6 Warning Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Tech Job

Plenty of tech pros are looking for a new employer, according to Dice’s latest salary survey. These potential job-switchers want everything from more money (17 percent) to flexible working conditions (15 percent), and they’re willing to quit if they don’t get them from their old employer.

But how do tech pros know when to actually jump? To help you make proactive stay-or-go decisions, we asked several tech pros who voluntarily quit their jobs why they left. From their point of view, here are the clear situations and unresolvable issues that warrant quitting. 

You Can’t See a Future for Yourself

By most measures, Daniel Vassallo’s lengthy career at Amazon Web Services was going well. The software development engineer was receiving recognition, increasing levels of responsibility, and fair pay… but he still felt like something was missing.

“When I looked down the road to see what my role and duties might look like in the future, all I saw was more of the same,” Vassallo said.

Colleagues with 15 to 20 years’ experience were spending more time in meetings and communicating with stakeholders than creating, he explained. While he respected their knowledge, that didn’t seem like something he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

“I wanted to have a successful career on my own terms, so I left my job to work for myself,” he said. “Reality is that if you are successful but not satisfied, you’re treading water.”

You Don’t Feel Motivated to Do Your Best Work

Is your creativity being stifled by a micromanaging boss? Have you mastered your current duties, with no new challenges or opportunities on the horizon? Do you feel like your work has no meaning?

If you answered “yes” to any of those, it’s time to have a serious conversation with yourself about alternatives, advised Erik Rydeman, who quit his job as a senior software engineer to become an indie game developer and founder of Doborog.

Rydeman encourages tech pros to use Daniel Pink’s autonomy, mastery and purpose standards to measure their job satisfaction and recognize when it’s time for a change. Pink argues that even when professionals are paid fairly, they need some level of control, growth, and a connection to something larger than themselves to be motivated to do their best work. If they don’t get that, they’ll quit.

Your Boss Doesn’t Listen to You

While managers aren’t obligated to act on every change or suggestion a tech employee makes, it can befrustrating and demoralizing to be constantly ignored.

Worse, it may signal that your company has a broken culture and little interest in making improvements or fixing things.In fact, one study showed that soliciting ideas and advice from employees without taking action is worse than not listening at all. Eventually, employees voice their opinions less often, andtheir conflicts with colleagues increase.

If your boss consistently brushes aside your good ideas, it’s a sign that you should start looking for another job.

You’re Reassigned to an Underperforming Team

Was your small, highly efficient project team absorbed by a larger, dysfunctional team? Has the focus shifted from quality to just getting software out the door faster than ever?

Being reassigned to a troubled team that is far removed from the corporate decision-making process can lead to missed career opportunities and damage your reputation, Rydeman warned. Moreover, companies that reorganize frequently don’t have good retention rates. Don’t be left hanging; refresh your résumé before it’s too late, and get ready to quit.

Your Company’s Tech Stack is Aging

Working with outdated technology is not only frustrating—it hurts your productivity and market value. In fact, one study showed that employees at “technology laggards” were 450 percent more likely to want to leave and go work elsewhere.

Plus, a lack of investment in technology could be an early warning sign that your company is in trouble, and you need to escape the sinking ship. 

You’re Not Getting Paid What You’re Worth

While pay and benefits may not always be the biggest motivators for professional workers, not being paid what you’re worth in the open market can leave you feeling unappreciated.If you can’t score a raise, your best bet may be to move on, because it’s a sign that your employer may not really value you (and likely never will). In that case, time to quit.

2 Responses to “6 Warning Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Tech Job”

  1. Don’t quit unless you have another job to go to first.

    That’s the problem with working for others. I’d assume the majority of people can never be truly happy working for a company.

    Work for yourself!! Work for yourself. Work for yourself.

    There will be ups and downs. Many of us simply aren’t wired to work for others. Nothing wrong with that. Work for yourself!

    • bfwebster

      “Don’t quit unless you have another job to go to first.”

      That’s advice I gave our children constantly as they entered the workforce (they didn’t always follow it, and they discovered the hard way why I gave it), and it’s advice I give to my seniors in CS 428 (“Real-world software engineering”).