The Great Resignation

Over 4 million people have resigned in the USA this year - a trend being echoed in many Western countries.

It is an interesting turn of events - people seem to be taking control of their own destiny and the old way of thinking about jobs and employment seems to be changing.

Have you or someone you know resigned to pursue a different way of living or are you contemplating it?

I certainly am, and have some very very loose plans in place for next year.

Would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this phenomenon


Shouldn’t this be in the United thread?


Submitted my resignation last week. Start a new role hopefully before Christmas depending on what notice period gets agreed and a few other hoops to jump through. I’m required to give 3 months but that seems silly with Christmas cutting across that timescale.

I’m going for a slightly different role, in a different part of the construction industry but also one that appears to offer a far better work life balance and certainly better benefits. Of course grass may not be greener on the other side but the change is still necessary. I’m digging a grave for myself right now. My current job and the impact of lockdowns have not been healthy, physically and mentally.


I left my job of 18 years in June (not same exact role but same department).

It was in the NHS and the covid year(s) were hard. Lots of staff shielding, increased in patient numbers, people isolating, so you were permanently doing at least 2 people’s jobs. If not 3. There were massive inconsistencies between what other staff in my role were doing and what I was being asked to do (in terms of exposure potential to covid+ patients)

And all the time we were still getting the same crap from the management team as always.

There was a final straw moment for me, which was not covid related, but by that point I was worn out and down, so I started looking elsewhere immediately and fortunately found something appropriate.

I now start at 8am instead of 9.30am and get home around 4pm instead of the average during covid of 6pm. The difference those 2 hours make in terms of time with my family are priceless. The whole culture is different and I’m enjoying doing things that I’d lost interest in

It’s perhaps not the same situation as other in the great resignation, but I think had Covid not happened, I’d probably still be there just putting up with it for another day and wouldn’t have even though about if there was a better situation for me elsewhere.


It would be interesting to see the peaks in this trend (USA). I’m assuming first peak would be lower paying jobs that could be offset by COVID related social programs.

2nd peaks would be the attempt to federally mandate vaccinations (assuming current numbers are included). In this situation I would expect lots of resignations to be people close to retirement, or that have done extremely well in 401k’s due to the positive growth in the markets.

EDIT: after reading article, I am confident that they have not recorded either of my explanations.

1 Like

Looking to move on but sadly can’t until I get a new job.

We’ve moved to Hybrid working however so life is very different.


I never figured out why people leave first and then look for another job.

1 Like

There’s pretty convincing data that the additional unemployment assistance has not been a factor in people staying out of the workforce.

I think we’re therefore left to look for alternative explanations, and you really dont need to look far

  • Many employers didnt do nearly enough to protect their workers who then collectively said “fuck this shit, it aint worth it.”
  • 750k deaths

Don’t think the 750k deaths can really be attributed to resignations as about 500k of those are 65+, and that’s not really a resignation anyway correct (in other words not recorded as resignation).

The other reason seems plausible.

1 Like

:joy: It’s a pretty emphatic resignation. “I’d rather die than back in here tomorrow.”

In all seriousness though, these data do not come from actual resignations per se, but data showing an increase in vacancies. The fact this has just been labelled a great resignation without the data to support it is illustrative of the attitude such narrative holders have towards workers, hence the prevailing idea that people are happy to sit at home and take in unemployment despite the evidence not supporting that. Ultimately, you cannot lose 3/4 of a million and not have it not have an impact on the workforce, both indirectly and directly. I accept many will not have been of traditional working age, but the reality in the US is a large portion of the retirement age population simply cannot afford to retire and find themselves working these sorts of jobs that are now going unfilled.

As with any complex issue we’ll find there are lot of overlapping and counterbalancing issues dictating why we have the number of vacancies we have now, but I really think you dont have too look far to see what some of the big drivers are in an environment of exploited workers working for a pittance for employers who dont give a shit about their health and well being at any time and seemingly not even in a pandemic.Text


the spinoff? shortage of labor force, requiring increased wages to lure people back to work. Hyperinflation of costs of goods and services…

Wow, just realized that I have used words close to that effect a few times.

And yes, it sort of feels like a let me use this statistical fact F1 to prove A, while my counterpart uses statistical fact F2 to disprove A. The wonderful world of broad statistics to create a non specific story that can be true and false at the same time.

I think there are a few things at play, both on the employer side and on the individuals side.

Even though NZ has been pretty insulated from the effects of Covid, the natural instincts of companies is to act in a more conservative manner. One of the first things to go is R&D spending. In the company I work for, I was brought on board to transform a company, bring in new R&D model (I had contracts for a dozen international collaborations). Few months later the CEO was walking and I was effectively doing his job overseeing tax/marketing/contracts. A complete u-turn meaning the organisation was doing virtual no R&D.

When I made a few noises, multiple offers came in from third parties. Because New Zealand can no longer hire people from abroad there is a shortage of qualified people. This has a knock on effect of increasing wages. Job title wise I am taking a step back, but getting a significant pay rise. Plus its doing something with where outcomes are important and I care about (focus is on recycling and the environment and making bioplastics a reality in NZ)

So while my current job is easy and I am lucky in the amount it pays. I am moving on for greater fulfilment.

Generally speaking I think for some people lockdowns provided time to self reflect. Some are responding to the actions of their employers (Be it lack of security or change in role), others are responding to economics. Inflation is high (costs increased 5% in the last year), government supports coming to end, salaries increasing.

I dont think its a single thing, but multiple aspects, and life is too short to be unhappy in a job.

1 Like
1 Like

More of the same