Should I Stay or Should I Go? Why You're Most Likely to Quit

should i quit When it comes to deciding whether you'll quit your job or stick it out, what would be your last straw? An abusive boss? Incompetent and unpleasant co-workers? A paltry salary? According to a recent survey, those are all grounds for leaving, but the No. 1 reason people say goodbye to their jobs is that they don't have enough opportunity to move forward and progress.

BlessingWhite, a global consulting firm, recently commissioned The Employee Engagement Report 2011, which explored workplace attitudes among employees on four continents and surveyed nearly 11,000 employed professionals. The results were surprising.

Lack of career opportunity and a distaste for the work are the biggest reasons those surveyed are willing to leave. BlessingWhite CEO Christopher Rice explains, "While raises may encourage some workers to stick around, our findings suggest that employees -- especially high performers -- will remain in jobs that challenge them, utilize their expertise, and provide meaning."

Here are the top reasons why people are willing to quit:

1. My career. I don't have opportunities to grow or advance here (26 percent).

2. My work. I don't like what I do or it doesn't make the most of my talents (15 percent).

3. My finances. I want to earn more money (15 percent).

4. My desire for change. I want to try something new (12 percent).

5. My manager. I don't like working for him or her (10 percent).

6. Other (The Economy, Job Conditions, Org. Mission, Colleagues) (18 percent).

The survey also looked at why people stay on their jobs, the No. 1 reason is neither fortune nor fame -- it's simply liking what they do. Here are their chief reasons for staying put, according to the survey:

1. My Work. I like the work that I do (30 percent).

2. My career. I have significant development or advancement opportunities here (17 percent).

3. My organization's mission. I believe in what we do (11 percent).

4. No desire for change. I am comfortable here (10 percent).

5. My job conditions. I have flexible hours, a good commute, etc. (10 percent).

6. My finances. I expect a desirable salary, bonus, or stock options (7 percent).

Among the study's other findings:

The survey also found that although workers across generations agree on their top reasons for staying and leaving, the youngest workers (Generation Y or Millennials) place higher priority on career opportunities than they do their work. Likewise, Gen Y employees are more likely to leave in pursuit of more money. Baby boomers, on the other hand, seek more interesting work and change (something new).

Rice advises employees to rethink their career notions. "When employees understand that today's career is all about creating a portfolio of assignments and projects, not necessarily promotions and new titles, they're better prepared to concentrate on finding work that they enjoy."

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