Why do people quit their jobs at dream companies like Facebook or Google?

Updated on : December 6, 2021 by Amir Carney



Why do people quit their jobs at dream companies like Facebook or Google?

There is a long list of reasons why people leave their jobs at highly-rated employers like Google or Facebook, but before listing a few of them, I'll highlight what I think is the assumption behind the question.

I assume you are operating under a set of assumptions that I will call the Big Lie. The big lie goes something like this:

  • Works really hard at school
  • So you can get good grades
  • So you can go to a good university,
  • So you can get a really good job
  • In a very good company
  • Your family, friends, and potential colleagues will be impressed.
  • And you will live happily ever after.

The big lie is based on a

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There is a long list of reasons why people leave their jobs at highly-rated employers like Google or Facebook, but before listing a few of them, I'll highlight what I think is the assumption behind the question.

I assume you are operating under a set of assumptions that I will call the Big Lie. The big lie goes something like this:

  • Works really hard at school
  • So you can get good grades
  • So you can go to a good university,
  • So you can get a really good job
  • In a very good company
  • Your family, friends, and potential colleagues will be impressed.
  • And you will live happily ever after.

The Big Lie is based on some supporting lies:

  • Anything worth doing can be classified into a single hierarchy. It is better to finish first in your promotion than to finish second; it is better to go to a "first level" university than to a second level; it's better to go to a tier one company (where "tier one" means companies you have heard of, like Google or Amazon) than tier one.
  • The higher you land on this ladder, the happier you will be. The winners are the happiest. The runners-up are still very happy. If you fall off the ladder completely, you will feel miserable.
  • Talented people should participate in this competition, all competing for the same things and measuring themselves based on their performance.
  • Since everyone "knows" what it's like to win and lose, your family and friends and your social status depend on how much you are "winning." And nothing says "earn" more than a job at Google.

The people behind the Big Lie are not malicious. They have your best interests in mind and believe that they are really helping you. They are your parents, who want to see their children in a "safe" job in a prestigious company. Your teachers, who want you to get good grades to create opportunities for you. Large companies that create great work environments so they can choose their people.

The Big Lie assumes that we are all the same, but not two of us are. Most people who have been in the world of work for a while have left the Big Lie behind, but young people, especially recent college graduates, are highly susceptible to it. It's the result of pressure from family and friends, but just as often it's a simple lack of knowledge - many of them want to join Google or Facebook because they are literally one of the only tech companies they know anything about. But there may be 100 other lesser-known companies that would have been more suitable.

Now, put the Big Lie aside for a moment, and I'll answer the question as it was asked, which is why people leave their jobs at companies that are supposedly the "best employers." I know many people who work at companies like Google and come to a day where they start daydreaming about quitting smoking. There are so many reasons why there are people, but some pretty typical ones are:

  • They do not enjoy politics and lack of impact in a large company and long to join a smaller one where they can more easily feel the results of their work.
  • They have a great idea for their own company and want to go their own way and found a startup.
  • They are passionate about learning a new technology or market and want to join a lesser-known company that focuses on that area.
  • They have sick parents or a spouse with a job opportunity in another city. Moving to that city would be the best thing for your family.
  • They realize they won't be young forever and want to take a year to travel the world with their fiancé and have some adventures before settling down.
  • They are simply bored of working in the same company with the same people and want to try something new to add some variety to their life.
  • They realize that they really don't like the tech industry and want to become vets, chefs, or non-profit leaders.

For people who know exactly why they joined BigCo in the first place, this transition is pretty graceful. If they originally chose BigCo after an honest assessment of who they are and what their career goals are, they quit as soon as they no longer meet those needs. They move on to something bigger and better (for them) and they are better off from the experience and connections they made along the way.

But if they originally joined BigCo just because they believed in the Big Lie, this transition can often lead to a personal crisis:

  • If they joined BigCo because of their "prestige," the prospect of losing that credential can lead to an identity crisis.
  • If they joined BigCo because of family pressure, they fear that call to their family to explain the "failure" to leave a "dream job."
  • Since BigCo is the "best company," but they are not happy yet, they may feel doomed to be perpetually unhappy and ungrateful: "If even Facebook didn't make me happy, nowhere will!"
  • They may realize that joining BigCo was a mistake in the first place and they only wasted years of their life when they should have been vets all along.
  • They may find that they can't leave BigCo at all. They end up in conflict, paralyzed, and silent despair sets it up.

Companies like Google and Facebook are amazing, but they can be a disaster for people who choose them for the wrong reasons or stay too long out of inertia or fear.

People who do not have a firm sense of who they are, what they want, and where their interests and passions lie are vulnerable to the Big Lie. They end up following the cues from family, friends, and teachers because they don't have an internal compass to guide them. They are more interested in having a good answer to "what do you do?" to find something they want to do.

Every person who walks this earth is different, and no individual scale will explain it. Once you realize that there is no "best" of anything, it becomes much easier to search for what is "best for you" and make professional decisions based on your own criteria, not conventional wisdom about what you look like. the success.

Your decisions may or may not include Facebook or Google, but if they do, they should be doing so for reasons that are uniquely yours.

As Steve Jobs said, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."

TLDR: I left Google in April 2016, and for me it was simply a matter of role adaptation.

If you're interested in the details, below is a copy of the LinkedIn post I wrote to announce my decision to my network. It currently has over 260,000 views on LinkedIn, hundreds of shares and comments (almost all positive), and thousands of "likes" ... so I thought I'd share this with the Quora community in response to the question.


I am an ex-Googler.

Those who know me will probably be very surprised by the "ex" part of that sentence. As a marketer, I have loved Google for over a decade. When I started w

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TLDR: I left Google in April 2016, and for me it was simply a matter of role adaptation.

If you're interested in the details, below is a copy of the LinkedIn post I wrote to announce my decision to my network. It currently has over 260,000 views on LinkedIn, hundreds of shares and comments (almost all positive), and thousands of "likes" ... so I thought I'd share this with the Quora community in response to the question.


I am an ex-Googler.

Those who know me will probably be very surprised by the "ex" part of that sentence. As a marketer, I have loved Google for over a decade. When I started working there last year, I made no secret of how privileged I felt to be part of a company that was redefining digital marketing and at the forefront of redefining how people work. Google is literally changing the world as we know it and I was living my dream of working there.

But my decision to leave Google, as incredibly difficult as it was, was absolutely the right decision for me. I know this because I realized that I was working for a company that I loved in a position that did not make me happy.

This is not something I could have anticipated when I first saw the "Account Executive" position posted on the Google website in early 2015. In fact, I remember thinking, "This position is perfect for me!" Although I am a marketer and the job was clearly a sales function, the responsibilities described seemed to focus more on strategic thinking, relationship building, and finding solutions than on "hitting the quota." My career has been full of interesting pivots - moving from one industry to another, from one company size to another, from one job function to another, and I have always found the thrill of adapting to a new environment and learning a new set of skills. stimulating. sales role ”is different?

While interviewing, I was honest about the fact that my experience did not include any traditional sales experience, but my interviewers told me that was not what they wanted. They were looking for a strong and strategic marketer who had been "on the other side of the table and understood how media decisions are made." That's me, I thought. He fit that description and knew he could be a valuable contributor to the team. Google seemed to agree; I was offered the position and started my life as a Googler in June 2015.

The learning curve at Google is very steep; all Google users recognize it and no one apologizes for it. The kind of people Google hires are really smart and intellectually curious, and used to figuring things out on their own. So when people ask you in your first few months how things are going and you say things like "It's great, but I'm feeling overwhelmed" or "It's amazing, but I feel like I'm drinking from a fire hose", people smile broadly, nod your head enthusiastically and tell him that the feeling is completely normal and that every new Googler could relate to. They tell you not to worry and that things will start to improve in a few months.

So I decided not to worry. Instead, I redoubled my efforts to understand all of Google's products and how marketers could use them to achieve their goals. I continued to meet with my clients to determine how I could help them and continued to build strong relationships with my brilliant colleagues and global counterparts to benefit from their ideas and best practices. I accepted the breakneck speed at which Google was operating, a very different pace than what I was used to at previous companies, but which turned out to be both exhilarating and exhilarating.

But something was still missing. Something still felt wrong.

All my life I have been a high performer and was used to climbing steep learning curves quickly. This feeling of incompetence after several months on the job was not something he was used to, and it certainly wasn't something he was willing to accept. So I increased my efforts even more and asked for help. I had a candid conversation with my manager about what I was feeling and what I wanted to do about it, and together we put together a plan to help me feel more comfortable in my role. I spend more time training. I connected with several Google employees to get their advice on how to be successful in the position and implemented their suggestions whenever I could. I booked more meetings with clients to try to discover additional opportunities for help.

But in the end, it was my newborn daughter who helped me realize the problem.

My wife and I welcomed our daughter Charlotte to the family in early February, and my manager strongly encouraged me to take advantage of Google's generous paternity leave benefit. I had mixed feelings about taking this time, but my manager reminded me that I could never make up those first few weeks with my daughter later, and she was right. So I took four weeks of paternity leave to spend time with Charlotte and her two older brothers.

The New York Post recently published an article on author Meghann Foye's concept of "parental leave," which she defines as "a sabbatical that allows women and, to a lesser extent, men to shift their focus toward the part of their lives that doesn't revolve around their jobs. " As a parent, I don't love the author's comparison to maternity leave, but I can absolutely guarantee the benefits of taking time out for yourself to reevaluate your life priorities. That's what I was able to do while holding my daughter every day for those four weeks, thinking about everything that made me happy and everything that didn't.

And I realized that what didn't make me happy was my job.

I loved Google. I loved the mission and the culture of the company. I loved being around smart and passionate people. I loved the way the company treated its people, not only from a compensation and benefits perspective, but also from a trust, information, and respect point of view. I loved Google. I love Google. But I realized that I was simply not in the right role.

I am a marketer, not a seller. I have passion and ability to build brands for the long term, not to generate sales figures for the quarter. And while I have the utmost respect for both vendors and agency partners, I don't really belong to either group. Trying to be what I wasn't (and what I didn't want to be) was an assault on my authentic self and the root of my unhappiness.

Steve Jobs said, "The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it, keep looking. Don't settle." He was not unhappy because he was fighting, he was fighting because he was unhappy. And there was an obvious way to solve that problem.

When I came back from my paternity leave, I had a candid conversation with my manager and explained exactly why I felt I was in the wrong role. I ended up saying that I would love to stay on Google if there was a more suitable position for me, but that otherwise I would like to explore the option of an amicable separation. My manager was very understanding; She fully supported me as I explored other options within the company, and when I determined that the correct position was not available, she worked with me to implement a smooth exit plan.

When I announced my news to my colleagues, the response was reassuring. Many wrote to tell me that they were impressed by my level of self-awareness and my courage to make the change I needed to make. My favorite quote among all the wonderful emails I received read the following: "If what you're doing doesn't make your heart sing, your time is too precious to waste, especially when three little ones are looking up to you, learning to live their lives by from your example ".

Do I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision, leaving a reputable organization like Google without having something better waiting for me? Of course yes. (Coincidentally, this usually happens when I make myself a sandwich for lunch, while wondering if Prime Rib was on the menu that day at Google Cafe.)

But then I think about how many hours the average person will spend at work in their lifetime and how terrible it would be to do something every day that you don't love. I remind myself that I didn't really quit Google, I quit a role that didn't make me happy.

And most importantly, I remember that I have three young children who will look to me to set an example, and that I would like to teach them to be self-aware enough to know what they love to do, and brave enough to pursue them. passions

At that point I stop wondering if I made the right decision and continue eating my sandwich with a smile.


You can follow me on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/pullara) or Twitter (@pullara).

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