The Great Resignation is real. Last year people were told by their companies to stay home. This year people are telling their companies they’re not coming back. And sometimes not even that. In the same way that companies have mistreated candidates who’ve interviewed for jobs and then ghosted them, some employees are ghosting their employers, not even notifying the company that they’ve quit. They simply stop going into work and ignore calls, e-mails, and texts.
Social media has been flooded with very visible displays of people quitting. TikTok has seen a rise in “QuitToks.” People Instagram their resignation letters or themselves holding signs saying, “I QUIT!” or “OUTTAHERE!” The pendulum seems to have very definitely swung to the employee. But the funny thing about pendulums, they swing back and sometimes with a vengeance.
As recently as October 2019 the unemployment rate was a record low of 3.5%. Employers were scrambling to find qualified workers. The people who had in demand skills were in the driver’s seat. Barely six months later, the unemployment rate was in double digits as companies laid people off, furloughed them, or simply closed their doors. Qualified people with impressive resumes couldn’t even get an interview. Today the baton is firmly in the grip of the workers as the quit rate tracks up. Traditionally at or below 2%, the current quit rate nationally is over 3% and, in some industries, (hospitality) double that. It’s not just minimum wage workers who are leaving. Quit rates among professionals in business services are also at record rates.
My word of warning is that employers have very short memories when it comes to employee shortages. They quickly forget how hard it is to find qualified staff and go back to mistreating and taking advantage of employees when they have the power. But these same employers have very long memories when it comes to how you have treated an employer. And the Internet never forgets. We’ve seen both private citizens and public officials vilified for things that they posted years ago.
I’m not advocating we cede all the power to the employer, not at all. They should be as grateful to us for working for them as we can be to have a good job. But if you’re going to quit, think twice before posting yourself doing the happy dance as you waltz out the door.