Meet an unemployed person who thinks big resignations are a lie

  • Like millions of workers, Sharon did not feel appreciated in her old role.
  • He looked for a new job in a hot job market, but said his new role still felt exploitative.
  • She found herself between two groups of workers in the best position to benefit from the movement.

Sharon thinks the Great Resignations are a lie. And you should know: you participated in it.

Sharon, who is in her early 30s and has requested that her real names and those of her employers be kept anonymous, works in the mental health field. She has been in the business world for over 20 years.

When the pandemic hit, his workplace, like millions of others, was quick to go remote. He has taken a leading role in his company’s transition to fully virtual work. But she didn’t feel recognized for it. She got compliments, but not a higher level role. She said it took a toll on her mental health and her personal life.

“I started looking for new positions when it became clear that I wasn’t going to make any progress,” he told Insider. “I also felt, as a mom and as a Latina, that I was simply put in the back seat.”

It was last fall, when a near-record number of Americans were laying off, employers were complaining that they couldn’t find any workers, and wages were rising. All of these things are still true, but a looming economic downturn has also led some companies to institute hiring freezes or lay off staff, as they have their great regret over excessive hiring.

Sharon said it was “really, really hard” to find roles that she really wanted to do – the ones that weren’t “what I set out to do in the past”.

He experienced one of the cracks in the Big Resignation narrative: Some workers were able to quit and find higher-paying jobs that suited their wants and needs better, but not all. This is because the power workers have right now is their ability to walk away; they depend on their employers for everything else. Employers can still be choosy, perhaps not as demanding as they once were.

It can be harder than expected to find a better job

When Sharon started looking for work, the new jobs seemed ready to be taken.

“Everyone said it’s great resignation, it’s a worker advantage, you could find a job anywhere,” he said. “So I came in with the mindset thinking that if I’m going to quit, now is the time to go.”

But while he felt his resume suited the places he was applying for, he wasn’t getting all the calls or interviews he expected.

“I was expecting more possibilities than maybe in the past, and this just wasn’t happening,” he said.

This may be due to Sharon being between the two groups of workers with the most options. One group is what economist Kathryn Anne Edwards called the “bleach collars”: highly educated, high-income workers in high-end services, such as software engineers. The other is the lowest paid workers in industries like retail and catering, who went from no electricity to a pinch when companies realized they should have raised their pay and competed for their own. work.

Sharon ended up taking the first job that offered her something in her field and checked her basic boxes.

“Honestly, I felt so desperate to leave that I just took it,” she said, adding that the culture sounded a little better and the pay was comparable, if not a little lower.

Eventually, she said, she was “confused” by the job search process.

“There was a shortage of staff in my previous job, so I can imagine there is a shortage of staff in other places of work,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Hey, here, I’m qualified. I actually feel like I’m fit. I’ve done the job. I’ve got the experience. Here I am. I’ve got this high school diploma’ – and nothing.”

“It just became clear that the environment was not ideal”

Sharon said her new job’s pay ended up falling short of what she expected due to what her employer counts as a day job.

“It’s not a good feeling, not feeling like I can contribute to my family, having to barely live paycheck for paycheck without a pillow – it’s pretty terrifying right now,” he said.

The Big Resignations certainly meant wage increases for some job changes. A recent Pew Research Center analysis found that 60% of job changes from April 2021 to March 2022 received a pay raise. But that means 40% of those switchers didn’t necessarily earn more. This is consistent with older findings from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which calculated in 2016 that nearly half of job changes were earning less with the new job.

Sharon said she felt regret, concern and skepticism about how powerful the Great Resignation is.

In her new role, she finds herself left on her own. It’s up to her to find her answers to her questions and said she feels isolated working remotely from her bedroom. She said that she left her old role because she felt discriminated against and exploited and that her struggles in her new role felt like a betrayal.

“It still seems to be exploited because the pay is so low, there is nothing I can do and there is no support,” she said, adding that “it’s a bit like sinking or swimming” and that she has to do a lot of work. just to stay afloat. You said that paid and sick leave is minimal.

“If anyone in my family gets sick, including myself, in the midst of COVID, I’m terrified that I’ll be able to afford that free time,” she said.

She said she felt trapped after the “roller coaster of emotions” involved in finding this position. You show that the solution to work problems is not necessarily finding a new role.

“I might as well struggle, figure it out here, no matter how unhappy and stressful it is. I don’t know if it will get better anywhere else,” he said. “I guess it’s just the fact that I’m resigning myself to the fact, like, it is what it is. This is just the culture of work. This is just how it is and how it will be. It won’t get any better.”

He said corporate workers’ fair pay and restructuring for true fairness and justice in the workplace could bring about a change. But she added that her “conspiratorial side” of her tells her that the Big Resignations are a “marketing ploy” and that workers will still have to struggle to find a position that matches their worth.

“It’s not yet to the benefit of the worker. It never has been,” he said. “I don’t know if he ever will be. He Who knows, maybe if he becomes my own boss, then I might start making those changes. But until then, I feel the Big Resignations are a lie.”

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