“Why are so many Americans quitting their jobs?,” asks Planet Money.
“Literally millions of Americans are quitting their jobs,” declares Time Magazine.
“How do I know whether it’s time to leave my job?,” wonders The Washington Post.
The Great Resignation is well underway, and more than a third — 37%, to be precise — of workers are contemplating leaving their jobs or already working toward getting out of their current roles, according to a June 2021 Yahoo Finance/Harris Poll survey. At the same time, job searches are declining. These circumstances combined are leading to talent shortages at employers worldwide.
Why are so many people quitting?
Workers are exhausted. The pandemic has meant new and greater demands on employees, and that’s leading to unprecedented levels of burnout. It’s not just an increase in the amount of work they’re being forced to take on — it’s also changes in expectations and the belief that workers should be available at all times. The work-life balance line is blurring, and with so many employees leaving, the expectations of those who stay are mounting.
Women, especially, are facing an increase in family and personal responsibilities since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, Pew Research Center found that mothers were far more likely than fathers to say that they were taking on the majority of child care responsibilities while working from home during this time.
Because of this, some employees are unable to balance their personal and work responsibilities and are leaving their jobs as a result.
It’s impossible to ignore the effect of toxic workplaces and managers on the Great Resignation. Unreasonable expectations, pressures and all-around poor management and conduct have led many workers to say “enough is enough.”
Perhaps these issues were already present, but now, they’re unavoidable — and given the opportunities so many workers have now, they no longer have to stay in workplaces that aren’t good for them.
And then there’s the fact that many employees have gone through changes themselves during the pandemic. They’ve realized new things about themselves — things that have led to them reassessing their goals, beliefs and values. Perhaps they want to have a fresh start or change careers entirely.
For workers, the Great Resignation means opportunity. For employers and leaders, it’s full of challenges. But one thing’s for sure: everyone is facing a new landscape and will have to reconsider and conceptualize the future of their work and lives.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.
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