respected, not growing, not strong trust.

learning - some, but I don't like some of what i'm having to learn (not terribly useful outside this project).

fulfilling... occasionally, but more often not.

It's not 'that bad' for me yet, but have been trying to watch out for these signs. I've been in your shoes - where it has gotten 'that bad', and often you don't realize until you're already there.

Good luck to you!

If your "shields" went down because you had a negative workplace experience, but then you found out that you could double your salary once you started looking, I think it's totally fair to consider both the toxic culture and the compensation your "why" factors.

It's easy to use something like compensation or new challenges as a post-hoc rationalization for making a move too, even when the real reason you started looking is perhaps different and requires some introspection. As an example, you might not start looking because you want more money, but it's fairly socially acceptable to say "I left because I was made an offer I can't refuse" as a justification when you do actually leave.

I would argue that the best world for employees is one in which their shields are always down.
I am looking to leave soon for increase challenge and new skills. Honestly intended to leave my current role 8 months ago, but my leadership suffered a huge wave of departures and I didn't want to leave my employer out to dry with no Director level leadership. Since then I had the opportunity to hire 11 new team members in the "new-normal" era of remote hiring, which I feel has increased my skills even further.

Also our new company culture (we were acquired) is one of using a lot of contractor resources to quickly build something, and throw it over the wall to our permanent staff, its just not healthy for the team long term.

I favor iterative approaches that are tightly coupled to customer feedback. Compared to our current rapid build outs with long feedback cycles.

My previous organization has been totally emptied out during the Great Quittening. All of us left for various reasons, including mismanagement, and the eminent impossibility of pay raises that kept up with the hot market + inflation. I was fielding offers at 20% past my previous base salary, plus MASSIVE equity upside, at a much more exciting company. I feel bad for any engineering leaders attempting to retain people right now.
I recently left a “good steady pay, low learning, low growth” company for a “risky pay, tons of learning, high growth” company.

I think COVID exacerbated winners and losers. The gaps between companies offering opportunity and stale companies is growing. People won’t stay at a company that rewards 2 years of heads down pandemic work with “Due to current conditions, we can’t fund bonuses. Raises will be less than inflation, and we can only promote people when their boss leaves.”

For more than a year I've been trying to get it clear to my boss that I'm too stressed and need a less chaotic workplace. The last months I've had constant headache and fuzzy vision. I checked my blood pressure and it was 180/95. Ten months earlier when I last checked it it was 130/83. On medication now, but my heart beats so hard sometimes I think I need more medication.

When I told my boss about this, he said the usual friendly words about I need to do what I must and that he was relieved the problem was found. I nearly exploded when I read that and told him that high blood pressure is the symptom, the cause is my workplace. Got no good answer to that. I spoke to someone more senior than me and it seems hopeless to resolve this without leaving, so that's what I'm going to do. Leave, and start my own company.

I can't work for someone who lacks empathy and is dangerous to my life.

> Leave, and start my own company.

I don't think that's going to be less stressful... Good luck though!

So, I left a huge job to work on my own stuff. Specifically, I'm working on infrastructure for board games: http://www.adama-lang.org/ using a new language and new SaaS platform.... I'm definitely shaving the Yak here.
(voted "other") I left my job in September due to burnout. In turn, that was due to being too invested in wanting to do good work, at a company that just didn't function at a basic level and thwarted my efforts at every turn. AND having this be the third similarly disastrous company I worked in within a 2-year span.

I took 4 months off and will be starting a new job in a couple weeks at a company that appears to be well-run and staffed with smart people. Also for significantly more money, but that's just icing.

(Throwaway for obvious reasons)

The market's been extremely hot the past 10 years. Anyone making a good tech salary and investing has done extremely well. I have enough to never work again. I didn't want to leave my team, but at some point your portfolio fluctuates every day by more than your salary and you have to ask yourself what's the point?

Assuming a salary of $100k, and 0.5% daily fluctuation, that's a portfolio of $20 million, which is a sizable amount.
Ha, I was thinking more like 10% fluctuation on $3 million against a salary of $300K. The total and the volatility could both easily happen if the user invested early in crypto.
Yep this is closer to the truth. I'm not a crazy crypto guy and don't blab about it at work, so nobody has any idea. I bet there are more people like me out there than you might think.
It's not uncommon for the stock market to fluctuate by 2% in a day (like today actually), which means he'd only need a portfolio of $5 million.
Given the username, it's possible portfolio is in crypto, which would have much greater fluctuations.
Just this week I chose to move laterally within a company. But that does entail leaving my former role, so I think the psychology is similar.

I had been working in a game development role, developing gameplay features. The position I moved to is developing service infrastructure for the game developers.

For a bit of history, my software career started at this company developing tools for the customer support department (I actually originally worked in customer support and my development promotion came about because I was developing tools for myself and my teammates). That went on for a number of years and I enjoyed it. I also did a bit of anti-cheating work, which I pushed for, so that was a good time too. Then I was placed onto this game feature role without any say in the matter.

I knew even before this change occurred that I don't care about commercial game development. I have plenty of amateur game development experience, but it's not something I have any interest in doing all day every day, especially when the motivation is commercial rather than artistic, and especially especially when higher-level decision makers relentlessly interfere. What I care about to the extent I can happily do it on a daily basis is making tools that make those around me more effective, pretty much regardless of what they're doing, because that makes the people around me happier.

So when I was asked if I was interested in this role, although I negotiated terms a little bit, basically I realized I had no actual leverage because just the work itself was such an appealing change to me. Incidentally I did get a substantial raise, but I'd made up my mind before that was even presented.

I also had some minor frustrations with the team I left, but I honestly think the team itself was on a promising trajectory, just the larger game development organization they were in (and my new team is outside of) was not. So I suppose in the "People don't quit jobs, they quit managers" frame, I quit the senior leadership of the game.

Left about 6 months ago, and was basically shocked at the compensation bump I got. As someone full time remote since 2017, working at the latest place since 2018, it felt like a new world looking for a job in 2021. So many more options, which basically makes it a job-seekers market.

But while the compensation bump is nice, the thing that got me seeking was the company itself. After an acquisition by VMWare, I watched it deteriorate over a year or two. To make anything happen, you had to basically go into "hero mode" working tons of hours, etc. And then you'd see pretty incompetent managers, the kind that treat engineers like cogs, continue to get promoted. Oh, and add no real clear direction on the products themselves.

So I guess that's "company culture"? I think there's a lot of people in this bucket, where "too much stupid at the current place" plus "lots of opportunity" means it's time to look around.

Some other people were taking advantage of work form home, and their slacking was pissing me off, so I looked. Then I got an offer which amounted to a 50% raise.
On similar note (but maybe not too similar): My work switched from being a in-office company to everything-remote. Productivity took a big hit because we were a small, tight-knit company, and people stopped talking with each other. Left it to take a job in a company that will never switch to remote-only. Much happier again.
It failed cause it took a team that worked in X way and made them work in Y way. Siloed work and faulty communication is an issue with in-person too, just differently.

Happy you found something that works for you, but you're overgeneralizing.

It failed because only 25% of the team actually wanted to go remote, the rest of us feel we're more productive in a non-remote environment. Work was never siloed (remote or not).

I'm not saying remote/no-remote is right for everyone, just talking about what works for me/the ones close to me, YMMV obviously.

He is not generalizing at all, he said what happened to his team.
Probably the same people who are saying they are much more productive working from home.
Don't think so. I'm highly productive working from home. But when I went to the office, we mostly ended up drinking and playing video games. I can't do maths without hours of quiet contemplation of the problem. In an office, that's almost impossible.
I left my job last may. I was a web developer at a branding /marketing agency. The office/people were great, no complaints about the work place at all. But after 5 years (and a similar stretch as an in-house before that), I just felt VERY burnt out. Every day was the same, projects were meaningless, coding wasn't challenging, I felt like an imposter and bored at the same time, I wanted to build my own 'thing' and felt i was running out of time.

I was so checked out at the end, I bombed a big project and was totally stressed over it the entire time. After that, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision while doing a post-mortem with my boss to resign (probably would have been fired anyways).

Haven't worked since May 2021. Worked on my own project for several months, but the burn out is real and I can't seem to get back to a spot where I am 'excited' about anything let alone coding, even for myself. It has definitely taken its toll on my wife and family, and I have started to look for work again although I know this just leads back to burn out feeling and feeling of failure, which I realize I was struggling with before I resigned.

I haven't been able to complete projects - personal, work, home, coding , non-coding - for a long time now and am struggling to figure out why and how to overcome (at this moment I am procrastinating putting up baseboards in our ALMOST finished basement with reading and replying to HN).

In the end, although it was in essence a selfish move that spans many of the options in the poll, I think I quit my job because mentally I needed a break from what I was doing and really don't want to do it for anyone else ever again. The biggest problem with this is that i waited too long to do this and now i can't find the motivation/drive/will/self-dicsipline to even do it for myself now due to extreme burn out.

I feel for you!

Quick question, what would you like your legacy to be? What words do you want people to say when they speak about you and the life you lived?

Today was my last day.

I moved to the UK for a pretty awesome job. These last few years have led me to re-evaluate my priorities, and I'm moving back home to be closer to family and old friends.

Many of my international colleagues (especially European) have made similar decisions.

Similar situation in my current workplace. A lot of ppl are quitting to take some time off to gather thoughts and help family go through those tough times.

In IT if you are a good dev and keep youself up to date, it will be not hard to find a nee job.

But finding a new family will be a lot harder..

We've had a few European colleagues move back home since the referendum. It's sad but entirely understandable.
I recently changed because all of the above at once:

- spent 3y at prev job, which is typical interval where 1) learning starts to plateau, and you realize all the unchangeable constraints that block you from delivering things you'd like to deliver; 2) you are in company long enough that you're the reference point for dozens of things and people keep pinging you all the time; and you somehow end up in a box that you can't get out of; at the same time getting recognition/promotion is hard if you're in a large group of folks with similar level of exp and company is not growing

- salary-wise, recent market move has been bonkers, and getting a bump at $prev_job being even a slice of the current market rates was unimaginable.

- there definitely is a FOMO when you see all the new technologies that everyone seemingly embraces while your company does not (TypeScript! Github Actions! Cloudflare workers! and what not), and you start thinking you'll become unemployable soon

- trying to check out a slightly different kind of organization and under a different business model and different scale

- remote: due to covid everyone's been remote and will be for a while, but it was only semi-reflected in the prev company's way of working and it was not clear what will be the way forward; shifting to proper full remote / async gives me some kind of stability in how to think about work and life for a while, and makes it possible to move far away from the office if I decide it's worth it

I just started a new job. The CEO of my previous employer decided to do a surprise reorganization which involved firing the entire management chain above me. My new manager after the reorg asked me on the first day “so, what do you do here?”. I’d been working there for 9 years so I didn’t take that as a good sign.

My new job is fully remote, has very interesting work, and my compensation almost doubled.

I have already referred 4 of my previous colleagues to my current company.

For me, the proverbial final straw came when I delivered a dinosaur utility company it's first churn propensity score. Bit of background, my manager and their manager were non-technical and I had this thing running in evaluation mode for a few months with excellent lift in the top couple of percentiles. I had the statistics well grounded, and this thing was due to go in against basically nothing, renewal teams randomly calling prospects.

Anyway, before this thing goes live, I see a few managers printing out pages of Excel sheets and arranging them on a conference table to validate the model with literally pencil and paper. They didn't know what a percentile was until I explained it.

I handed in my notice the Monday following that weekend. Sometimes, if you're not trusted to do a good job, it's not worth trying.

Money and opportunity. I'll be leaving for 50% more pay and a company that's 1000x bigger than anything I could find locally. That means room for growth, knowledge, the ability to work in different areas and with more technology, and the ability to learn from the best in the industry.

The worst part, is also the part that enables this, it is a 100% remote position. Having multiple small children at home can be a challenge (even there is a sitter), as well as spouse that mostly works from home.

A large majority of job switching this past year is largely due to covid.

Industries being affected differently, working arragements changing, and a big one being that during the pandemic many people were afraid to resign during a time of crisis and held on to jobs that they normally would have gotten rid of sooner.

Then of course you have the resulting inflation and price mismatches in the job markets and it's often easier to switch jobs than to negotiate higher salaries.

I don't think your poll options really allow you to capture the big picture.

I left because they kept setting a return to work date, and then pushing it further and further without ever offering permanent work from home options. It showed a lack of respect for their employees by not letting them plan their futures.

Additionally, there was a lot of surveys and manufactured consent internally. It was all so silly.

I got a new manager in Q1 2021 and she was super toxic. She was a terrible communicator and made me feel so bad about myself. Nothing was ever good enough. I never sent her something and received a "This looks great. Good job" - Everything was nitpicked. Why put forth effort when she will just tear down anything I create and tell me to rebuild it? Mind you, I am aware when I make mistakes, but the final straw was when I went above and beyond, did a super great job creating some documentation for her, and excitedly sent it to her thinking "She's gonna love this! I killed it!". She sent me back a huge wall of text essentially telling me to redo it (with a ton of comments added to the original MS Word document).

I resigned in December with no new job lined up. I got tired of crying before my biweekly '1 on 1' meetings with her. It's crazy because before she came, I was doing great. Our previous manager was excellent. She was run off by a toxic co-worker in my department who was the most experienced (He would make her life a living hell through small bits of periodic sabotage).

This was my first job out of college (Information Security Analyst). The work I was doing was extremely tedious and didn't require any skill whatsoever - It was basically data entry & sending emails. I understand that the newbies have to earn their stripes, but I was approaching 2 years with this company, and I felt like I was crippling myself as each day passed. Shouldn't I have been performing risk assessments and reviews, and LEARNING? I have to grow so I can support the company, right?

The rest of my team (with more seniority) were working on projects with a lot of depth. Meanwhile, I'm sending emails to people for 30 hours per week (access reviews performed manually by sending hand crafted AD group reports for a company with 3,000 employees...). My technical skills (Networking, Linux/UNIX, Cybersecurity) were starting to atrophy due to lack of use. The company I worked at payed EXTREMELY WELL, but I looked to the future and didn't like the idea of being handcuffed to this one company due to my lack of growth.

I also believe one of my co-workers was trying to sabotage my work. He would feed me bad information (at critical moments) which would completely derail my project down the line eventually (despite him specializing in his role for 20 years) - I sometimes wonder if he was threatened by me (or maybe I'm just full of myself?).

Either way, it was a great experience for a while. But then it was awful.

I wonder how much compensation is working as a proxy for appreciation, in this poll. That's to say, if your company really valued your contributions and made that apparent (but couldn't match a higher offer), would you still leave?

Company culture as the #2 answer seems to add weight to this...

To be clear, there's no better way to value your employees than pay them well. But I think people's motivations here are driven by more than just $$$.

Previous company went through a fairly disastrous change in management. I was the 5th person out the door on a team of 8. New manager was super "data driven" so productivity plummeted as we were inundated with piles of new processes - a 3 day lab test (no additional cost other than my labor) took me over 6 weeks to get management approval and sign offs for. But, we didn't have any "old data" (because the processes were all new) to prove that things had gotten much worse.

Wife has commented many times on the change in my personality, as I'm not ending most days furious and miserable.

Guess that's "Company Culture" for purposes of the poll.

Not sure if these count as company culture but: Frequent hiring freezes, blown out projects that never make progress, IT support outsourced to SEA where tickets that took hours before take days instead, upper management more focused on making new acquisitions rather than integrating existing business units, and so on.
I have enough money saved up, whereas I don't really need to work for at least 6 months.

This is assuming I don't even try to adjust my spending, push come to shove. I can probably last up to a year without a job.

I remain employed because frankly otherwise I'd be bored.

Once COVID gets under control, I think I'm going to probably live in another country for at least 3 months.

There was a huge disconnect between management at the top and those on the ground.

I think some managers never learnt to correctly judge workload and responsibilities. They we're rewarding those with minor responsibilities for achieving goals and harshly punishing those with huge responsibilities for minor misses.

This inability to judge workload and responsibilities was previously hidden by people's presence in the office giving bad managers a proxy but now the flaws in that management style are being exposed in the most extreme way. Entire teams are disbanding since as soon as one member of an overworked and under-rewarded team leaves the problem for that team is exacerbated.

I saw a great quote on HN a few weeks ago that went along these lines:

"Managers don't know if you coded it right, but they sure know if you missed a deadline."

At least in large enterprise software world, I have noticed in recent years that managers are starting to offload everything to the individual contributors. For example, in the early 2000s when I started my career I remember managers would do project management and interface with other teams, among other things. I've started that at least in my last 3 positions, managers will typically offload this work to engineers, who don't typically have the skillset to do these things and thus causing a suboptimal operating environment.
I think as you make your way up the career ladder it starts to become less about compensation and more about the culture and politics. I would accept less compensation to work in an organization with clear goals, clear accountability, and a better, more open culture.

One item missing above is “People”. The people you work with directly on a day to day basis, including of course your own leadership make a huge impact in your work satisfaction.

other -

Return to company I left 15 years ago because they didn't use a particular software I'm in love with (Houdini). Now they do AND I can work remote. I'm in!

I left my previous job because breach of trust - if you're telling me for months that we're going to use language A, and then you go with language B, then that's not really treating your team with respect. I'd be happy learning new language, if it's right for the job. Making a decision on a whim is not something one should do, without consulting with people that actually built the platform.
Flexibility (remote) was the primary motivating factor, but compensation was a pretty close second as I ended up with a ~50% increase. I wouldn't say that was down to the market, though, I was very underpaid relative to my positions average (I'm now slightly below average), which really came down to difficulty I've always had in valuing my work and my abilities.

I'm sad that it took a pandemic to take stock in my life, and I certainly don't think the family members I've lost were worth anything I may gain, but I'm glad to be where I'm at helping to push us ever forward.

I have enough money to be comfortable and even mid six figures isn't enough money to justify renting out my brain and creative energy full time toward solving someone else's problems.

If companies want experienced SWEs like me, you need to offer very part time positions. My maximum commitment is 3 days/week.

> it does seem that there are a large number of people switching jobs.

Some of the attrition was deferred because they would have left in 2020, but decided to wait.

I left my last job partly because my role didn't match my responsibilities or my compensation, and they played games with a promotion. That wasn't a dealbreaker all on its own, the other part was that I was bored and nothing I was working on or leading really felt like it was worth it, it was just work for the sake of work.

To be honest, as soon as I realised that I was mentally checked out, the writing was on the wall. Neither a pay rise or a promotion would have kept me there for much longer because I would still have been carrying the legacy around with me.

There was no counter offer when I resigned. I suppose I'm grateful that we skipped the bullshit there.

My last job was a dead end: small software group which had survived many mergers and lived inside a mining/valve manufacturer. The only interest upper-level management had in our group was cutting costs. This caused a lot of dysfunction in our group, which lead to stagnation of the product and any learning/challenges. Plus I was underpaid.

A buddy had approached me a year or so prior to quitting with an idea and we developed and won an SBIR grant from NASA which ran the second half of 2021. The results weren't quite strong enough for commercialization, in my opinion. So I will be on the market in a month after more studying.

I've been in that situation twice. The first time I stayed 6 years too long; the second one I stayed 2 years too long. I've never experienced a merger where I worked that the absorbed company to be worth staying.
I retired rather than go along with extremely bad scientific/technical decisions by managment. Also, continuing to work was not improving my finances very much.
Poor Management, being left to rot while being managed by proxy of Jira.
I can find myself saying yes to all of these with my most recent move. I think Compensation in many cases is a canary for other issues. If I don't like the company culture, life balance, product I am working on, etc. I may do that for enough compensation. If the compensation stops being worth it you move.
I suspect that the so-called Great Resignation follows a period of nobody leaving their jobs, presumably due to fear of what was to come amid the pandemic. Last year reports were indicating that a record number of people wanted to leave their jobs, but weren’t, thus giving us a glut of people ready to leave all at once instead of doing so over a longer period of time like they normally would. This would also explain the so-called Labour Shortage we were hearing about. With people not looking to job hop, people applying for work dried up, leaving a liquidity problem. In normal times employers always have someone ready to leave their current position in which to hire.
Labor shortages are also a problem of workforce participation. While the big headline number that most news organizations cover is unemployment numbers, the one that is really important with the pandemic is Workforce Participation. AKA: "the proportion of the working-age population that is either working or actively looking for work". Check out the stats for this: [0]. We are still down 1.5% from where we were pre-pandemic (63.4 - 61.9). With the workforce age population being around 204 million people, that means that we are down about 3 million people.

[0] https://www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-lab...

I live in Iowa and we were at full employment pre-pandemic. Everybody who wanted a job had one, and businesses all over the state were short of staff just like they are today. Politicians were speculating on ways to get disabled people and stay-at-home-moms into the workforce, overlooking our chronic brain drain of people going to out-of-state universities and never coming back. Our return to normal was always going to be that, but everyone seems to have forgotten.

Here's an article from 2019 about it, but the situation is just no longer in the conversation because unemployment benefits (which ended ages ago) is an easier target than making it suck less to live here: https://www.npr.org/2019/05/23/721086615/in-this-town-you-ap...

Thanks for the article btw, as an Iowa State grad, that was a fun article to read.
The vast majority of the drop in Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is Boomers permanently withdrawing from the workforce (some of which may have been accelerated by the pandemic, both because of convincing people they didn't want to keep working and disability, but while there may be some temporary unretirement driven by improved working conditions and rising costs & pay, most of that won't reverse.)

The “working age” band has a lower end, but no upper end, so demographic bulges passing through retirement age produce LFPR drops.

I outlined my rationale for a 1-year sabbatical [1] in this blog post: https://kayce.basqu.es/sabbatical/prologue

[1] It'll probably end up being 8-9 months

Current job is focused on $x and I want to do $y. I guess that's similar enough to new challenge/learning?

Another reason - job is too easy and undemanding or there just isn't that much to do. I could have coasted and collected a paycheck (I did for a little bit) but I just knew that it's bad for me to stay there long term. I imagine this is some people's dream job though.

And more money of course is a factor. I once left a job that I really enjoyed doing for one that I suspected wouldn't be that great just because I could more than double my salary (it's not that impressive, I was just severely underpaid at the first job).

This poll lacks a “my job makes me miserable and a bad spouse/parent”.
I feel that's filed under "company culture", no?
Mismanagement would be good option.

I decided to open my own company just because there is a horrendous management culture in the North America.

Last company I had worked about three years ago had a really bad management culture where managers were total talentless pricks. Now, that might be okay if compensation was crazy high but company also had below average industry wages.

I also figured out that you can pay people really low wages so long as you act decent towards them. I don’t have real employees at the moment but I got some contractors. I pay them insanely low wages, but I frequently praise them and thank for their work. So far I got really good results with this arrangement.

Why wouldn't you list vax mandates and general covid policies as responses?
is this in the tech industry or the economy as a whole? people in the service industry are leaving because it's even more miserable during a pandemic
You're missing an option for management IMO.
The meta for everyone in software development is to change jobs every two to three years to increase your income.

But people generally leave when the company stops being fun for you . I doubled my income at a job I enjoy after leaving another company and joining a startup and doing some freelancing in crypto / hyperledger software prototyping. I also lucked out since I was hired in 2019 and I paid all of my credit card debt and my investments made my net worth increase to $200k.

I think it’s somewhat self reinforcing. Work life balance got askew during the pandemic. As team members leave, the expectations don’t fully reset, so workload of remaining folks goes up. They leave, furthering the situation. At some point the cycle is complete and the team is almost entirely new.
My anecdote is that because of a large stock decline since starting, unless my company gives an unheard of refresher grant, then my income is going down something like 25-30%. They're no longer competitive because they have infrequent comp adjust cycles and other companies pay target comp with today's stock price. I think people who start new jobs now are going to make bank when the tech sector recovers, albeit maybe a few years.
Working at Apple as a contractor sucks, I am starting my new gig next tuesday that lets me do 100% remote as a fte so I get all the benefits I miss out on at Apple since I don’t live where they want me to.
I'm switching from a FTE to a contractor next week (for a different company) so now I'm curious to know what exactly you didn't like about that arrangement.

I'm personally making the switch to work three days a week and focus on my own project the remaining two.

There has been such a dramatic increase in comp in the tech industry recently. But it seems that is only realized through switching companies. I know for the company I'm at offers to external candidates have had to keep pace with the market, but we haven't had the budgets to increase the existing employee base. So new people typically make ~25%++ more than good tenured people.
The chip shortage means I can't manufacture electronics products so I see a long period (potentially of unknown length) of no income for my business, so had to put the electronics business on hold and find a regular job. Decided to do this proactively before I actually had to.

I am grateful that it was relatively easy to find new fulfilling work. This seems like a good time to look for a job.

I'm leaving because I'm not a fan of our tech stack, thought it would be fun. I was wrong. Going back to mobile (Android), I also just miss it.
I'm switching from a FTE position to a 3 days/week contractor role. Mostly because it allows me to work on my startup, but also because the contract work is for a very interesting high-profile startup.
Sometimes people leave their job because they retire. In fact, nearly everybody eventually retires.
I didn't hate my old job or find the pay inadequate, but I had always thought about seeking out something else since I was losing interest and wanted to learn something new. Working from home just made it far easier for me to take the initial steps to start looking. I also had more time to look for openings and my schedule was much more flexible for interviews thanks to WFH.
Someone should make a thread asking the opposite question: Why are people staying at their jobs?
I guess you could negate the outcome of this?

-> Leaving because of not learning stuff, Staying because of learning new stuff -> Bad compensation, good/sufficient compensation ..

Although I imagine there could be less positive reasons:

* Few job opportunities / ..

The organization lost my respect once they mandated that I get a health procedure in order to work for them. I received an "exemption", but the damage was done: I no longer believe the organization is a net positive for me because they will play political games, and I am just a pawn.
I'm in the middle of switching jobs (waiting for the offer letter):

- present job is an unsustainable ~60+/ hours week, new jobs should be 45/50

- new job has higher salary, and better equity package, and company is at an earlier stage with greater prospect for the future and better industry

How do you all find time to practice interviewing while having a job? After work I'm kind of burnt out. I guess I can just do it during work since I plan on leaving.
Wish you would have clarified whether people should vote for only the most pressing (primary) one or more than one if several are factors.
Compensation and I got in a fight with my boss.
left Dec after almost 2 yrs 4 mo, new challenge/learning for me, also putting a few months into a start up before going back into the work force

I am broke so this is risky for me

I stopped working because my savings have exceeded my capacity to project into the future
In the late-90s, the selling point for jobs in the newspaper (yes, this is how it worked) was "free laptop." I know of several people who jumped job-to-job to get a newer Thinkpad.
It would be cool if the Poll on HN would sort the items by rank and maybe include the ratio.
generally sorting options is a form of biasing in polling. Best to randomize them, maybe sort _after_ voting
Personally, it was more about company culture and flexibility. But unfortunately, many firms have not moved on from the legacy view of the worker. Although, from my perspective, it is the most significant driver for the mass exudes we are seeing, it doesn't all seem to be about money. But, for the most part, it sure as hell is critical to pay people what they are worth.
1. Lockdown politics

2. Company culture

Now happily self-employed :)

Leverage. Boomers keep retiring. Immigrants stopped coming (especially the talented/educated/smart ones).

Demand is high, so workers can have higher expectations. Everyone is moving up or moving out.

The poll should have an "I'm staying" option.
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