Insights & Ideas

Here’s to the people who are making The Great Resignation great.

orange lady

This article is dedicated to you, you trailblazer.

Most news articles about “The Great Resignation” make it sound like a crisis. And, for some employers, it might be. To be sure, the stats are ominous. Lots of people are leaving their jobs and lots of employers can’t fill open positions.

However, for you, the people who are changing jobs (or planning to) it’s a coup—an unprecedented chance for personal reinvention and an opportunity to make the workplace better for future generations. (Don’t say we didn’t give you anything, pre-school whippersnappers.)

So, let’s change the narrative and reframe “The Great Resignation” as a positive turning point in work culture by clearing up a few things about today’s professionals:

First of all, we didn’t start the fire

Ok, maybe it’s more accurate to say: we didn’t start the fire this year. All of the trends fueling The Great Resignation—rising open jobs, growing emphasis on flexible work, employee burnout, bias in the workplace, etc.—predate 2021 and even predate the pandemic. The pandemic simply accelerated those trends and made them more critical.

The pandemic also showed employers that solutions to the problems—especially around flexible work and burnout—are feasible. Now that we know workplace change is possible, talented workers are looking for organizations that want to turn possibility into lasting progress.

This is about redefining success (not giving up on work)

Some pundits say The Great Resignation is about laziness. But nothing is further from the truth. People have worked harder than ever during the past few years. After two years of collective trauma and disruption, people have simply reevaluated their priorities. They’ve considered what life is about and how work fits into it. They have new perspectives around acceptable and unacceptable trade-offs. The verdict: Something’s gotta give.

For many people that means there’s a new definition of success. It isn’t always about titles, big salaries, and promotions anymore. It’s about doing work that’s meaningful, motivating, and rewarding. It’s about work that fits into life, instead of fitting life around work. It’s taking a stand for personal core values—whatever they may be.

Flexibility is a form of caring

Organizations often say they value employees. The Great Resignation is testing how far that goes. The challenge is each employee (or prospective employees) has their own (recently revised) different values and priorities. As a result, flexibility and choice have become the hallmark of companies that care about their employees. Organizations that collaborate with individuals to find a mutually beneficial “flexibility fit”—covering when they work, where they work, what they work on, etc.—are today’s top talent destinations.

And some people are turning to self-care. The same need for self-determination is why people are leaving “traditionally good” careers, for something that feels like a better fit—from starting their own businesses, going back to school, or trying consulting.

The Great Resignation is a movement for progress

For the most in-demand professionals, The Great Resignation is a great career opportunity. But, for some people, The Great Resignation is shining the light on opportunity gaps. For them, The Great Recession is an opportunity to show employers that unsafe work environments, unfair wages, and biased workplaces are unacceptable. Normalizing flexibility, work-life balance, and employee satisfaction at all levels of the workforce will help everyone thrive.

While separated from each other, we re-gained our humanity

So, here’s to you, the people making a difference by making changes in your lives and careers. Quarantine gave us a chance to prioritize what’s important. And The Great Resignation is prompting us all—individuals and organizations—to make those priorities into day-to-day realities. Together, we can work towards a better, more humane, and more successful workplace.

Salo offers flexible, rewarding consulting careers
If you’re a finance, accounting, or HR professional exploring your career options, consider consulting with Salo. We offer flexibility, independence, and meaningful work—all with our experienced talent team on your side.

Want to learn more?

Colleen Frankwitz
Colleen Frankwitz

Colleen Frankwitz

Talent Connection Director