Why We Quit Our Jobs

Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX
Published in
11 min readAug 18, 2023

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A manager’s cheat sheet to understand why all of your software engineers left last week and you most likely can’t find any replacements.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Apparently people love listicles, something that I originally thought was some kind of (frozen) tip-top to be quite honest, but on looking it up and putting it on my “avoid these simplistic bullet pointed articles with pretty much zero content” list I generally don’t like them at all.

I’m more of a Dostoevsky or Tolstoy man myself, more so than a Marcus Aurelius or (what’s that guy’s name I blocked on LinkedIn) Simon Sinek. But, enough of that, this article is already longer than pretty much all of Sinek’s in any case…

I feel listicles are perfunctory, contribute to decreased attention spans, and besides I generally like to write in extremely long train of thought unforgiving breathless paragraphs like this one, so this will be a long form list (with added insight, explanation, and much cynicism disguised as humor) and very definitely not a short form bullet pointed list that you can cut and paste into your management PowerPoint love-in.

Spoiler: At least until the very end.

That said, let’s have a bit of a foray into why software engineers generally quit their jobs. You see a lot of dross on LinkedIn about “people quit bosses not jobs” but that’s not always the case.

Sure, there are a lot of inexperienced, hapless, or just useless managers who can’t find their own arse with both hands, so to say, but there are also many more things that make us think “bugger this for a game of soldiers, I’m off”¹ than you’d think.

Management

Managers rate highly in why we up sticks and leave and this is solely because of the stress they usually create in the workplace.

This could be a result of micro-management (interfering in every aspect of what we do), technical incompetence (making astonishingly bad technical decisions on our behalf and usually without our consultation), or financial short-sightedness and incompetence (not authorising the purchase of necessary software, additional resources such as developers, or scrimping on basic necessities such as monitors that don’t make us go blind through squinting or coffee that makes us continually run to the…

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Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.