23 People Explained Their Decision To Leave Their Workplaces, And It's Incredibly Eye-Opening And Horrifying

·15 min read

In what's been dubbed the Great Resignation, people across the country have been mass quitting their jobs for various reasons. So, we decided to ask the BuzzFeed Community to shed some light on their personal experiences and why they left (or are going to leave) their workplaces.

  Momo Productions / Getty Images
Momo Productions / Getty Images

Here's what they shared:

(Warning: Some of the responses contain graphic mentions, including abuse against animals and workplace sexual harassment.)

1."My boyfriend managed a care home for people with disabilities, one of many homes owned by a large company. He quit his job because he’d worked for five weeks without a day off. Every time he was supposed to get a day off, he’d end up having to go in because someone didn’t show up to work. He often came home from a full day and had to go back and work that night as well..."

On My Block

"The last straw was when he got home at 2 a.m. from his longest stretch yet (five days in a row with no more than six hours of sleep at a time); he decided to sleep in and go in a little late (which he communicated to everyone involved). As he was walking out the door at 10 a.m., he got an email that he was being written up for coming in late. When he went to his boss’s office to talk to him about it, his boss had left early. He was also paid salary so he wasn’t even being compensated for this extra work; it ended up turning his monthly pay into about $6/hr."

sarahs402d05f80

2."After seven years at the same place, I left in July 2021. The company was understaffed, and I was doing the job of at least three different people and felt very under-appreciated. The company then took away employee benefits including sick days or paid time off..."

<div><p>"All of the employees were so unhappy; it became such a negative work environment. I put in my two weeks' notice, and they told me to just leave. I started a new job a few days later and have been so much happier!"</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/kvona415" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:kvona415" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><u><b>kvona415</b></u></a></p></div><span> Halfpoint Images / Getty Images</span>

"All of the employees were so unhappy; it became such a negative work environment. I put in my two weeks' notice, and they told me to just leave. I started a new job a few days later and have been so much happier!"

kvona415

Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

3."I don’t actually mind my job — it may be incredibly boring, but the pay is alright, and the benefits are good. We worked from home most of 2020 and proved it can be done with little disruption or accommodation, but they’ve refused to let me continue to work remotely. Commuting, dressing up, packing lunch, being away from my dogs all seem so pointless; so I’m just gonna move anyway and keep trying to find permanent remote work or train in a trade..."

NBC

"I’m fortunate enough to have family I can move in with at a low rent so I’ll have the time to figure out my next step career-wise. I don’t want to be tied down to one place though, and I’d rather focus on the things that matter like my dogs and family than a 1.5-plus-hour daily commute."

Ashisbored

4."I was in isolation with a 3-year-old and also pregnant for much of 2020. I had my second son in October and went back to work March 2021. I also started school in April. I worked for my company for 18 years — 15 in management — and they said they were no longer willing to work with my school schedule, after touting themselves as a company that works with students and is 'family friendly...'"

<div><p>"I cried, made my peace, and quit the next day. <b>I sacrificed a lot for them, and they had no respect for me as a person, only seeing me as a number that was replaceable.</b> I lost a lot of respect for them after that. Now I'm working toward my nursing degree and a better life."</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/a4aaf3c5d2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a4aaf3c5d2" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><u><b>a4aaf3c5d2</b></u></a></p></div><span> Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images</span>

"I cried, made my peace, and quit the next day. I sacrificed a lot for them, and they had no respect for me as a person, only seeing me as a number that was replaceable. I lost a lot of respect for them after that. Now I'm working toward my nursing degree and a better life."

a4aaf3c5d2

Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

5."My boyfriend managed a Texas Roadhouse and has been working for them for about five years. He quit because the stress was so bad on him that he was bleeding every time he went to the bathroom for a week straight. The day that he quit, he didn’t have a single issue."

e4106b8f56

6."I haven’t quit yet but am actively pursuing other employment opportunities simply because of my direct supervisor. While I knew from literally the first day in the job I didn’t like the work itself, it would be at least tolerable if I didn’t have a supervisor who feels the need to micromanage..."

Hulu

"She only works remotely but feels the need to have a billion phone calls, emails, and meetings throughout the day. Every time I’ve tried to take innovative approaches to go a little above expectations, I’ve been reprimanded for not going through her first. I also got a formal 'coaching' meeting because I didn’t respond to one of her billions of emails within two hours while I was working remotely in quarantine... The idea of going back to dealing with her makes me desperate to find something else."

Sugar, Spice, And Chemical X

7."Because I worked in a restaurant. Need I say more? LOL."

CBS

ariellej4

8."I started working for a 'college student friendly' company saying that they would work around my schedule. In the end, my boss got mad at me for not having all the time in the world during midterms, called me at 8 a.m. for an unscheduled performance review, and in general overstepped my boundaries..."

CBC

"I was asked to make calls and work on days that I had scheduled off a month-plus in advance. I ended up leaving when I was asked to move my root canal because my boss wanted me to get some work done for her. I’m now working on my degree and taking care of my health, and I feel so much better."

ClaxSox

9."I quit my job back in July 2021 after months of consideration because I’d realized (in large part due to the pandemic) that life is too short to spend eight hours of your day, five days a week doing something that doesn’t fulfill you. My job wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t meaningful. I didn’t feel like I was adding any value to the world or making the kind of positive impact that I knew, deep down, I really wanted to make..."

<div><p>"The pandemic allowed me to become more introspective and realize that I had been making excuses to myself for years, working for this job that paid the bills but was costing me my soul. Since quitting, I’ve been pursuing my goal of becoming a motivational speaker/life coach, which has been incredibly fulfilling."</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/k_maneen" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:k_maneen" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><u><b>k_maneen</b></u></a></p></div><span> Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61</span>

"The pandemic allowed me to become more introspective and realize that I had been making excuses to myself for years, working for this job that paid the bills but was costing me my soul. Since quitting, I’ve been pursuing my goal of becoming a motivational speaker/life coach, which has been incredibly fulfilling."

k_maneen

Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

10."My boss told me I would need to work on a Saturday to 'make up for' the time I needed off to go to my grandmother's funeral, as that was a particularly busy time for him — that was pretty much the nail in that coffin."

samantham46531ff01

11."I had a male manager that would only ever take other men to conferences because he wanted to go to strip clubs with them afterward. Women never got to go and missed out on huge networking events and experience. It's tough being a woman in sales. Luckily, I'm now at a wonderful company, leading the Women's ERG (Employee Resource Group)."

Big Viv

12."I’m a nurse, and I worked in NICU for seven years. I loved it. I moved states last year and therefore started at a new hospital. I hated it. The other nurses weren’t friendly, and I had to rotate between dayshift and nightshift constantly. I didn’t know hospitals would do that to a person..."

<div><p>"You can’t function if one week you work nightshift, then the next dayshift, then immediately go back to night. <b>That made my depression and anxiety spiral.</b> So I left and now work at a pediatric clinic. I have less days off, but I can actually function."</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/apetty21" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:apetty21" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><b><u>apetty21</u></b></a></p></div><span> Reza Estakhrian / Getty Images</span>

"You can’t function if one week you work nightshift, then the next dayshift, then immediately go back to night. That made my depression and anxiety spiral. So I left and now work at a pediatric clinic. I have less days off, but I can actually function."

apetty21

Reza Estakhrian / Getty Images

13."For years my primary career goal was 'get to tech.' They seemingly had the best pay, best benefits, best cultures, and all looked like they were having so much fun in their colorful T-shirts on company websites, right? Wrong. I finally made it to a startup and found that all the 'perks' were a cover-up for people who virtually never left their jobs..."

<div><p>"They would preach work-life balance and encourage people to take time off <b>without enacting real organizational change to avoid burnout.</b> I left, moved out of the big expensive city I was in, bought a home in my hometown (which was still extremely difficult), and took a pay cut to work with family. <b>My mental health has drastically improved</b>, and I will probably never work in tech again unless they finally come to a reckoning that there are <b>no amount of 'perks' that make up for burning people out.</b>"</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/benjaminstarr" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:benjaminstarr" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><b><u>benjaminstarr</u></b></a></p></div><span> Tom Werner / Getty Images</span>

"They would preach work-life balance and encourage people to take time off without enacting real organizational change to avoid burnout. I left, moved out of the big expensive city I was in, bought a home in my hometown (which was still extremely difficult), and took a pay cut to work with family. My mental health has drastically improved, and I will probably never work in tech again unless they finally come to a reckoning that there are no amount of 'perks' that make up for burning people out."

benjaminstarr

Tom Werner / Getty Images

14."I worked in the grooming salon at a well-known pet supplies retail store. A fellow salon worker was being abusive toward the animals. I filed a report to corporate, and my managers were positive that this person would be fired. Well, a few days passed, and corporate allowed this person to return to work, and not only that, but they paid for them to go to the grooming academy!"

"Our store manager literally had no say in the matter. I felt absolutely disgusted by the thought of having to work alongside an animal abuser, and having to just pretend like nothing happened. I literally just walked out of the job after that."

marchsunshine100

15."The toxic owner would show up drunk every Wednesday or Thursday and yell expletives at the employees. He was demeaning and wondered why everyone would leave him. He promoted our intern above me — who had hired her — when she starting sleeping with him. That was actually the last straw, so I quit."

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16."I want to add one that's more about self-care. I've struggled with mental health for my entire life. It's only been during COVID that I learned how much it affects me. I made the very difficult decision to leave to focus on me..."

<div><p>"My employer tried valiantly to find ways to help me so I could stay, but in the end, <b>I needed to put me first</b>. I'll be forever grateful for what they did and hope that anyone struggling with mental health can find their own way."</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/brentus86" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:brentus86" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><b><u>brentus86</u></b></a></p></div><span> Malte Mueller / Getty Images/fStop</span>

"My employer tried valiantly to find ways to help me so I could stay, but in the end, I needed to put me first. I'll be forever grateful for what they did and hope that anyone struggling with mental health can find their own way."

brentus86

Malte Mueller / Getty Images/fStop

17."I worked at a lab and accidentally burned myself with acid. It was a bit of a freak accident, I didn't do anything wrong, but it was a borderline third-degree burn. The urgent care doctor wouldn't give me any time off, and my boss only permitted one work-from-home day..."

NBC

"Fast-forward one week, and I have a migraine so bad I can't stand up, and I want to sever my burned arm. My boss wouldn't let me go home. I worked 12 hours, trying not to puke from the pain, and ended up with stupid documentation errors. Two weeks later, my boss tells me I can't get promoted because I made too many errors. It was the nail in the coffin of a lot of little, petty things."

saraho4a20298d2

18."I was a teacher and had a principal I worked for that was a jerk to women. He would never have our backs, even when we had students physically threatening us and calling us every name imaginable. These were middle schoolers. My grade-level team was made up of all women, and we got zero support. He would always tell us how it was our fault when students acted out..."

<div><p>"After the stress became too much and I was having daily panic attacks, I finally left. It was the only teaching job I've left mid-year. It took a couple of years after I left, but more higher-ups started recognizing his behavior, and he was removed from his position for 'unidentified reasons.' I was asked to write a letter to counsel during the process about my experience with him and was so glad he finally got put in his place!"</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/megtravel2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Megtravel2" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><u><b>Megtravel2</b></u></a></p></div><span> Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images</span>

"After the stress became too much and I was having daily panic attacks, I finally left. It was the only teaching job I've left mid-year. It took a couple of years after I left, but more higher-ups started recognizing his behavior, and he was removed from his position for 'unidentified reasons.' I was asked to write a letter to counsel during the process about my experience with him and was so glad he finally got put in his place!"

Megtravel2

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

19."I was in a successful career as a music teacher (10-plus years) until 2019. I gave it up because of lack of administrative support (they played both sides and never stood up for their teachers); working 14-plus-hour days until I tried to step back and then was deemed as 'in need of improvement'; being forced to teach outside of my content area without sufficient planning or opportunities for professional development when I asked for it constantly; terrible parents; and on the rare days I took a day off, no substitute teacher would be hired for me..."

<div><p>"I worked in a state with a super-strong union, and my union did nothing to support me, even when I was targeted by an administrator (and was told by my own legal representation that I had enough cause for a slander suit against said administrator). Now there is a teacher shortage, and I’ve been asked to teach and apply for jobs at several schools, and I won’t go back. I'm making far less money working as an education consultant for a music store, but I'm far happier, with a boss that pays a fantastic salary and insists on a work-life balance."</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/anynomous52921" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Anonymous52921" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><b><u>Anonymous52921</u></b></a></p></div><span> Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images</span>

"I worked in a state with a super-strong union, and my union did nothing to support me, even when I was targeted by an administrator (and was told by my own legal representation that I had enough cause for a slander suit against said administrator). Now there is a teacher shortage, and I’ve been asked to teach and apply for jobs at several schools, and I won’t go back. I'm making far less money working as an education consultant for a music store, but I'm far happier, with a boss that pays a fantastic salary and insists on a work-life balance."

Anonymous52921

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

20."I worked at a zoo for 17 years. I was, and still am, a firm believer in the amazing work that zoos do, and the massive amount of work zookeepers manage to accomplish in a single day. I was proud to be in the field, until I was promoted into management. It got to the point that I’d get angry every time someone said, 'You must love your job!' They don’t know that I just euthanized an animal that day, or that I’m watching the most passionate people in the world make less than a living wage and cannot do anything about it..."

<div><p>"Found a job in government (yay pensions!) at the entry level making roughly the same I was as a senior zoo management member. I do my work, go home, and don’t think about it again until I show up the next morning."</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleykb333" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ashleykb333" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><b><u>ashleykb333</u></b></a></p></div><span> Pete Starman / Getty Images</span>

"Found a job in government (yay pensions!) at the entry level making roughly the same I was as a senior zoo management member. I do my work, go home, and don’t think about it again until I show up the next morning."

ashleykb333

Pete Starman / Getty Images

21."After five years at a company I thought would be the company I'd eventually retire from, I left at age 37 when work-life balance was no longer acceptable, and when the workplace culture became so toxic it was celebrated to be working 12–15 hours per day, and to the point that my physical and mental health were suffering..."

"I am one of the lucky ones, blessed with the security of a healthy savings account and a husband that believes in me enough that I started my own consultancy, which has quadrupled in the last six months, and hired my first three employees."

shannonc4f8cc995d

22."I quit my first entry-level job as an account manager after two years this fall. I was not told that I was required to be on call until after I was hired, the workload was completely suffocating, and I denied sexual advances from two male employees who both went on to be promoted to manager positions during my time there..."

<div><p>"<b>The company revoked our work-from-home capabilities right as the Delta variant was beginning to spread</b>, and the culture of the company was extremely unhealthy with an 'every man for himself' mindset. <b>I sobbed in my car during my lunch breaks for months before I woke up to the realization that this was not normal</b>, and there were other companies out there that would treat me so much better. I have been in my new job for a month now and can confidently say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made."</p><p>—<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/alainajprice" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:alainajprice" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><u><b>alainajprice</b></u></a></p></div><span> Momo Productions / Getty Images</span>

"The company revoked our work-from-home capabilities right as the Delta variant was beginning to spread, and the culture of the company was extremely unhealthy with an 'every man for himself' mindset. I sobbed in my car during my lunch breaks for months before I woke up to the realization that this was not normal, and there were other companies out there that would treat me so much better. I have been in my new job for a month now and can confidently say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made."

alainajprice

Momo Productions / Getty Images

23."I worked for a company that 'produced' advertising videos for small businesses. They used freelancers for the actual filming. The sales team flat-out LIED to small businesses to get them to sign contracts (like claiming they worked for a chamber of commerce rather than our company). I processed invoices for the freelancers, who were constantly getting paid late — weeks or months beyond what their contract promised..."

"The CEO was (in)famous for having a huge car collection. Finally, my team requested a meeting with billing to discuss our freelancers not getting paid in a timely manner. The head of finance literally told us that 'If the CEO decides to buy a new car, we have to put payments on hold for a bit.' It was the most morally bankrupt company ever; I felt sick working there, so I up and quit without a backup plan. Thank goodness for my parents, who helped me out till I found my next job."

KellyBluePants

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

If you've recently left your job — or are planning to do so — let us know what's next in store for you in the comments below.