My Telegram group members brought to my attention two seperate articles about younger adults in the United States quitting their jobs in the United States.
A lot was said but it is quite interesting to review and reflect upon their reasons for doing so or their frame of mind.
They are burned out
Sarah Lynch worked for 5 years in Coursera, which boomed during the pandemic as virtual learning becomes important.
“I love my company, and I love my work, but I couldn’t keep pushing on through,” Lynch said. “I didn’t have really any energy, I didn’t really enjoy what I was doing anymore, I couldn’t really focus.”
“You might think, ‘Oh, these are millennials who don’t want to work as much,’ but a lot of people I talk to are people near retirement, saying they could work another 10 years at 30 hours, but not 40.”
Financially, they are Comfortable to Quit
Lynch was able to quite as she has financial cushion due to her stock options.
“I recognize it’s extremely privileged to have this cushion now, but I can take the time off that I’ve really been wanting to,” Lynch said. “I don’t have another job lined up after this, and that’s like — I come from a working-class background, you don’t just quit a job and not have another job.”
The booming stock market, reduced expenses under lockdown, extended unemployment benefits and financial stimulus have meant that segments of the workforce have healthy savings accounts — or at least less debt to worry about if they take the plunge.
They worked for such a “long” time without a break
“I haven’t had a break in 10 years,”
“Do I really want to burn myself out over and over again?”
They reflected on their lives and felt that is not the way to live
“People have had epiphanies over the past year,” Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Texas A&M said. “We all want to pursue life, liberty and happiness, and many of us have realized our job isn’t the best way to get there.”
They want to preserve flexibility
Workers have a taste of flexibility, in both hours and ability to work from home.
If you asked them to go back to the old ways, they would vote with their feed if they value it enough.
This is evident from the pushback by Apple and Google employees when management asked them to go back.
“People are seeing the world differently,”
“It’s going to take time for people to think through, ‘How do I unattach where I’m at and reattach to something new?’ We’re going to see a massive shift in the next few years.”
Ironically, those younger workers are the ones who wish to go back to their offfice because they are afraid of missing out on professional development.
Working mothers form the group who desired flexibility the most.
The Job Market for White Collar Professionals is Good
Professionals generally feel confident that somewhere out there, there is an employer that can pay them better, and fit their lifestyle better.
This definitely proved challenging for employers. Employers would have to raise wages and offer promotions to keep staff.
They were parachuted into difficult jobs
In March 2020, Edward Moses was hired as an information-technology specialist at a software company, believing he would be part of a team supporting colleagues in four U.S. offices.
Instead, after a round of layoffs, he found the team had one member, and he was it. “It was effectively me against the help-desk queue,” the 37-year-old said.
The days were stressful, he said, with few opportunities for promotion. A 5% raise after a strong performance evaluation didn’t quell his frustration.
They felt like work is an “endless loop”
I was recommended this CNBC video on YouTube titled Why Millennials Are Leaving Six-Figure Tech Jobs.
One thing that stuck with me the most was that a few of them felt like the endless projects eventually got to them.
You do your best on a project. Once that is done, they dump another project of a different flavour on your lap. Then once you finish that, another one of a different flavour.
In a way, this really put their brain in a different mode.
I kinda thing this is a good list of reasons why Americans moved more during these two years.
Personally, I felt the last one was big.
There is a difference between doing BAU ops and doing different projects. People can call this exciting, but when there is a deadline, it is a different monster all together.
You do one, wreck your brain, then you finish it. Then another one comes along and it twist your brain another way, then you finish it, then you twist your brain again.
Totally, different from BAU ops where you solve roughly the same thing, or the problems are roughly similar.
I am not sure if we are experiencing the same situation in Singapore. At this moment, I have not seen articles with the same vibe.
It feels to me this would bring about a wave of worker velocity. This might be due to a big demand for talented workers that are required by companies that need them to fulfill roles.
This is a supply-side issue, perhaps a shortage of workers that match the skillsets in demand.
This might be an indication that the liquidity has somehow made its way into the mainstream economy. As income rise, this might be the important catalyst of higher inflation.
During the pandemic, we gain prospects looking for us as they decided to take action on their financial lives.
If the pandemic had not happen, they might not have gone ahead.
They were too busy with their lives and didn’t have the breathing space to evaluate where were the gaps in their lives that they have not adequately taken care of.
I guess this is why some bosses say you need to make sure their staff have things to do. When they are engaged, it takes their brain off doing high-level reflection about their lives.
If you would like to read the full articles, you can read forget going back to the office – people are quitting instead and welcome to the summer of quitting. Why many of us are saying goodbye to our jobs.
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Saturday 19th of June 2021
I am sure all of us having this nudging feeling in the past 18 months that life and liberty are precious and can be taken away so quickly. We have absolutely no control over our lives and we are nothing more than a speck of dust in the universe. Maybe quitting or taking control/reclaiming back our lives is the only way to help us make some sense of the current situation.
This virus invisible to the naked eye make us "woke" that living and making a living are totally different. All of us have roughly 30k days to live, some would YOLO; others would keep their heads down and work till retirement. I personally felt that I have lived a few years in the last 18 months. Does anyone still have recollection of pre-COVID days of office life, partying with friends, going to bars and singing KTV having a good time and travelling/taking a plane? Seems like decades ago...