Quitters Never Win… or Do They?


I’m at a point in my job where I think I’ve hit the salary wall. I basically have to wait for my manager at my current company to retire in order to move up. He’s older, but I don’t know exactly if and when he plans to leave his post. My best friend thinks I should bail and that I could find a better-paying job at another company. I’ve been here only a few years, and don’t want to look “flighty” on my résumé. What should I do?

Dear, Resigned to the Idea,

Collapsing wall making a dollar symbolI grew up hearing the phrase, “Winners never quit and quitters never win” and come from a generation where loyalty was valued. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but recent articles are swaying me to believe the best way to get a significant raise these days is to quit one job and change to another.

When you stay with a company for many years, your raise is usually based on a percentage of your current salary. The average salary increase last year was 2.9%, according to Mercer’s US Compensation Planning Survey. (There are some standouts that earn a 5%-10% raise, offset by federal employees receiving a 1% raise and those poor souls who get no pay bump at all.) With the inflation rate hovering around 2.1%, the extra spending money after an annual raise may be inconsequential.

In a Forbes article, Employees Who Stay In Companies Longer Than Two Years Get Paid 50% Less, a hiring manager explains that if you start fresh with another company, you’ll likely command a higher base salary, which is often more than a raised salary offered by your current employer.

pay raise ahead roadsignTalk to your manager about what it would take to increase your salary. (He may just spill the beans about his retirement plans.) Before the meeting, check out Salary.com or PayScale.com to see the range of wages paid for your position in your geographic area. You don’t want to use this information to threaten, but to enlighten.  If a raise is out of the question in your current position, tactfully explore the option of moving to another department within the organization. Or negotiate for a bonus based on completion of a task outside your normal scope of work or for reaching a milestone.

If pay raises or bonuses are not forthcoming and you don’t feel that you can wait it out for your boss’s chair, consider searching for a new position with a significant salary increase. Mull over the risks to changing jobs. What if that exciting start-up offering competitive salaries and amazing perks goes belly-up? What if your new boss is a micromanager? Factor in future career goals. Some more established companies do frown upon job-hopping. They may have a policy of tossing any applicant résumé that has, say, more than three jobs in the last 10 years. So before you take the leap to another company, be sure that the salary and/or title increase is worth it, both personally and professionally.

Readers: For what percentage salary increase would you consider leaving your current job?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. do a barrel roll
    Sep 25, 2015 @ 05:54:33

    “Never quit” is the sufficient key to get success in any bussiness …
    thanks for your article it motivated me ..


  2. Eligibility criteria for TCS
    Sep 25, 2015 @ 05:49:58

    So , NEVER NEVER NEVER give up and Remember the beginning is always the hardest ….
    Nice article keep writing …


  3. Jeff Western
    Aug 28, 2015 @ 14:17:13

    P.S. Thank you Anita for hosting this job talk blog for folks to turn to. You are already doing what I’ve been thinking of doing… hosting a blog. It’s tough out there (even in the most prosperous nation on Earth!) and for some of us, it’s a lot tougher than for others. I get that. One of my goals is for the rest of my life, to help others where I can. I think some would agree with me that this is what we’re on the planet for… to help others. So, I’m offering resume help to anyone who needs it. Another set of eyes can be helpful to spot and add things that the job seeker can’t see on his/her own resume (can’t see the forest through the trees, that sort of thing). I’ve been doing mine for years now and have gotten pretty good at it.
    Also, I’m currently working hard to put the finishing touches on one of my books to prep it for printing. I’ll be done with this book soon and then I’d be happy to help other budding writers out there by reading over their material and providing some editorial feedback. I know how difficult it is to open one’s writing to criticism by others, and I pick very carefully who I have read my stuff. But critiquing is necessary for a writer, as well as help with proofing. It’s easy to spot the typos and errors in someone else’s work, but oh so hard to spot them in one’s own… I’ve just been going through that arduous exercise! Cheers, Jeff


  4. Jeff Western
    Aug 28, 2015 @ 13:52:07

    Great question! And I think how to answer this question depends on a bunch of factors… for instance, what industry are you in? In the Information Technology arena, it is quite common for folks to bounce around for a variety of reasons, and all of them are considered acceptable. But that may not be the case in another industry where job hopping is frowned upon. Incidentally, I personally have grown weary of hearing the word loyalty bantered about, because I’ve seen that employers are not the least bit loyal to their employees — so why should employees be loyal? Especially when it’s to the employee’s detriment and to the employer’s advantage. I’ve left jobs — even industries — to pursue work elsewhere for much better pay. Again, in the IT field, no one faults anyone for doing that. Also, certain IT jobs, like software developer work, are exhausting and to avoid burnout, a developer may take a “sabbatical” for a year and go backpacking, just as an example. You can’t do that in Engineering, however, because in that field, they expressly look for a work history without any gaps in employment. However, as a consultant or contractor, gaps in employment happen… such as when a contract ends and before an IT contractor starts a new contract (job).
    They say it’s much easier to get a job when you already have a job. True on one level perhaps… but look at how hard it is to do job hunting when you’re all caught up in the 9-5 grind! Getting a new job seems to be a full-time job in and of itself. I just filled out a length online application form and survey in which they asked how often I took time off work for non-medical (personal) reasons? I’m nobody’s slave but sadly, that’s what corporate America tries to do to us. Job hunting – and the employers’ attitude – is often very caveman-like, still to this day. I’ve been at this “game” for over 26 years now and like I said, the only exceptions I’ve seen are in a field like IT, because IT is just so project-centric. Projects can be as brief as 3 months, or up to a year or two, and then what? Gotta go job hunting. And speaking from lots of experience, it’s darn hard to chase down a new job as you’re approaching the end of your contract with deadlines looming (but who needs to sleep anyway?).
    You know, I just realized, I wrote quite a bit here (yeah, I’m a creative writer too and have just published a collection of science fiction, slipstream and human interest stories). Maybe I should start a blog too, to help folks struggling in the job market. It sure isn’t easy, and I think one must get creative. I think sometimes the only thing a person can do is leave the company they’re at – even if they love their job – if making more money is that important to them. Sometimes there is even the possibility of returning to the company you left a year or two or three down the road – at a much better salary! And, your former co-workers will respect you more too, as they see that you did what they couldn’t and wish they could have done!
    I was starting a family 10 years ago so I did some job hopping because I had to, to bring home more bacon (raising kids is expensive!).
    Hope this helped somebody. Cheers,


    • anitaclew
      Aug 31, 2015 @ 09:37:35

      Thanks for your insights, Jeff. I totally agree that different industries have different takes on job-hopping and gaps in employment.


  5. Moonstone Mary
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 16:25:12

    Also it depends on how old you are and how healthy the job market is in your area. Being on the plus side of 50 in a not so great job market in Tucson, it’s taking me some time to find the right position getting paid what I was making at my last job (in a different state).


  6. Gary
    Aug 05, 2015 @ 17:03:40

    As a “boomer” I heard the same. By choice I did the job hopping to get raises. Looking back, I think it was not a good choice. If you like the work…stay with the employer a little longer and ‘measure’ the amount of appreciation you get.

    I kept getting deniles for raises ‘because the Biz couldn’t afford it’. My 2cents: Any employer should give a raise after six to twelve months just due to what you learned since starting. One employer told me “you got a raise” with my coworkers, but Biz Policy didn’t put it on my check until after a longer length of employment.


  7. John Craig
    Aug 04, 2015 @ 13:07:35

    This is all well but the big decision is
    to quit and hope to find a job or
    go job hunting while working


  8. Tiffany Lieu
    Aug 04, 2015 @ 12:39:26

    I would say stick with the standard percentage going around until you are sure about the employer’s generosity or they want you to aim higher. Sometimes we also have to take the pay raise even if it is not in the best interest at the moment. When you transition from the current positions it is possible to lose employment at the company sooner. But then not willing to be promoted can exit the worker from the company much faster.


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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