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The Big Resignation: Vanishing Footprints in the Sand

December 11th, 2021 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, is there a deeper motive at work that is hiding in the shadows?

In the midst of the coverage of the pandemic from every conceivable perspective, a new story made its way into the press in the past week. It has been dubbed The Big Resignation. You know it must be a big deal to be able to compete with COVID for the headlines. Some of the facts and figures behind the story, based on surveys and employment statistics:

  • More than four million people quit their jobs in April in the U.S. alone
  • 41% of workers are considering quitting or changing professions
  • 38% of workers planned to quit in the next six to twelve months

Although it is happening in all sectors, it is particularly prevalent in service and retail jobs. In the American retail sector, 650,000 workers quit their job in April alone. Apparently some of them left in favour of entry-level positions in other sectors that pay less but offer more benefits, potential for advancement and better working conditions.

The pandemic has clearly resulted in a cultural shift. At face value, it seems that workers are arriving at the conclusion that life is too short and too precarious to spend eight hours a day doing something just for the money or to endure poor treatment from an employer.

For those who do not need the income, they are simply opting out. Others who still need a job are aiming higher and accepting the need to take a step backwards to move ahead.

I am one of the fortunate ones who work for an organization that treats its employees well and values their abilities. From that privileged position, I can afford to contemplate the phenomenon and attempt to dissect it. I wonder if there is not a deeper, not yet understood driver involved for some of these people – a collective discontent that has not defined itself yet.

I fear that a year from now some of those people who changed jobs will be thinking:

Why am I still not happy? Was my job really the source of my discontent? Or was it something else?

Maybe it was the fact that I had not seen anyone smile for going on two years because I could not see beyond their face mask.

Maybe it was the fact that I had not had a real vacation in 18 months because travel was forbidden. And when it became permissible again, I stepped off the plane back home only to be treated like a leper or a criminal because the country I vacationed in got put on a watch list.

Maybe it was the fact that the rights I once thought were enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms suddenly became conditional based on the circumstances.

Maybe it was the fact that I lost my identity and became nothing more than a QR code.

Maybe it began the day I looked behind me to see my footprints and discovered they had been washed away because I was not supposed to be walking on the beach that day.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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