Know When to Walk Away: Top 6 Job 'Deal Breakers'

At what point do workplace annoyances become 'deal breakers?' Here are six signs that it's time to pack it in and move on.

workplace deal breakers
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You've heard all the workplace gripes: coworkers that don't pull their weight, long hours, projects that go sideways, compensation woes and the list goes on. But at what point do workplace annoyances become 'deal breakers?' That is, what makes someone decide it's time to pack it in?

A recent survey from BambooHR polled 1,034 U.S.-based employees and asked them to rate the reasons they left previous jobs to find out exactly why and when enough is enough.

Lack of Opportunities for Advancement
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Lack of Opportunities for Advancement

The No. 1 reason employees left their previous job, according to the survey, was a lack of opportunity for advancement. Without a clear path for career advancement, or the feeling that your hard work will pay off in the future with a promotion, increased responsibility, higher pay or some other form of reward, it's not surprising many employees find there's nowhere to go but out.

Your Boss Doesn't Trust/Empower You
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Your Boss Doesn't Trust/Empower You

To be fair, says BambooHR's cofounder Ben Peterson, this isn't necessarily all about your boss. "This can also take into account lack of training opportunities, poor communication and other factors. And there's also a responsibility on the part of the employee. If you're coming in late, leaving early, not fulfilling your own responsibilities, then you shouldn't be demanding trust that you haven't earned," he says.

You're Always Expected to Work Off-Hours
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You're Always Expected to Work Off-Hours

"There are times in every organization when everyone needs to come together on off-hours to get things done," says Peterson, "A major project needs to meet a deadline, or an important client who just can't wait, but problems occur when this is the norm rather than the exception."

If no one's acknowledging how frenetic the pace is and how heavy the burden is at work, and there's no relief in sight for employees, then it's no wonder employees leave, he says. It's especially problematic when management punishes workers for not responding to emails or phone calls, or not logging in while on their time off.

Management Passes the Buck (and the Blame)
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Management Passes the Buck (and the Blame)

Managers need to assume responsibility for the health and well-being of their team, not to mention the ultimate success or failure of projects under their purview. If they are not paying attention to your concerns, and not using their influence to make your work life better, they are definitely part of the problem. "Don't be that manager who assumes that because you're working an 80-hour week that your employees must do the same," says Peterson. "Even if you don't say it explicitly, many people won't want to leave or feel comfortable taking time off while the 'candle's still burning' in the boss's office," he says.

No Flexible for Family/Home Responsibilities
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No Flexibility for Family/Home Responsibilities

While more women than men (one in four women versus one in eight men) consider this a deal-breaker, it's still enough of a concern to make the list. Work-life flexibility is one of the major concerns employees have, especially among the 30-44 years-of-age demographic, according to the survey.

"This demographic are the ones who have family responsibilities outside of work," says Peterson, "Whether they're taking care of children, or, increasingly, aging parents as well," he says.

You Don't Get Along With Your Coworkers
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You Don't Get Along With Your Coworkers

While a positive social atmosphere is important, according to the survey, this doesn't necessarily mean that respondents want to be best friends with their coworkers or hang out together on the weekends.

"This goes back to workplace culture," says Peterson. "What are the company values, the mission statement – and how does that align with the people hired by the company? A lot of companies don't know who they are in the first place, so they don't know how to hire for cultural fit because they can't identify a culture, and that can lead to a lot of disagreements and conflict," he says.