Anne was thrilled to have been offered a full-time remote position at a marketing agency. She had been working in a small marketing firm with a slightly militant boss.
She saw a better opportunity along with the great resignation giving her the itch to switch.
And she knew that getting a foot in the door at a company like this would help her get her career off to a great start.
She was assigned an onboarding manager who would be her guide through the process of learning how things worked at the agency, but it didn’t take long before Anne realized that this wasn’t what she’d been promised during the recruitment phase.
Her boss had told her that she would be doing administrative work for one of their clients, but instead, she was assigned to work on projects for another client entirely. The job itself wasn’t bad—she actually enjoyed working as an administrative assistant—but it wasn’t what she’d signed up for, and she felt disappointed that there hadn’t been more transparency about what exactly her role would entail. Then began her quitter’s remorse for the previous job.
What is that and how could she have avoided that?
What is Quitter’s Remorse?
Quitter’s remorse is a feeling of regret, anxiety, and even guilt that arises after quitting a job or resigning from a position.
Quitters’ remorse can manifest itself in many ways. For example:
- You may find yourself second-guessing your decision, questioning whether you could have handled things differently, or wondering if there was another way out besides quitting.
- You may feel sad about leaving behind those who were important to you at work and guilty for letting them down by resigning unexpectedly (or even unprofessionally).
- You may also feel guilty about leaving behind coworkers who were not happy with their own jobs and wanted someone else to leave so they wouldn’t feel like such outliers among their co-workers anymore.
However, these feelings are normal. About one in five workers who quit during the Great Resignation years regret it, according to a Harris Poll survey for USA TODAY.
Quitter’s Remorse and the Great Resignation
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021.
The numbers have soared since the pandemic began and this phenomenon has been coined the Great Resignation. There has been a shortage of new hires ever since.
Although it is said that the pandemic led the way to the Great Resignation, according to a Harvard Review, it was an ongoing process that started way back. And that the numbers have only increased after the pandemic.
A few reasons for the Great Resignation are:
One reason for employees quitting is taking retirement to spend more time with their loved ones. It’s not uncommon for older people to retire and spend more time with their families, but this is also a problem in the workplace because it can lead to a decrease in productivity.
Moving to Another Location
Another reason for resigning is moving to another location. While some employees choose to continue working for the same company after relocation, many others choose to leave and find a job closer to their new home.
Employees who are experiencing burnout tend to leave their jobs. In fact, one of the most common reasons for employees quitting is because they face burnout. Employees who experience burnout often feel overwhelmed because of their workload, which can lead to a decrease in productivity and an increase in errors. Additionally, employees feeling burned out may start taking more breaks from work or even skip work entirely, which can negatively impact the company’s bottom line.
One reason for employees quitting is because they are reconsidering their current situation. A lot of times when people quit, it’s because they just aren’t feeling it anymore. They feel like they’re stagnating and want to move on to something new, where they can grow and develop further.
Why do People Quit Their Jobs?
The reasons people quit their jobs are as varied as the individuals who do so.
Some people leave because they feel like they’re not being challenged. Some people leave because they’ve been passed over for promotion, because they didn’t get the raise they were hoping for, or because they have been working there so long that it’s time to move on.
Other people quit because of their co-workers: maybe they don’t like the way someone treats them, or maybe there’s a conflict with another employee that is making everyone uncomfortable.
Some people leave because of their boss: perhaps their boss is too demanding or too unapproachable, or maybe it’s just a personality clash between them and the person in charge of their department.
And then there are those who quit because of something else entirely: maybe their spouse got transferred somewhere else unexpectedly and now they have to relocate; maybe their child has special needs and requires more care than what the company provides; maybe life circumstances have changed in some other significant way and it no longer makes sense for them to continue working where they are currently employed.
Why Do Employees Have Quitter’s Remorse?
One reason for employees to have quitters’ remorse is that they could be missing their colleagues.
Working in a team can be one of the most rewarding aspects of a job, and it’s easy to get attached to the people you work with. When you leave a job, it can be hard on your colleagues who are left behind and miss your presence as well as the things you brought to the team dynamic.
Quitting in the Heat of a Moment
One of the most common causes of employees having quitters’ remorse is that they quit in the heat of a moment without any plan.
If you’re having trouble with your current job, it can be very tempting to just walk out and start looking for something new. But if you do this without any kind of plan, you’ll be much more likely to end up in a worse situation than when you started. If you need to quit your job, do it with a plan in mind.
Not Liking the New Job
Another reason for employees to have quitters’ remorse is that they don’t like the new job. It’s hard to know whether a job will be right for you until you’re actually doing it. Some people leave their jobs because they think they’ll be happier somewhere else, but then they find out that the new job isn’t any better than their old one.
Not Getting a New Job
If an employee leaves a job but then stays unemployed because they couldn’t get a new job instantly, they’re likely to end up having quitter’s remorse.
How to Tackle ‘Quitter’s Remorse’ at Your New Job?
When you quit your job, it’s normal to feel some level of regret. You might be thinking about how much more money you could have made or how great it would be if your old boss were still around. But while quitting can feel like an exciting new beginning, there are some things to be aware of when dealing with quitter’s remorse. These tips will help you get past those feelings and get back on track with your new job:
Take a Moment to Remind Yourself Why You Quit in the First Place
In order to avoid falling into a pit of regret, you must remind yourself why you quit in the first place. You need to be specific about your reasons for leaving, and not get caught up in generalizations like “I wanted to do something different.” Instead, list down the things that made you change your path and remind yourself that it wasn’t decided in the heat of a moment.
Stay Positive and Avoid the Regretful Talk
Avoid regretful talk.
Don’t talk about your old job or the people you worked with. Don’t talk about what you could have done differently. Don’t allow yourself to dwell on whether or not you made a mistake by leaving.
Remind Yourself it’s Totally Normal to Feel This Way
There’s a good chance that you feel regretful about your decision to leave your previous job, especially if it was a long-term relationship in which you invested significant time and effort. While these feelings are very normal, it doesn’t mean that you made the wrong choice. You can even use this moment of emotional vulnerability to reflect on why this new job is right for you—and what would make your former position a better fit going forward.
Remind yourself that feeling guilty or ashamed doesn’t get anyone anywhere—and neither does negative self-talk. So don’t let your emotions get the best of you; instead, remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with having doubts at first (or even second) glance.
Congratulate Yourself on Taking a Leap of Faith, No Matter What Happens Next
Even if you’ve moved on, it’s worth taking the time to congratulate yourself for taking a leap of faith and trying something new. You might be disappointed in how things turned out, but that doesn’t mean it was all for naught. Hopefully, you’ll still have some positive memories from your time with this job—and maybe even some lessons learned that can help guide you to success next time.
It’s also important not to beat yourself up over “failing” at this job. If anything, knowing what not to do will be useful information moving forward as well. In fact, many people who feel regretful about their decision may discover later on that they made the best decision possible based on their circumstances at the time.
You Can Get Through Quitter’s Remorse by Staying Positive
Quitter’s remorse is common among employees who have resigned or quit their jobs. It can be difficult to cope with the emotions that come along with these situations, but if you keep a positive mindset, it will be easier to deal with your feelings and move on.
One of the best ways to get through quitter’s remorse is by staying positive most of the time, if not every time. Remind yourself of all of the reasons why leaving this job was right for you and what attracted you to another company in the first place! You should also remind yourself of any positive changes that have happened since leaving your previous employer, such as a raise or promotion within your new company. This can help put things into perspective and make things feel less stressful overall.
How Can Employers Play Their Part?
Employers can help their employees overcome this by:
- Offering them an opportunity to talk about the reasons they left their previous job and what they’re looking for in their next one. This ensures that they’re not making rash decisions or jumping ship because they don’t like something they can change.
- Giving them the chance to explore other career paths within the company before deciding whether to stay or go. Some employees may find that there are other opportunities within the company that are more aligned with their interests and goals than the position they were originally hired for.
The Silver Lining to Quitter’s Remorse: Boomerang Employees
As the economy continues to improve, many workers are finding themselves jumping from company to company. This can make it difficult for them to find stability in their careers. However, there is a silver lining: Boomerang employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs than other employees.
Boomerang employees are defined as those who have left a company only to return at some point in their careers. According to new research, boomerang employees tend to be happier in their jobs compared with those who do not leave for a period before returning.
The study revealed that those who return were nearly always higher performers than their peers. In addition, they were also far more likely to experience a promotion too.
To Sum Up
Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand that there’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about leaving your old job. Quitting is a natural part of growing up and finding yourself, and it’s okay if it doesn’t feel like a perfect fit at first. Take some time to remind yourself why you quit in the first place, stay positive, and don’t get discouraged by other people who might be experiencing similar feelings. In addition, sometimes quitters remorse helps employers benefit in the form of boomerang employees.