Why I Quit My Job to Get a Raise

For me, the choice to quit my job to get a raise was a no-brainer. I’d stayed with my employer for 3 years back in Vancouver, but it was a small company with no room to grow. In order to get a better title and increase my salary, I had to spread my wings elsewhere.

Well, elsewhere turned out to be Toronto, and although it’s only been a year since I left that first employer, it was one of the best financial decisions I’ve ever made.

Unlike previous generations, the idea that you can stay with one company for 30 or so years and work your way up the pay scale is a thing of the past. Nowadays a lot more people jump ship after about 2 years according to Forbes, and those who don’t do the same end up making 50% less than those who do. This of course goes against everything I grew up learning from my parents, who have both been with their employers for the majority of their careers. I was taught that you should be loyal to your employer, otherwise you would end up looking like a job hopper.

Seeing as I did a bit of job hopping in the first few months of landing in Toronto, I was terrified that my resume would end up looking like one big red flag to potential employers. I even considered sticking it out at one of the jobs I got for fear of damaging my job history. But in the end I just couldn’t do it. None of the jobs I had were what I really wanted to do, and with my education and work experience, I knew I could do better (and deserved better).

So, I went back to school to brush up my skill set and kept job hunting until I finally landed my dream job. I know it’s easier said than done, and it’s hard leaving a job that you’re comfortable in, but from my experience it’s definitely worth it. Don’t believe me? Here’s some of the numbers to show you how I almost doubled my pay in 4 years by not sticking with the same employer.

Job #1 (Vancouver employer, 2010 – 2013)

Stayed at this job for 3 years and within that period received a 15% increase in salary.

Job #2 (Toronto employer, 2013 – 2014)

I was only at this job for 6 months, but my start pay was a 15.94% bump from Job #1. Considering I had to wait 3 years to get a similar pay bump, and there was no way I could have gotten an additional 15% pay raise on top of that if I had kept that original position, quitting and jumping into a new job was definitely worth it.

Job #3 (Toronto employer, 2014 – present)

I’ve only been at this job for a few weeks, but it is everything that I have been searching for. I love my role, my co-workers are awesome, and to top it all off the base salary was a 32.50% pay raise from Job #2. That means that in 4 years I was able to increase my salary by 43.39%. And if you want me to discount the money I spent going back to school (which was $2,100 in total), I still increased my salary by 41.06%.

There are of course several factors that could have effected this outcome. For one, I moved to Toronto because there are more options for jobs (and better paying jobs) in comparison to Vancouver. Going back to school is definitely another factor and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have landed my current job without it.

And finally, I switched industries. Previously I’d worked in the arts and media industries, and they aren’t exactly known for their high paying jobs. I now work in the law industry which not only is more stable but generally offers higher wages. You’ll also note that I didn’t mention the two other jobs I held after Job #1. The reason being that I didn’t stay at either of them for long and they didn’t really bring any different data to the table.

With all that being said, since I am in a role I love at a great company, I’m definitely planning on sticking with this one for a while. Unlike lots of the other jobs I’ve had, there actually is room to grow here.

And although I can’t guarantee that I’ll stay where I am for the next 30 years, I am happy knowing that all of my past job hopping was absolutely worth it because it got me to where I am now, and got me the salary that I know I’m worth.

Have you switched jobs/companies to get a raise? What has your experience been like?

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Showing 42 comments
  • Kirsten @ Indebtedmom
    Reply

    I took a professional development course once and the instructor told people he’d changed jobs every 2-3 years his entire career. He showed done math which demonstrated that he earned more money by doing so. On the other hand, every time I’ve switched, I’ve taken a pay cut!!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      There are definitely a lot of variants, and sometimes if you’re switching whole careers instead of just jobs a pay cut can happen. I’m lucky that my switch in careers actually resulted in a pay raise!

  • Rob
    Reply

    Hi Jess. During my 45 year IT career, before retiring 2 years ago, I had switched employers a dozen times (I kid you not!) – always working in a full-time position (not on contract), sometimes for more pay, sometimes for better working conditions at roughly the same salary, but other times it was for slightly less pay but for better career opportunities. So you see, it isn’t always just a straight forward goal set for more $$$. Oftentimes, it’s for whatever is most important to you in a job, based on your priorities, looking at the entire big picture. Catch my drift?

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Totally! Money isn’t everything. For instance, I don’t think I could ever be a lawyer. Sure they make great money but I’m not sure I could handle the long hours and impossible work-life balance. To me, what makes a job worth jumping ship for is salary, work-life balance, and company culture.

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction
    Reply

    Holy Cow, if I calculated your salary right (sorry, I’m that creeper who does that calculation!)

    I ended up getting a 12.5% raise after one year, and then 4 months later a 1.5% COL adjustment. So I’m up 14.2% for a year. I know that if I jumped to another employer after another year or so I could get another 15% or so as well. But to mitigate some of that job hopping issues I am trying to stay put for at least another year before I move, giving me a stronger resume. I am still looking though, so if something “perfect” does come along I will jump at it… but I’m resigned to another year or so.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Haha I had a feeling someone would try to calculate it. Just so you know, where I started off was very, very low. I’m not making $100,000 or anything haha.

  • Jordann
    Reply

    I’ve also done a bit of job hopping in the past year or so, and the result is that I’m definitely making more money than I was before I quit! Right now my full time job pays me an average wage for my experience level and city of origin. But, if I combine that with my freelance income I’m making a lot more than average, which makes me happy!

  • Cash Cow Couple
    Reply

    First of all, love the Suits gif. Second of all, good for you.Getting out of your comfort zone and searching for a new job because you recognize that you’re worth it is awesome.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      I’m absolutely obsessed with Suits, so I just had to put it in there haha.

  • Anne @ Money Propeller
    Reply

    Wow – congratulations on the huge pay bump! I bet it feels awesome to be pocketing more cash. That is an impressive return on a short amount of time. Here’s hoping that the new job continues to be amazing!

  • Newlyweds on a Budget
    Reply

    I moved jobs about 5x in 5 years. I’ve been at my current job for 3 years and it’s the longest job I’ve had since graduating college! I was also able to double my salary in that time frame. I completely agree that you need to job hop a lot more if you want to keep making more money BUT I will say there are some exceptions. FOr example, my current job now I am making almost 20k more than when I first started 3 years ago. There is lots of opportunity to grow and the benefits are fantastic so I plan to stay for a while.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Just like finding a good partner, if you find a good job that pays well with good benefits and you like the work, stay with it. Job hopping can result in a bigger salary, but it’s also not fun working jobs you don’t like or with a bad company culture or something like that.

  • Athena
    Reply

    I really appreciated this article. I am one of those people who tend to be lifers at jobs, especially if I really love the company. My boyfriend suggested job hopping next year and I gasped because I couldn’t fathom only staying a year somewhere ( I plan on moving after graduation in 2016). We had a similar conversation and I am now more open to it. Great job on the raise and pay increase as well. And I’m so glad you are happy!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      It’s not easy, especially if you love the place you work. But in my experience, sometimes you need to take that leap, and not just for the money, but to grow professionally and even personally too.

  • NZ Muse
    Reply

    Yep, in my fields changing jobs is the best way to increase your income. I’m not agency side so I’m not going to be moving every 1-2 years but I do imagine I’ll be moving more like every 3-4. I’ve increased my income over 50% from my starting income after graduation and my aim is to crack 100% hopefully in my next job.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      That’s awesome! And ya, I heard that about working for agencies. The turnover is a bit too frequent for my liking.

  • Zee @ Work-To-Not-Work
    Reply

    It seems like every time I leave my job it’s for this exact same reason, if I can get a 15-20% raise by working for someone else… it’s hard to stay. I’ve been wishing to find the employer that will realize that it’s worth it to bump up salaries more for loyal employees rather than have to find someone new to train and hope they turn out well.

    There was only one other time I didn’t leave a job for a pay increase and that was because my boss was a jerk. I still got more money when I left but that place had very good job security which I appreciated. I’m glad I left though.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      There’s nothing worse that working in a toxic office environment or having a tyrant boss. Not fun!

  • save. spend. splurge.
    Reply

    If I worked at a company, I’d job hop every other year at least.

    A new hire is in the best position to negotiate a max salary. Once you are in the company, it switches to company policies on raises and so on..

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Totally agree. It’s way easier to ask for the salary you want as a new hire than asking for that same amount as a raise at your current company.

  • Reply

    I’m not sure the older generation understands this new reality. They seem to think we’re flighty but that stat from Forbes doesn’t lie.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      I think it’s definitely the new normal, and I bet in the newer generations to come, the idea of working for one company for 30 years will be like a myth of the past.

  • Kassandra
    Reply

    In my field of work it’s very common to change employers often and usually with each new position you can end up with a pay increase. I tend to look at an offer holistically (tangible/intrinsic benefits) and not only for the just the salary. My elderly mom still doesn’t quite understand how my self-employment works and I think she worries over it no matter how well I tell her I’m doing!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Totally agree, there’s more than just salary to consider. For instance, my first job didn’t offer a pension program and I thought that was normal, but once I started job searching I found out lots of companies actually offer that benefit, which is basically free money.

  • Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans
    Reply

    I quit my first job out of college for a higher pay at a much bigger company. Although I work longer hours, I get paid overtime AND I absolutely love my company. Not regretting this move at all!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Sometimes the little sacrifices, like working longer hours, is worth it overall. Glad things worked out for you 🙂

  • Rebecca
    Reply

    There’s a high turnover rate in my field (special education) and finding a job can be hard, depending on where you’re at. I love my job and don’t plan on moving anytime soon, but I get a raise every year (6% from my start pay). I know a few teachers who have left to earn more and some got almost double what they were making (it’s crazy how much it can vary district to district).

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      I can see how that field would have a high turnover, it seems like a hard job. But getting a guaranteed 6% raise every year is pretty nice. I’ve never had a job before that guaranteed raises, it was always something you had to ask for when the timing seemed right.

  • C-Le
    Reply

    I’ve worked in similar functions (PR/marketing/project management) across different industries (high tech, consumer tech, B2C e-commerce) and have had 12 different raises across 4 different jobs in 8 years.

    My first job was at a small PR agency where I got 3 job title changes and 2 raises in 11 months. I received an overall increase of 27% during my time there.

    My second job was at a small consulting firm as an in-house marketing specialist. I hated this job immediately but I took it because it was a 32% increase from my last salary at job #1! I was the only marketing person which justified the pay increase. Unfortunately the company folded within 8 months so I had a reason to move on.

    My third job was the first job I could secure as soon as my previous company folded. I only got a 10% raise because I was working at a similar role as my precious job just for a different industry. I stayed here for 3.5 years because I wanted to chill out for a while. I got a few small raises during that time and just as many job title changes (it’s easy to do so when you work at a small company). I only got a total of 14.5% raise during my time there because the company wasn’t super profitable and I just wanted to not put so much into my career for a whole.

    In 2012 at age 28 I decided I really needed to ramp up my career again because I was getting bored. I got a job at a fast growing tech startup and have been there ever since. What drew me in was the fancy title with a huge pay increase, a 21% increase from my last salary. I’ve been working my butt off and have earned a few more title changes, and a raise of 37.5% from when I started there 2 years ago!

    That’s 266% increase from my starter salary 8 years ago. And I never took any time off from work or went to school for new skills aside from opportunities I seeked from my jobs. I definitely recommend job hopping and jumping around occasionally, staying at a cushy job when you feel like it, jumping to a growing startup if you want to revitalize your career, etc!

  • Marie @ Gen Y Finances
    Reply

    My husband was supposed to switch to another company because he’s not satisfied to his salary with his present company. The past day he told the manager that he will retire and already signed up the contracts from the other company. Yet, the manager and every employees stopped him and offered him a bigger salary. Lol

  • Morgaine
    Reply

    I definitely agree that we live in a different world than our parents, my Mom used to constantly criticize me for job jumping when I was younger (something along the lines of “can’t you hold down a job?”) even though I would remind her that I quit, I didn’t get fired. She worked at the same factory for 20 years and was forced out and then couldn’t find another job when laid off because she had no other skills. I really do feel that even if you are comfortable in your job/role continuing education and updating your skills are crucial.

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying your new job 🙂

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Yup, sounds familiar. And it’s funny, after I graduated university and got my first job, I thought finally I could relax. But then I realized that you always need to keep educating yourself, gaining new skills, and you can never just sit back and relax if you want to keep growing in your career.

  • Pira
    Reply

    That’s fantastic! I work agency side and I’ve been here a whopping two years (agency years are basically dog years). Slowly realizing that I’m paid about 50% less than I should be making at my level, so it’s motivating to see that making a shift has worked out well for you and others.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      I’ve heard similar things about working for agencies (high turnover and low pay). All I know is jumping to a new employer has really helped me career-wise.

  • debt debs
    Reply

    Sometimes you need to make the decision to leave to increase your salary, especially if you’ve tried to get more from your current employer. I’ve done both, leave to get a higher salary and request an increase with a plan to leave if it couldn’t be met (and I was successful). Kudos for making the right moves at the right times and being happy with the outcome!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Good for you! It’s not an easy decision but I think in the long run it can be really worth it.

  • Reply

    Congrats on the new job! And that pay increase is awesome. I’m definitely with you though, I’ve been with the same company for about 4 years now, and most of my friends keep asking why, because it’s almost uncommon compared to days past. If it weren’t an amazing company, I would have left long ago.

  • Tre
    Reply

    It’s great that you figured this out early. I’ve been able to increase my salary significantly by switching jobs too. This time Mr. Tre moved to an economically depressed area for his job. So far I’ve been able to hold onto my old job and work remotely instead of taking a pay cut.

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