Would You Jump Ship From Work If You Hit the Jackpot?

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By Debra Auerbarch, CareerBuilder Writer

Have you ever dreamt that you won the lottery, stormed into your boss's office and yelled, "I quit!" (along with some expletives, perhaps?), and then set sail on your new yacht for a trip around the world?

What if that dream became a reality, and you really did hit the jackpot? Would you leave the professional world behind, or would any part of you miss the mental stimulation and feelings of accomplishment that being in the workforce brings?

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, a majority of workers would in fact stay put. Fifty-one percent report that, even if they didn't need a job financially, they would still work after winning the lottery.

Turns out, other factors motivate people to work beyond financial security. When asked why they would stay employed after winning the lottery, the most common reasons include:
  • I would be bored if I didn't work – 77 percent
  • Work gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment – 76 percent
  • I want financial security aside from the financial winnings – 42 percent
  • I would miss co-workers – 23 percent

Continue to work, but where?
While many employees say they'd still work if they had the winning ticket, that doesn't necessarily mean they'd stay where they are. Just 30 percent of workers would stay in their current job after winning the lottery.
Perhaps that's because, if given the choice, they'd rather follow a passion. Only 15 percent of workers report they are currently working in their dream job, and another 36 percent say that while they're not quite there yet, they believe they'll be there someday.

Quitting with class
Sure, it may be a nice dream to quit in a grand way, but most workers realize that it's not worth burning bridges, even if they won't need to work again. In fact, most employees would bow out from their current jobs respectfully.
When asked how they would quit their jobs, the most common response was to give two weeks' notice or even more if the employer needed extra time to find a replacement (48 percent). Other popular answers include:
  • Give two weeks' notice and leave after two weeks – 31 percent
  • Resign that day without giving notice – 13 percent
  • Tell off the boss and air all grievances – 3 percent
  • Not show up to work the next morning without formally quitting – 2 percent

So the next time you're buying a lotto ticket, consider whether you'd truly be ready to walk away from work or if perhaps you'd use your financial windfall as an opportunity to pursue your dream job.

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