Does Your Boss Know You're Quitting Your Job? These Signs Might Tip Off Your Manager, According To Research

Human beings might be good at keeping secrets, but we're not perfect. Sure, you're skilled at hiding in your cubicle at work while you're picking your nose; but new research suggests there's one secret in particular we might be unintentionally giving away: leaving our jobs. In fact, there are a number of signs that you're quitting your job noticeable to coworkers and your superiors. One study narrowed them down to the most common, so, uh... if you're thinking of heading out to greener pastures sooner, you might not be as subtle about it as you think. Sorry.

The study was published in the Journal of Management and was conducted by Timothy M. Gardner of Utah State University, Chad H. Van Iddekinge of Florida State University, and Peter W. Hom of Arizona State University. They started with a list of over 900 characteristics of employees who are preparing to quit, and eventually narrowed it down to the top 13. To confirm the accuracy of the 13 behaviors they had selected, they surveyed a large sample of managers concerning the behavioral changes of some of their employees and found that they were able to accurately predict the chances that these people would voluntarily quit.

This was particularly fascinating to me because when I was planning to quit my job years ago, I suddenly had several doctors appointments back to back that I always dressed very well for. Obviously, the appointments were job interviews. I'll never forget the day a coworker joked, "Oh don't lie. I know you're going to an interview!" LOL. Good one, Susan...

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I always wondered how obvious my real plans were. Ironically, in this study, these specific behaviors were hardly observed. (Whew!)

On a similar note, I think it's important to point out the difference between an employee who is quitting simply to pursue a better opportunity, and an employee who is quitting because they are fundamentally unhappy. The happy employee is not likely to let their performance slip just because they plan to leave. The unhappy one, however, is probably fed up and less interested in trying to be awarded Employee of the Month.

Below are just five of the common behaviors of employees getting ready to quit their jobs — and you can see the full list here.

They Have Been Doing The Minimum Amount Of Work More Frequently Than Usual

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This was so me a few years ago. I tend to try to go the extra mile. I always have. Even as a kid, I was the stereotypical overachiever. But as soon as I made the decision to quit the job that was making me so unhappy, no sir, I will not work late. I will not work this weekend. I will not stop taking full advantage of my vacation days.

They Have Left Early From Work More Frequently Than Usual

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*raises hand* I'd be out the door and in my car by 4:59. No shame.

They Have Been Less Interested In Pleasing Their Manager Than Usual

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In the beginning, I'd always respond to my manager's emails within seconds, offering to take on extra work, help him with whatever he needed, and work as much as I needed to. I was so desperate for his approval. By the end, however? I'd do just enough to get by.

They Have Exhibited A Negative Change In Attitude

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I think that when you assume you're at a job for the long haul, you try to find the positive in everything. But once you know your days are numbered at a job where you're not happy, you stop trying so hard. Like when an employee asks how you're doing, it's the difference between, "Fine, thanks!" and "I hate everything and everyone and my life has no meaning so please never talk to me again."

They Have Shown Less Interest In Working With Customers Than Usual

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When dealing with customers, you obviously bring your A-game. You're polite, professional, efficient, and the customer is always right. Toward the end, however, you're not quite as interested in being friendly and courteous. In fact, you're not as interested in talking to them, period.

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