Ah, The Great Resignation! It’s a term that was coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School. Mays described the term in a Bloomberg interview that predicted an unprecedented rise in voluntary resignations. Not only does it describe great as in, huge, massive, but great to many, is a term as in, wonderful! Right?! Who doesn’t want to just walk into work and resign from their job?
Well, as of now, millions of people are included in the group who have resigned from their jobs en masse, including, moi, Shannon. Last year, 2021, I, Shannon, resigned working for someone else. Was it the pandemic that put things into perspective for me? Unsure. I know that there are a lot of things over the past few years that make us all reevaluate things, and yes, the pandemic is one of those things. In an era of hustling and pushing until it hurts, quitting is definitely having a moment.
Why are people resigning?
As the job market begins to trend upward, people are feeling as though it is just safer to bet on themselves. Sure, there is a risk and it is scary as hell, but there is something about having control in your own hands that is much more predictable than the unknown fear of it being in someone else’s. Not only that, but from a mental health perspective, many find that a shift in leverage feels liberating, even if there is a financial downside at first. If well-planned, done strategically, one can walk away from their 9-5, focus on their own thing, and feel less burned out, and feel much more freedom than ever before, even without a safety net.
Also, with people getting a taste of working from home, many really enjoyed the autonomy. When called back to the office, some didn’t want to go back. If forced, they opted not to do it. So, they quit.
With that being said, there are downsides to this. It all sounds glamorous, right? The Great Resignation! We are the poster children for burnout. Having been business owners in the past, we know what it is like to work for ourselves, not plan accordingly to take care of our mental health, and suffer greatly. Perhaps it is that reason, that I felt that I was able to properly dedicate myself to taking the risk, betting on myself, and joining the ranks of others who want to control their own work life. It is also for that reason that I was able to notice burnout, mental health suffering, and less quality of life, while working for someone else. I know my own drive, the hard work and dedication that I put in so I opted to use that hustle and drive towards my own success.
The Great Discontent
While many think that The Great Resignation has been a time of self-empowerment, a time for your inner entrepreneur to stand up and shout from the rooftops, “I AM READY,” others like Gallup say “The Great Resignation is really the Great Discontent.” They cite their data which shows “it’s not an industry, role or pay issue. It’s a workplace issue – because the highest quit rate is among not engaged and actively disengaged workers.” Gallup doesn’t presume to know the cause of why employees are disengaged, they do presume that managers are the ones to solve the problem.
Remember Anthony Klotz, the professor who invented the term, “The Great Resignation”? Well, he reminded us that you can only quit if you have the means to quit. There are many who have taken part in The Great Resignation and actually didn’t have the ability to do so. These people were fed up. They just could not handle it anymore. Many times, these people would rather face doing whatever it took to figure things out, than face another day of the dreaded workplace setting or environment that they had been experiencing day-to-day. This is referred to as “rage quitting”. These folks quit, and oftentimes do feel free and are forced to get out of a bad situation and find something else. It’s not always bad, but it’s not always good, either. It is a risk, nonetheless.
What are people doing when they resign?
No one can argue that The Great Resignation has been a period of people assessing their lives. The people who have taken part in this movement, we will call it, have really taken a different view of where their life is going. Do they want their life to go on the trajectory they envision for themselves currently? If not, what is the game plan?
There are many paths people are taking when they resign:
- Starting their own thing- entrepreneurship
- Going back to school
- Switched industries (such as those in the healthcare field)
- Staying at home with their children due to no childcare coverage
- Retired early
- Invest in cryptocurrencies, NFTs and meme stocks have reaped financial windfalls, though with the current crash, they may want to reconsider
A Life Well Lived
At the end of the day, people just want to feel valued. They want to feel empowered, and as though their life is fulfilling. Some people are perfectly content being in their 9-5 doing what they do. Some people are not. There is nothing wrong with either. Despite The Great Resignation being called great, the fact that people are going after the life that they want is something that is worth recognizing. We all want to live a life with no regrets- a life well lived. As long as the life we live isn’t harming anyone else, who cares what we do for a living?!
Whether you are, or will be taking part in The Great Resignation, we hope that your goals and dreams are fulfilled, whatever they may be. If you did, or will be giving your resignation, we’d love to know about it. Send us a message and let us know how it’s going! We may be interested in chatting with you for a future podcast on this subject.