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The Real Reason Good Employees Quit

When you find a better job than the one you have now, the number one thing you want to do is slide out the door without causing any fuss. There is no benefit whatsoever for a departing employee to share any more truth about their reasons for leaving than "I got an offer I couldn't turn down!" and that's why we hear this cliche so often. Of course there is more to the story than "I got an offer I couldn't refuse!" but the employer who has shoved the employee out the door by ignoring their needs, taking them for granted or outright mistreating them does not deserve to hear the full story. They missed their chance to get your free consulting advice. They had the opportunity to listen to you the whole time you worked for them. One of the biggest problems in the working world is that an invisible, impermeable wall can build up between what employees would love to say and what the leadership team can stand to hear. When you work for a company that is not interested in your opinion, you can tell. They make it obvious. Once you know in your gut that your boss is not interested in your opinion, what other choice do you have than to find another job?

Nobody can or should stay in an organization that doesn't value them or their observations. The fake reason good employees leave their jobs is "An amazing job offer flew in from left field and fell in my lap" and if you believe that story, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. People do not want to job-hunt. It's a huge pain in the neck. They resist it. They rationalize their boss's bad behavior or their company's draconian HR policies. They try as hard as they can to make it work. They are pushed to start job-hunting by countless slights and insults that build up over time. In December your boss promised you an excellent pay increase and a plum assignment to take effect in January. In January they backpedaled and said the pay raise would be split into three parts based on achievement of your 2017 goals.

That's a totally different message, but your manager didn't apologize for waffling. Instead they said "You know these aren't my decisions!" They bristled and became indignant, like you did something wrong. In February your boss yanked your plum assignment and gave it to someone else. They said "You need to be flexible!" In March they made you change your family vacation for the second time in a row. Then you worked until midnight to save your boss's tush and you got admonished for coming to work twenty minutes late the next morning. Now your path is clear. You have to start job-hunting, whether you want to or not. When you finally give notice your manager may dare to ask you "Why are you leaving?" Your manager's shock at your resignation shows that a wall has arisen between the real world you live in and the fake world your manager inhabits. Your boss cannot rise out of their fear-fueled state to see you as a person. They cannot see anyone that way. They only see production units in human form, and every time they see a human-shaped production unit their fearful brain asks them "How can this person be useful to you today?" They cannot think longitudinally or relax into the awareness that every problem can be solved if we can trust ourselves and other people. Your fearful manager cannot do either of those things. We can feel sorry for people mired in fear but we cannot save them from their panicked state. In order to stay healthy ourselves we have to get away from them, and that is why good employees leave.

Because they are good employees, they button their lip through months of years of unfortunate incidents, managerial missteps and indignities their boss neither apologizes for nor, evidently, perceives. Who would continue to push a rock uphill at work when the world is so big? If your current employer doesn't deserve your talents anymore, plenty of others will. Managers can bury their heads in the sand and say "Too bad Charlie quit -- we'll miss him! He said he loved his job here, but he got an offer he couldn't refuse." They can shut out powerful signals from the real world -- signals that would help them, their leaders, their customers and their shareholders -- or they can tune in to the Reality Channel and start listening to employees before they walk out the door.

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