Nearly a Quarter Quit…Only to Regret it

In a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, 23 per cent of workers polled said they have regrets about leaving their former job. Conducted by an independent research firm, the survey included responses from more than 1,000 U.S. workers, 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

What We Regret Most About Leaving
Biggest regrets include leaving friends and colleagues (28 per cent), departing for the wrong reasons (27 per cent), and saying goodbye to a great boss or mentor (20 per cent).

“Leaving one job and starting another is exciting, but it can also be a stressful decision,” said Michael Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps. “If you’re unhappy with your current role, carefully consider your options before you make a move you might regret later.”

A Little Nostalgia Normal
Sixty-three percent of workers would consider returning to a former employer, but it would take better pay (52 per cent), promised opportunity for growth (15 per cent) or a flexible schedule (15 per cent) to entice them back, according to the survey.

Professionals who carefully weigh their options before quitting a job are less likely to regret their decision, but they may still feel remorse. Steinitz added, “It’s normal to be nostalgic about a former job, but you probably had a good reason to leave.”

A Checklist Before (and After) Leaving
Do-overs are hard to come by in the corporate world. Accountemps offers a checklist of steps to take before and after deciding whether to leave your current employer:

If you’re unsure about leaving:

  1. Address dissatisfaction. Try to resolve the issues that are making you consider a move. Request a meeting with your manager to discuss why you’re unhappy, and try to come to a resolution.
  2. Talk career path. Use the meeting with your manager to discuss potential growth opportunities within the company. If you do not feel challenged, ask for opportunities to work on bigger projects or ways to gain new skills.
  3. Take a break. A heavy workload may be causing added stress, as you try to balance demands of the job and personal responsibilities. Use vacation time to relax and recharge – you may come back feeling satisfied and doubts may have disappeared.
  4. Do your research. If salary is the primary reason for wanting to leave and your requests for a raise have gone unanswered, investigate what someone in your position with similar experience is making in your market. Resources like the Robert Half Salary Guides can shed light on starting salaries.
  5. Network. Reach out to contacts in your industry to see what the employment market is like for someone with your skills and experience. If demand is low, be cautious about making a move. If demand is high, try to learn which companies are hiring, their corporate culture and other details that could help in your decision.

If it’s time to move on:

  1. Exit gracefully. If you decide to accept another job offer, schedule a private, in-person meeting with your boss to discuss your decision to resign. Try to give at least two weeks’ notice. Demonstrate respect and professionalism by offering to help with the transition during your final days.
  2. Be wary of counteroffers. Now that you’ve quit, don’t look back and renege on your agreement with your new employer by accepting a counteroffer. It not only burns bridges, but it likely won’t resolve the original issues you had with your current job.
  3. Give helpful feedback. If an exit interview isn’t offered, request one. Be honest but tactful in your feedback. Your constructive criticism could help improve the workplace.
  4. Stay in touch. Leaving good friends and mentors is one of the hardest aspects of changing jobs. Exchange personal contact information, add them to your professional online network and meet up occasionally to stay connected.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at

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