Once upon a time “New World Order” used to be a thing. Now, we have a new earth-shattering term to occupy ourselves with: the Great Reset. We got caught between the serious socio-economic consequences and not-so-serious conspiracy theories. We didn’t have enough time to settle down with all implications of the Great Reset, and we already have to face... the Great Resignation.
So, What Is The Great Resignation All About?
To answer this question, first, we need to go to the very source. Allow me to introduce you to the “godfather” who coined this term in the first place.
As many of us have heard, recent data suggests that the great resignation is coming. The term “great resignation” was coined by Anthony Klotz, a Texas A&M University associate management professor who has studied the exits of hundreds of workers. In his interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Klotz shares his prediction that many more people who had hung onto their jobs during the pandemic because of uncertainty are now readying themselves to quit.
Does it mean that we are out of the pandemic woods? I’m afraid that’s not the case. And, I’m definitely not the only one to feel and think this way. You know that cheesy line: what a time to be alive. Oh, yes do, just like you are fully aware of another, ominous line that we live in a society.
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In normal times, people quitting jobs in large numbers signals a healthy economy with plentiful jobs. But these are not normal times. The pandemic led to the worst U.S. recession in history, and millions of people are still out of jobs. Yet employers are now complaining about acute labor shortages.
Yup, these are definitely not normal times. And, if you think that jobs are the only things affected then you’re living in a bubble.
What’s this supposed to mean? Well, we aren’t only questioning our jobs, but our relationships and marriages, as well. According to BBC The Life Project article “divorce applications and break-ups skyrocketing across the UK and around the world. Leading British law firm Stewarts logged a 122% increase in enquiries between July and October, compared with the same period last year. Charity Citizen’s Advice reported a spike in searches for online advice on ending a relationship. In the US, a major legal contract-creation site recently announced a 34% rise in sales of its basic divorce agreement, with newlyweds who’d got married in the previous five months making up 20% of sales. There’s been a similar pattern in China, which had one of the world’s strictest lockdowns at the start of the pandemic. The same is true in Sweden, which, until recently, largely relied on voluntary guidelines to try and slow the spread of Covid-19.”
That’s why it’s called a pandemic and not an epidemic because the whole world is in turmoil. The US labor market is the perfect example of one of the most contradictory situations in human history that just doesn’t make any sense. Or does it?
The Wall Street Journal reported that more U.S. workers are quitting their jobs now than at any time in the last 20 years.
One would expect that people who still have jobs wouldn’t even dare to think about poking a bear that pays their bills. But, apparently, that’s not the case:
Still, there’s no doubt that the pandemic has been an alarming wake-up call. I’ve heard from countless high-achievers that this past year has caused them to re-evaluate their careers. I’ve also had clients land incredible job offers over the past year, despite the uncertainty of the pandemic.
It’s really hard to process that people would behave this way as if we are going through the good old days of economic expansion and growth again with countless job opportunities just waiting around to be taken. It seems that not even the tech giants aren’t the Great Resignation-proof:
A Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 global workers showed that 41% of workers were considering quitting or changing professions this year, and a study from HR software company Personio of workers in the UK and Ireland showed 38% of those surveyed planned to quit in the next six months to a year. In the US alone, April saw more than four million people quit their jobs, according to a summary from the Department of Labor – the biggest spike on record.
Now, it’s about time to ask the billions of dollars worth question.
Why, Oh, Why?
After sharing all those mind-blowing numbers, I’m pretty much confident that using the word “exodus” isn’t an exaggeration. I’m also sure about the decisive factor which triggered the people to question their current job positions.
Foremost, workers are taking decisions to leave based on how their employers treated them – or didn’t treat them – during the pandemic. Ultimately, workers stayed at companies that offered support, and darted from those that didn’t.
Fair enough. I wouldn’t even blink about leaving a company that turned their back on me in my hour of need either. But, that’s not the only reason.
In late March 2020, billionaire entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban appeared on a CNBC special titled Markets in Turmoil, and warned companies not to force employees back to work too soon. “How companies respond to that very question is going to define their brand for decades,” he said. “If you rushed in and somebody got sick, you were that company. If you didn’t take care of your employees or stakeholders and put them first, you were that company.” For many employees, cautioned Cuban, “that’s going to be unforgiveable”.
I already wrote about the two most important aspects of working-from-home: the legal and financial ones. But, one thing still stays the same. You don’t have to be a billionaire or inventor that you couldn’t and shouldn’t force people to get back to their old offices. People should be allowed to choose because their companies and employers have more to lose. That’s why I strongly advocate for hybrid working models as the (only) best solution for solving the post-pandemic returning to office problems.
Where Do We Remote It From Here?
How do you feel about some delicious food for your pandemic thoughts? What if we are using the wrong term for the right thing?
The Great Resignation sounds intimidating to me. I even dare to go further and say that it is more than just semantics. When you put it like this, the Great Resignation turns into an ultimatum. Instead of a win-win situation for both parties, we end up with a my-way-or-the-highway scenario.
The great migration to remote work in the pandemic has also had a profound impact on how people think about when and where they want to work.
The Great Migration sounds much better than the Great Resignation because at least we know where it leads. Who says that you have to resign when you can remote, instead?
Now, 9 out of 10 organizations will be combining remote and on-site working, according to a separate McKinsey survey.
We have a war to fight against one enemy - the pandemic. So, let’s not allow the Great Resignation to turn into an endless war with countless enemies fighting each other that are actually on the same side. Employers and employees, companies and remote workers, we are all in the same boat. Let’s work together side-by-side to rebuild our post-pandemic world.
In conclusion, I would like to quote Michael Brooks, the founder of goLance and author of REMOTE iT!: Winning with Freelancers - Build and Manage a Thriving Business in a Virtual World - Run a Booming Business from Anywhere, who offers a solution to solve the “Great Resignation puzzle:”
If you want to get back to your office, by all means, feel free to do so. If you want to stay and work from home, you should be allowed to do so without any restrictions or pay cuts. If you want the best of both worlds, then explore what the hybrid work models have to offer. The Great Resignation should be the foundation to build a better solution for workers all over the world.