top of page

Let's Get Real: Why People Really Leave

So, there's this saying we hear a lot: "People don't leave jobs; they leave bad managers." It's catchy, it's tweetable, but let's take a closer look. 

Reality Check: Counting the Breakups

Ever tried that exercise where you list all your past jobs and why you left? Spoiler alert: it's not always because of bad bosses.

1, Count all the places that you worked at.

2, Write after each why you left. Be honest!

3, Count how many were due to bad managers and calculate the %. 

So, you're counting your job breakups and trying to figure out if bad management was the straw that broke the camel's back. Turns out, for many of us, it's not the big bad boss who takes the blame most of the time. The magic number seems to hover around 20% when people had at least 5-6 jobs. Bad managers are part of the picture, but they're not starring in every exit story.

I dare you to do this exercise! 

Sure, a bad boss can be a reason you leave, but there are millions of others. Maybe you wanted to grow, or you needed more cash, or you were just tired of the same-old same-old. Life happens, and so do job changes. Once I left because I was harassed by a male colleague. Once I followed my partner to another country and once because I didn't like the city. I left the Maldives because it was so boring I almost died of boredom. I am a city girl and made a mistake in thinking island life is suitable for me. 

It's easy to point fingers at the boss when things go south, but let's zoom out. Sometimes, it's not the manager; it's the outdated processes, the ancient policies, the never-ending red tape, or simply because the job itself is BS (Read the book Bullshit Jobs). Maybe the frustration isn't personal; it's just the workplace vibe.

Then you have people who are delusional thinking they are due for a promotion but realising they might be overestimating their superhero status. It happens. Blaming the boss for not noticing their awesomeness might feel good, but maybe it's time for some self-reflection.

Pointing fingers at bad bosses might make for a juicy narrative, but it doesn't capture the full picture and fuels the already prevalent negativity between employees and employers.

We leave jobs because we explore and learn and because life changes and sometimes, it's just time for something new. Let's ditch the drama and acknowledge the reality. So, before we jump on bandwagons and start pointing fingers, let's make sure they're truthful ones. The workplace is a complex beast, and job changes are part of the ride. 

The problem is not that people leave. The problem is your view on turnover. You need to change your mind because I know leaders who would rather keep poor performers than have that turnover needle move. That is not a healthy way of thinking. Let go of that stupid KPI and your need for people to stay with you! 

And employees; Be honest about the reason you are leaving so you won't fall for another narrative that is good for your soul but it is not true!

12 views0 comments


bottom of page