to leave one's job, especially out of concern (from the image of passengers abandoning a sinking ship)
He almost had an urge to jump ship when he got in trouble something that was once trivial.
Leave an organization, group, company/institution, movement, proposal, or idea. This departure is usually due to inside information, or a gut feeling, concerning the pending failure of said organization, group, company/institution, movement, proposal, or idea.
References the visual of a sinking ship, i.e.- the crew evacuates rather than stays honor bound to the cause of saving the ship at the expense of their lives.
Leaving a close knit business is never an easy choice. If the supervisors have managed their crew, or staff, with equanimity and sound ethical judgement those employees will dedicate themselves to the failing business in hopes of restoring the profitability rather than merely choosing to Jump Ship.
To bail out, jump off the wagon, quit the team.
"You know it's hard out here for a pimp
When you trying get this money for the rent
For the Cadallics and gas money spent
Will cause a whole lotta bitches jumping ship"
-from "Hustle and Flow"
Will: "How's it going with my little sister Janie?"
Johnny: "Stupid whore decided to jump ship. She found out about my 'business trips.' Well, she forgave me for that. But then she found out that I banged your mom indabutt. But then the got over that. Then she found out I knocked up her best friend. But that was cool in the end. Then she caught me with that goat. But whatever. Then there was the time she found out about my fourteen wives in Utah, my tendency to murder prostitutes, and my penchant for eight-year-old boys, including your little brother, who I molested several times and put on the internet. But she forgave me. Then I forgot our 7-month anniversary, and she DUMPED ME!!! Stupid fucking skank-ass gutter slut cock-gobbling trick. I think I'm going to shoot her."
Will: "You forgot your anniversary? You deserved it, you asshole! And don't call my sister a 'trick'!"