Regret Quitting

Regret Quitting: How to Avoid Making the Wrong Decision

User Profile
By Lanee Davis

Job offers that include benefits such as the ability to work remotely, flexible hours, and, of course, the ever-so-tempting promise of a higher salary, seem like no-brainers when it comes to leaving your current company for another in today’s corporate America. However, individuals who leave their former job for these benefits are learning that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

What is regret quitting?

The recent influx of employees resigning for another, more promising, position has become known as the “Great Resignation” or “Great Reshuffle.” 500,000 of the workers who accepted a new job in 2021 stayed less than twelve months—an increase of 6.5 percent from 2020.

What’s following a resignation in nearly 30 percent of workers is an almost immediate feeling of buyer’s remorse, appropriately dubbed in this context as “regret quitting.” These feelings of regret are fueled by the common realization that the supposedly “better” job offer is, in fact, not better at all. Many are discovering within the first three months that the company culture and organization are far different from what was described during the interview process.

Why are workers quitting?

A Pew Research Center study found that the top three reasons workers quit are as follows:

  1. Quest for a higher salary: 63 percent of workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay was the reason they resigned. Undeniably, salary plays a large role in the motivation behind much of the “Great Resignation.” And, unfortunately, this phenomenon has a snowball effect. In U.S. companies, there’s a huge wage disparity between workers who choose to stay with their company and new employees. Eventually, those who originally chose to stay decide to leave to reap the benefit of an enticing new hire salary. The inflation facing the United States today has only acted as a catalyst for the “Great Resignation.” The inflated dollar has been a push for some tentative employees looking for a final reason to leave their job for another, higher-paying position.

Related: Wage Compression: What Is It, How Is It Caused, and How Can It Be Addressed?

  1. Need for advancement opportunities: In 2021, 63 percent of workers left their job because there were no opportunities for advancement. According to psychologist Steve Nguyen, employees are motivated when there are perceived career opportunities, and they are provided with organizational support for development. If these concepts are not fostered in the workplace, employees are far more likely to seek other career placements.Related: Developing a Successful Workforce Upskilling Program
  2. Feeling disrespected: 57 percent of employees quit because they felt disrespected at work. When employees feel that their potential or contributions are not recognized by their employers, they often perceive this as a sign that they will have little opportunity to advance within the company. This perception can come from not receiving the requested resources to complete their job, feeling underpaid, or the absence of a cohesive team. Employees may recognize these signs and determine that it’s time to find a company that will value and appreciate all that they can bring to the business.

Related: Why Are Employees Resigning? Top Reasons Employees Leave Their Jobs

What should employees understand regarding regret quitting? 

A Harris Poll survey by USA Today found that 36 percent of workers later regretted their decision to quit because they lost work-life balance and 24 percent missed the culture at their old job. Therefore, before quitting, it’s important to do the following to prevent regretting your decision and wanting your old job back:

Consider your loyalty to your current company’s mission and values: A study conducted by LeverTRM found that 42 percent of Gen Z-ers would rather work at a company whose values align with their own, rather than at a company that provides them with little fulfillment beyond a larger paycheck.

Ask yourself questions regarding how interesting and fulfilling your current role is. Do you genuinely care about the work you are doing? Be sure to consider the nature of the office environment or learning culture.

Exhaust all options in your current position first: According to a survey conducted by The Muse, 72 percent of employees were surprised to discover that their new role or company was different from what was described during the hiring process. The snowball effect of the “Great Resignation” continues as organizations—experiencing the unintended loss of employees—may misrepresent the available role to interested job seekers during the interview process.

Before accepting a position elsewhere, try to resolve the issue that makes another job seem more desirable. Meeting with your manager to discuss potential growth opportunities within the company, larger projects, or a salary increase may help you find what you were looking for without having to leave.

Have a contingency plan: Before you hand in your resignation letter to your current employer, be sure to consider all other opportunities available to you and the probability of your receiving a job offer. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you have already quit your current position, but do not have another job lined up. It’s important to position yourself so that your current job becomes your “worst-case scenario” when in the process of switching careers or companies.


Before quitting your job for the “greener grass,” be sure to evaluate all your options and consider your own motives and values and how they apply to your career. The reality of the “Great Resignation” is that many find themselves, once again, seeking new work or asking for their old position back.

This blog was written by Acara Recruitment Specialist Lanee Davis.