20 weird reasons to quit your job

May 16, 2012: 10:21 AM ET

Leaving to take a better offer elsewhere is nice, but pretty dull compared to climbing Mount Everest, or joining the circus.

FORTUNE -- The number of people quitting their jobs has been climbing steadily since June 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, to 2.1 million in March (the latest month available). And where are all those people going, exactly? As you might expect, most quit for greener pastures at other companies. But then there are a few whose reasons for jumping ship are more, shall we say, unconventional. Staffing firm OfficeTeam recently surveyed 1,300 senior managers nationwide in a variety of industries. Here are some of the things they said about why workers were flying the coop:

  • "Someone left because her boss lost the dog she had given him."
  • "Our employee said he was joining the circus."
  • "A staff member left to climb Mount Everest."
  • "There was an individual who left to play the trombone."
  • "An employee wanted to enter a beauty contest."
  • "One worker left to become an apple farmer."

A few employees' stated reasons were reminiscent of Oscar Wilde's alleged last words, "Either this wallpaper goes, or I do."

  • "One person quit because he hated the carpet."
  • "A worker did not like the color of the walls."
  • "She left because she hated the lighting in the building."
  • "He quit because he didn't like the way the office smelled."
  • "An individual did not like the sound of cabinets being slammed."

Strangely, once in a while, someone quits when just taking a vacation day probably would have sufficed:

  • "One person quit to watch a soccer tournament."
  • "An employee left because he wanted to watch a movie with his girlfriend during work hours."
  • "We had someone quit so he could stay home and feed his dog."

And then there are the folks who just aren't all that crazy about work, period:

  • "One person left because she didn't want to work so hard."
  • "The worker told us he just couldn't get up in the morning."
  • "An employee said work was getting in the way of having fun."
  • "A staffer quit because informal dress was not allowed."
  • "A guy told us he was making too much money and didn't feel he was worth it."
  • "Someone left because she was going to live off her trust fund." Nice work if you can get it.
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About This Author
Anne Fisher
Anne Fisher
Contributor, Fortune

Anne Fisher has been writing "Ask Annie," a column on careers, for Fortune since 1996, helping readers navigate booms, recessions, changing industries, and changing ideas about what's appropriate in the workplace (and beyond). Anne is the author of two books, Wall Street Women (Knopf, 1990) and If My Career's on the Fast Track, Where Do I Get a Road Map? (William Morrow, 2001).

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