The Great Resignation 2021-2022

I’ve been following this with great interest, more so recently, as I’ve seen quite a few co-workers and friends look for better jobs and total career changes in the last 6 months. Would love to see some forum discussion and thoughts regarding this.

But its not all good news…

I’m quite interested in this as well. I think at a high level that the exploitation of working people had gotten out of hand for years, and when the pandemic suddenly flipped the power from demand to supply in the labor market the businesses weren’t ready to adapt.

Fun anecdote, my son (16) got his first job recently. He’s worked for a local movie theater for minimum wage for about five weeks. Well he was, yesterday was his last day. He realized rapidly that there were a LOT of employers willing to go better then the paltry local minimum wage so after two weeks in the movie business he started applying elsewhere. Sure enough he found a better job pretty quick. It was odd helping him write his first resignation letter on the day before he received his first ever paycheck.

The combination of COVID incentivizing a lot of people to leave the workforce and inflation means that workers are going to demand better wages and treatment. Companies that don’t oblige are going to struggle.

For me I had been on the fence for awhile at a company that I had been trying to help fix for years and Covid depriving me of all of the enjoyable interactions in the office ended up pushing me over the edge. Funny thing is that my timing pretty much coincided with new company leadership finally pushing out the people who had been holding the company back.

I’m usually pretty resistant to FOMO but this trend definitely hit my radar. Then my boss gave me a good raise and I love my job, so it’s back to sleep I guess.

Suckas, I done quit two jobs since the pandemic. Resign from deez!

Yeah, I just changed my job 2 months ago. Not because of dissatisfaction at my old job, but because of opportunity. The company I had been contracting at did a reorg, essentially restarting all the activities and new projects that had been put on hold due to COVID. It represented more long term stability, and a significant pay bump. So in December I put in my notice.

Certainly the conditions in the labor marker made it a very favorable time.

Kind of surprised by the Guardian link.

maybe the problem isn’t all with the employer.

more than 2,500 workers found that almost three-quarters of them (72%) experienced either “surprise or regret” that the new position or new company they quit their job for turned out to be “very different” from what they were led to believe. Nearly half (48%) of these workers said they would try to get their old job back thanks to a phenomenon that The Daily Muse is calling “shift shock” […] “They’ll join a new company thinking it’s their dream job and then there’s a reality check,” the company’s CEO, Kathryn Minshew told FOX Business. “It’s this really damaging phenomenon where people are brand new in our role, and they suddenly realize it’s not at all as advertised.”

Emphasis mine. That still sounds like an employer problem.

(Good ol’ Grauniad: "This article was amended on 22 March 2022. An earlier version misnamed the job site the Muse as “the Daily Muse”. As you can see, they didn’t properly correct the article.)

All that said:

It’s a cliche but ask anyone who’s been in the workforce for a number of years and they’ll tell you that the grass is often the same color at the new job (and the coffee is just as bad).

Some years ago I went from the private sector to the public sector and know that my current position is pretty stable and I suspect better than similar jobs. The workload is a pain in the arse, and I’m monumentally fed up with the work itself but the idea of applying elsewhere has zero appeal to me because I know it’s not going to be dramatically different or pay much more, unless I change career altogether. Before this job I nearly quit the graphic design profession altogether because I was that fed up.

The Great Resignation isn’t really about employees permanently leaving the workforce.

About 10 years ago I made a plan to pay off our mortgage as early as possible and effectively ‘retire’ to part-time work knowing that without kids and no mortgage or rent to pay, my partner and I could hit a kind of low-work equilibrium where we could earn enough to get by and have more spare time to pursue other things. We’re about 3 years away from that so I’m now considering the part-time part of the plan and/or the possibility of doing something different, preferably not in an office and maybe outside–I’ve found over the years that Office Space has resonated with me more and more.

“The thing is Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.”

Just before the pandemic, our department started moving into video (lots of fun dealing with 4K video on a remote network WFH) and it was a ton of additional work and an entirely new field that we didn’t have much training for. I mean, we had a consultant/specialist in but he was hopeless at teaching anybody anything. I started making noise to get our pay grade looked at and almost a year later it finally moved up a notch but not instantly: it will take years to hit the top of the bracket. Had I not done that, I’m certain it wouldn’t have happened at all so that’s a slow victory, particularly with the increasing cost of living. The problem is that the workload has continued to increase and it shows no sign of easing. I currently earn about £22.5K (so about $30K) a year before tax as a graphic designer and video editor. It’s the most I’ve ever earnt but still lower than most folk I know despite it being highly specialised. I take pride in my work and have high standards relative to my colleagues but this results in me being given (even) more work and obviously without extra pay. This is why I want to minimise work as much as possible because it’s just a constant stressor, and the pandemic has made that feeling more acute.

I am leaving my job at a public accounting firm where I have been for almost 17 years for a senior controller position at a logistics and environmental clean up company. Yeah, still accounting, but far different from being an auditor of other companies. More money, possibility of bigger bonus and I’ll be escaping the toxicity of nepotism, poor scheduling and poor staffing choices.

The stories the recruiter told me of accountants leaving to go to other jobs, getting an increase offered from their current job and then the new job offering even more are nuts. Some of the stories are extreme, but many, many people at all levels of the accounting function can get more money by exploring other options. My firm, and especially the audit department in which I work, is in for a rude awakening. We used to have little turnover and I’ll be third person who has left in about 3 months.

Pretty much this. Like my job, like my boss, felt a bit of FOMO, but a nice bonus and raise nipped that in the bud.

I didn’t even need a raise. I went from going into the office every day to being a permanent WFH worker. That gas and time savings was enough incentive to stay!

This isn’t really about quitting and finding a new better job; that’s always happened, it’s just that it’s a great market right now for job-seekers. The difference these days is people quitting and then just… not… working anymore. I don’t know if they’re independently wealthy or all moving back into their parents’ basement or what.

My guess is the stock market (before the past month, anyway) led people to believe they could retire at 45 without changing their quality of life. That’s part of it, and the other is I dunno, peer pressure?

Anyway all those people will either run out of money or be faced with the prospect of paying rent to their parents in their forties and get new jobs soon enough. Or maybe they’ll move to Phuket and open a fried shrimp joint right on the beach. That does sound like an idea.

Not a statistically significant sector, outside of Boomers already nearing retirement age.

Most younger workers who quit either do so for better jobs, or are having childcare difficulties that force them out of the workplace for now.

That seems like a convenient narrative created ex post facto. Workers said loud and clear they were shifting careers, not just shifting companies for same conditions, not living of the land, but salting the earth that sustained bad jobs. You know, accepting free market incentives, and, surprise, contradictions appeared!

I don’t know the statistics, but I do know a bunch of people that quit their jobs and aren’t working now.

Well last I had heard the stat was something like 90% of all people exiting the workforce were above age 60 or something.

So 90% not returning are above age 55.

These are mostly in their 20s and 30s. It’s bizarre.

Waves hello as a member of the recently retired.

Now that you’re a WFH worker, you can theoretically work for any company that offers it. That’s what has been pushing salaries in our local area.

I can’t imagine how great it must be to always wfh. I still rack up 400-500 miles a month for work, every other week.

I can tell you I will never work in an office again. For an introvert like me, WFH is the best.