Everybody is quitting. Should I? - The Great Resignation
During the pandemic, people realized that there is more to a job than just work.
A tsunami of resignations is hitting the job market. Professionals are quitting their jobs during 2021, just a year after the COVID-19 pandemic started. Experts are calling it "The Great Resignation." Especially the tech industry is seeing phenomena of skilled individuals leaving without a specific plan but with high optimism to what's to come. And you wonder: Should I quit too?
There are a lot of different reasons to quit a job. But after COVID hit, the business dynamics shifted. This brought a plethora of consequences in people's lives. I'll mention a few I've seen, experienced myself, and discussed with my friends and family. Hopefully, going through the list can help you understand why other people quit and see for yourself if you are experiencing the same symptoms. Let me know in the comments if you resonate with these reasons or think that others are affecting more than the ones here.
Sea of options for mid-career professionals.
The pandemic had an impact on many businesses. Some flourished, and some failed. Specifically, the tech industry saw a rise in demand and needed to speed things up. And since most jobs have a significant remote component now, hiring inexperienced professionals might seem risky. Processes like onboarding and training for junior professionals working from home are perhaps not mature enough. This gave mid-career professionals an edge: more experience = less risk for the employer = more job postings for mid-career professionals = more job options to pick from.
Note: employers, remember, without juniors, there are no mids or seniors in the future. Take them in, take the risk, work together in retention plans and motivate them to be a relevant part of your organization, not just another worker.
Not having the opportunity to work from home.
Some people are willing to quit their jobs for the sole reason of their employer not continuing the WFH policies or some kind of time/place flexibility. Nowadays, you know that you'll find a job that will give this to you. Hence, people will just search for options that will provide it. Making quitting just a matter of time. Employers need to understand that WFH, partial or total, is here to stay.
Personally, a big reason for loving my current and last job was the trusty relationship we grew together. This took the "ask for permission" for doing something out of the equation. Going to an appointment or running small errands was very simple. My manager trusted me and knew that I would get back to work as soon as possible and continue to deliver the committed objectives/tasks.
Blurred lines between work and personal life.
The alarm goes off. You turn it off, wash your face (or take a bath on a good day), and go directly to your desk to start your first meeting. You forgot that you needed breakfast, that your pet needed to go for a walk. You stay at the desk for hours just to realize now is past lunchtime, and you have meetings again. You managed to grab something to eat, go back to work, and didn't do the dishes. You end your 8-5 shift. You are "free" for the rest of the day. You finally got your pet the walk it deserves, ate some real food, and finally did the dishes. Now it is 7pm. You see your computer on the desk and remember there is something else that needs to be done before the end of the day. You did it. Now it is 9pm. You ended the day exhausted. Even without a commute, now you have less time for yourself than when you used to go to the office.
This was my reality for a big chunk of 2020 before I really got used to working from home. And I know that out there, there are people just like me, with the same struggles and surviving while having burnout. Making food for themselves when they were used to eating at their job's cafeteria. Dealing with stressful situations at home while at work because they live with other family members also working from home.
Work and life have never been so mixed-up together. This can create many mental health issues in the long run and push you to quit. You should take care of this moving into the future. No matter the job, you need a good work-life balance to succeed.
Changes in consumption habits and hobbies.
Staying more time at home caused some people to realize that they did not need a lot of the stuff they were wasting their money on. They use less money for transportation, clothing, eating out, etc. Also, some others discovered new things they really like to do in their free time. This can lead to:
- more savings
- changes in priorities
- realizing they can live well enough with a lower salary, fewer responsibilities, and more time for the stuff they love.
Deterioration of the work culture.
Not going to the office and not having direct contact with coworkers can make people feel they are not part of something bigger. This can lead to feeling "non-essential" to the organization and thinking they are not valued and can easily be replaced. Also, being alone at home can be productive at times and really difficult when you do not feel like working. Without human contact, you cannot ride your friendly coworker's energy wave and take advantage of it.
Life is short. I want to do something I love, and that is worth it.
The fact that a job is just a job is something that not all people can live with. Some need to work on something they really like, enjoy and care about. Some others believe in the greater good. They need a purpose and feel like they are really making a difference.
This sometimes goes all the way up to a career shift. Acquiring new skills during the pandemic made many individuals more capable and appealing to the job market. This got them some job offers they had never considered before.
All this adds together and might encourage people to quit a job they don't feel like doing anymore.
Should you make the leap?
This is 100% up to you. Do you have a plan and savings to back you up? Can you afford a pay cut to have only a part-time job that will enable you to work in what you really love? Do you already have another option on the table and are just afraid to decide? Does this fear gets conquered by the excitement of the possibilities on the new job? Having precise and concise answers to these questions means that you have given a lot of thought to quitting. You might be near to taking the leap.
Take your time. Talk to the people you really trust and care about. And most importantly, make the decision for yourself. In the end, it is your life and your future.