One of my coworkers turned in his resignation this week and it was not because he already had a new job lined up. As a person who has been ‘down sized’ twice since 2015 and a person of a certain age, I can attest that it is far more difficult to be hired as an unemployed worker than one who is currently employed.
Me? I’m perfectly content to stay here and work through the issues facing us that include salaried position hiring freezes, hourly workforce depletion and few willing to hire on, poor delivery from suppliers and to our customers, low employee morale.
As difficult as 2020 and 2021 have been, quitting a job without acquiring another one seems rash to me.
According to a Harvard Business Review article entitled “Who Is Driving the Great Resignation?”; nearly 11 million US workers quit their jobs between January 1 and July 31, 2021. The biggest group to resign have been the 30- to 45-year-old demographic. Ironically, the 60- to 70-year-old group, that’s my demographic, are resigning slower than at historic rates.
Depending upon which survey you read, so far this year a whopping 26% to 40% of workers have resigned their current position and up to 55% are actively looking to make a job change.
At my employer, many of the hourly employees quit the job due to COVID19 imposed working conditions. As coworkers came in contact with infected people or showed the signs and symptoms of the virus they were forced to stay away from work for as long as 14 days per occurrence. As a result, there were fewer people to do the work of many. Employees were asked to perform work that was not theirs and the pressure and dissatisfaction of doing work that they didn’t want to perform resulted in many resignations.
Bottom line: higher workloads, hiring freezes and the pressures they brought on caused a larger than normal group to give up and quit.
In case you are wondering, yes, it is mainly the Millennial group that leads the way in the grass must be greener on the other side of the fence. This group is changing the way businesses recruit and attempt to retain good workers. They are making managements job difficult due to their constant need for something better, however, they are making our employment environments better with the employee friendly policies created to appease an ever more fickle workforce.
Like everyone else we’ve stepped up to the incentive plate for employees. Thank you for not quitting food catered in. Special parking spots for lucky lottery winners. Higher starting wages and retention bonuses for new hires. Free event tickets. Incentive bonuses for making quarterly shipping quotas. Etc.
Why did my coworker quit this week? Pride mostly. In January our boss announced that he would be retiring in early July. Both Bob and I expressed interest in replacing him. We were both discouraged from getting our hopes up. This would be a succession hire. The successful candidate would be groomed to take over for the Plant Manager when he retires at an unspecified date way down the road.
Bob and I were both in our late 50s at the time. Not prime candidates to take over the reigns when Bill leaves. Whenever that may be. I took the strong hint and didn’t apply for the job when it was posted. However, Bob did. Bob had two strikes against him: his age (the elephant in the room) and a lack of post high school education.
I have a master’s degree in management and would’ve qualified for the job based upon my degree and many years of management experience. But I took the hint. Why go where you are not wanted? At the same time the Customer Service Manager announced her retirement too. That is where I landed. They wanted me and the position is the highest in that department.
Bob was not granted an interview for our retired boss’s empty position. A slight that he took very hard and never really got over. He became disgruntled and it carried over to his attitude on the job.
Enter the new boss. Enter a person trying to establish themselves as the one in charge.
It has been our habit to allow vacation when employees ask for it whenever possible. Making shipping schedules has been difficult lately and the new boss sends out an edict. No vacations granted this week to help make schedule. Bob and one other supervisor go against this wish and grant vacations to employees that were planning to leave regardless of granted vacation. Both supervisors get reprimanded for not obeying the edict.
This is the last straw for Bob, and he turns in his resignation. With no job lined up. I could never do that. I turned 60 this summer and have no intentions to retire any time soon. My goal is 70 years old, with the possibility of perhaps 67 if the finances are in line.
I’m constantly getting email and phone calls from headhunters asking for my interest in open positions elsewhere, but I politely thank them for thinking of me and decline the opportunity to submit a resume or participate in an interview.
I find that the grass is rarely greener on the other side of the fence. The problems that we face here may not be at any new place, but I’m certain that everyone has their own unique problems. I’d rather deal with the monster that I know than adjust to an unknown and new monster somewhere else.
It is still unknown whether staying put while others around me are retiring or moving on to another employer is an act of stupidity or brilliance. Either way, I think it is the right thing for me to do. Come hell or high water. At the moment both hell and high water are plentiful.