Experts discuss ‘The Great Resignation’ as more people switch jobs amid ongoing pandemic

Buckley Report

(WGHP) — The polite way to describe what’s going on with America’s workforce is it’s “The Great Resignation.” The more pedestrian way to describe it is, “The ultimate, take-this-job-and-shove-it moment.”

“It truly is an ongoing trend,” said career consultant, Damien Birkel, the founder of Professionals in Transition.

And Amy Bowles is part of it.

Bowles was a surgical technician at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist but after nearly a decade in that job she loved, she chose to leave. For her, it had a lot to do with the vaccine mandate the health system put in – she understood why they wanted as many of their staff to be vaccinated and says it’s still a great place to work but, after a lot of thought and research, she says she chose not to become vaccinated.

“I do have a very supportive husband, I have a very supportive family,” Bowles said. “I don’t know that I would have left my job any other way. So, to be honest, maybe I would have been in a job, long-term, that maybe I always kind of felt like that wasn’t where I was meant to be, long-term. I feel like God has closed this door for me for a reason.”

One of them, she says, was to set an example to her daughter and two stepdaughters about standing up for what you believe.

“I want to be an example to my kids, I want to be an example to people and I don’t want to back down when it’s something I feel so strongly about,” Bowles said.

One thing The Great Resignation is not, Birkel says, is people too lazy to work because they’re getting plenty of money from unemployment benefits.

“The bottom line is – and I’ve been on unemployment – it’s not enough to pay the rent,” Birkel said. “One thing going on here is retirement – COVID-19, people just got to that point where they said, ‘You know what? I like it at home, I don’t need to put myself in that position’ (to be exposed to the virus).”

Birkel and other business experts say there are a lot of factors in play.

“I think there’s a couple of things going on, here,” said Kapeesh Saraf, a former executive with Coursera, the online platform that has allowed millions of people to train for a new job or a promotion. “The first thing going on is, through the pandemic, a lot of people have increased their savings quite a bit because of the federal stimulus as well as people are not spending enough money. And that led people to the realization that they can actually take some time to improve their careers. And I think that’s manifesting itself in two ways in different segments of the economy. The first one is blue-collar workers looking at their colleagues that have white-collar, knowledgeable jobs, they have good pay, they can work remotely so they have a lot of flexibility and they say, ‘Hey, I want that.’”

One thing that is different about this shift in the workforce compared to, say, The Great Recession of 2008, is how many people are making the choice to leave on their own, rather than being laid off.

“The people that are moving are the sparks of on organization,” Birkel said.

Saraf agrees, saying companies are beginning to realize how valuable it is to keep their best people from leaving.

“Because it’s really expensive to replace someone and it leads to a loss of productivity, key knowledge about the company,” Saraf said.

There are some key things to know before you try to switch jobs. Birkel gives you a rundown in the video below:

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