Editors' pick: Originally published May 26.
Maybe don't go burning down the office just yet.
One of the most important statistics in the U.S. labor market is the quit rate. It's the measure of how many people voluntarily leave their jobs each month, and it's a key indicator of market health. The more confident workers feel in their prospects, the more likely they are to leave jobs that are a bad fit in search of more money, better lifestyles or greater skill development.
That plays a critical role in the workforce. When people are scared, it's more likely that a physicist will languish behind a cash register, too worried about making the rent next month to make the most of her talents. Without that upward pressure, skills stagnate and wages rise more slowly.
In fact, the quit rate is one reason why economists consider America fully employed when the unemployment rate hovers around 3 to 5%. Those are the workers in transition from one job to the next, a flexibility in the workforce that also allows employers to seek out better talent.
In other words, quitting your job matters. At the macro level it's a critical element of what keeps the economy going. Just as important on the personal level, though, is finding the right reasons to leave. You'll do yourself no favors having to explain to your next boss that flippant "ragequit" over the break room fridge.
What are some good reasons to quit, and what are some bad? Start with these:
Good Reason 5: No Opportunities for Advancement
When it comes to leaving your job, said Katie Niekrash, a senior managing director with the recruiting agency The Execu|Search Group, "the common assumption is that it's salary always. But most of the time, it's something other than just pay."
"It ranges," she said. "Everybody has a personalized reason for why they're thinking about making a change."
The important thing is to make sure that those reasons actually help you in the long run. On the other hand, if staying will sabotage that long run, it's probably a good time to consider leaving. For example, you might be better served heading for the exit if there's no real chance for advancement.
Maybe your boss has decided you've "petered." Maybe there's just nowhere to go and no one who's retiring anytime soon. Whatever the cause, if you're ready to advance your career but your employer isn't, that's a good reason to start looking for greener pastures.