Weird to say I coined it
The professor who came up with the phrase "Great Resignation," and what he's doing now. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
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The Great Resignation
I think everybody needs a catchphrase. Anthony Klotz’s is probably: “Great resignation.”
Last year, a reporter from Bloomberg called Klotz, who was a management professor at Texas A&M. She wanted to talk about best tactics for quitting a job without burning bridges.
Toward the end of the conversation, Klotz made a comment that stopped the reporter in her tracks.
While most people seemed to assume that the pandemic would ease as vaccines rolled out, that life would begin to return to normal, and that workers would return to the office when asked to do so, Klotz had a different prediction
From the Bloomberg article:
“The great resignation is coming,” Klotz said. “When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.”
The numbers are multiplied by the many pandemic-related epiphanies—about family time, remote work, commuting, passion projects, life and death, and what it all means—that can make people turn their back on the 9-to-5 office grind.
“It sounds so weird to say I coined it,” Klotz told Pilita Clark, a business writer for The Financial Times in London, who was talking with him more recently for reasons I’ll reveal at the end of this newsletter.
Of all the pandemic predictions most of us have heard, I think this is the one that got it right. A few recent data points:
People report quitting jobs for a variety of reasons. The top motivations: pay dissatisfaction (63%), a belief that opportunities for advancement were limited (also 63%), or else, a lack of feeling respected at work (57%), according to the Pew Research Center.
But, more than half of those who quit their jobs (53%) wound up switching careers, rather than, say, simply moving to a competing company for a more attractive compensation package, also according to Pew.
And, while there has been a lot of speculation that generous COVID-related benefits in the United States were what was prompting a significant percentage of workers to decline to return, it seems similar job-quitting and shuffling is on the rise in many other countries, too.
From a CNN roundup:
The data for other markets often lags. But the latest figures now show that resignations have jumped in the United Kingdom, Australia and France, too. And while experts say a wave of quitting hasn't materialized in countries like Germany and Singapore, surveys indicate workers there are also eying the exits.
I feel like I’ve written about this whole phenomenon a few times here lately; hope I’m not overdoing it. But if ever there were a time to think about changing where you work, it seems like this might be it.
If you’re on the other side, hiring people? It’s up to you, but I think it’s time to show that you’re open to career-switchers, if you can be—and even find ways to support people who think they’d rather work somewhere else.
Maybe try the Tony Hsieh, “Here’s an exit bonus if you’d like to leave,” trick that I’m become so fond of.
I don’t think this is going away. And how’s this for a case in point, and a bit of practicing what you preach?
It’s why Clark of the FT in London was talking with Klotz in the first place.
He just joined the Great Resignation himself. He’s saying goodbye to Texas, and moving to the United Kingdom to teach at University College London.
7 other things worth knowing today
Satellite images analyzed by the New York Times “rebut claims by Russia that the killing of civilians in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, occurred after its soldiers had left the town.” According to the NYT analysis, “a review of videos and satellite imagery by The Times shows that many of the civilians were killed more than three weeks ago, when Russia’s military was in control of the town.” (NYT, $, but I “gifted” the article with my subscription so you can make your own judgment)
President Joe Biden on Monday called for a war crimes trial against Russian President Vladimir Putin and more sanctions against Russia following new reports of atrocities in Ukraine after Russian troops retreated from areas around Kyiv. This is a big rhetorical step; I’m not saying it’s not warranted but it’s certainly worth nothing. (USA Today)
Kansas pulled off the biggest comeback in men’s national championship game history to beat North Carolina and win the 2022 NCAA tournament. The Jayhawks were down by 15 at halftime and trailed at 16 at one point in the first half, before coming back to win, 72-69. (Yahoo Sports)
Here’s the curious tale of the doctor who moved to Hawaii and became a hermit. This was in the 1950s; the doctor was apparently brilliant, but he was Black and friends say his experiences with racism led him ultimately to leave his medical practice, give up all his belongings, and head to the islands. “People may think I am a fool,” he said in a 1961 Honolulu Star-Bulletin article, “but I have found real happiness and above all real peace of mind in the valley.” (SF Gate)
I meant to include this yesterday: You might have heard Sarah Palin is running for Congress from Alaska, which will be interesting to watch. She’s the frontrunner due to name recognition (according to people who, unlike me, have actually been to Alaska or know anything about it). But the most surprising thing in this story is that there are actually 50 declared candidates. Can you imagine the ballot? (Anchorage Daily News)
Over a third of Americans plan to spend their tax refund right away, mostly to pay bills. (CNBC)
A Tennessee man was arrested on Friday for allegedly trying to track his partner by attaching an Apple Watch to her car to monitor her whereabouts. (The Register)
Let’s end on something nice, nostalgic and even uplifting. A Minneapolis television station was going through its archives about a teachers’ strike in 1970. They came across a short interview that a reporter did with an 11-year-old Prince Rogers Nelson at the time (later known to the world simply as, Prince). I’d embed it here if I could, but it’s worth checking out. (CBS Local)
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Thank you for clarifying the “Great Resignation”. Most people I knew over the years did not resign of their own volition. Aside from the fact that they missed a year of resignations during Covid, it takes a lot for people to just up and leave a longstanding job. All the stars had to be in place. And-So glad we have satellite imagery! Proof positive for anyone who doubted Russia’s cruelty and genocide.
First - I was just getting ready to check the score of last nights game - and voila! right there in the newsletter. I though UNC could pull it off - 15 ahead at half time but Kansas is such a strong team. Kudos to all of the amazing student athletes. It's such a great time of year! Thanks for all the info on the Great Resignation. Enlightening. I work with many people who are employed through big Tech. Although I don't see a lot of them resigning I see them hitting the pause button in some ways, because like others, the lines have become blurred between work and home. Long hours, endless meetings (small apartments) makes people question if they want to stay or not - despite the amazing benefits many these companies offer. I see another impact of the pandemic - relationships. Its really interesting to see how it has affected relationships - in both good and not so good way. So, its not the great resignation in terms of jobs but using this time in their life and with their relationships to take a step back (like we do with our jobs) evaluate where they are, if what they have is sustainable and if they want to continue. In that way, the pandemic has opened people's eyes in a different way (from my perspective with my work). Nonetheless I find the impact of the pandemic extraordinary in many different ways. And like the Klotz said in your interview, more change is on the horizon as people continue to process and make changes as more certainty comes. People assess, adapt, and then sometimes pivot. Always enjoy your newsletter.