- Sana’s story of quitting her job is evidence that the Great Resignation is really a Great Reshuffle.
- She said quitting was “empowering” for millennials who had a rough start during the Great Recession.
- Her new job offers a shorter commute, a career bump, social interaction, and work-life balance.
Sana has spent most of her professional life in what she calls a “buyer’s market.”
“Employers knew they had multiple qualified candidates on the table,” Sana, 36, who said she preferred to go by her first name only for privacy reasons, told Insider. “Sometimes it would come down to a coin flip or pulling a name out of a hat because there were so many qualified individuals with limited jobs.”
But one pandemic and labor shortage later, Sana is taking advantage of what she said was a “seller’s market.” On average, 4 million Americans have been quitting their jobs every month since April as part of the Great Resignation, which has created a historic labor shortage in a market chock-full of opportunities. Millennials (along with the youngest Gen Xers) appear to be leading the way; an analysis by Harvard Business Review published in September found that resignation rates were highest among 30- to 45-year-old employees.
Workers are rethinking what happiness means to them in life and at work. It’s led many to seek greener pastures in a new job, making the Great Resignation more of what LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky has called a “Great Reshuffle.”
That was the case for Sana, who moved from a role in global food safety to a position as a director of food safety at another company. She said that quitting right now and reshuffling into a higher position is “empowering,” especially for a generation that had a rocky start in the job market.
“I made a choice for me and what I wanted — I took time to carve out my own core values and principles,” she added. She broke down the four reasons she’s glad she jumped ship.
A shorter commute
Sana lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her new job is more local, she said — only 10 minutes from her house. It’s a far cry from the travel that used to be part of her job.
“The pandemic showed me that flashy travel jobs look super great from the outside — until you’re in bed in a hotel with your laptop eating a Snickers bar for dinner at 11:45 p.m., shaking your head into alertness, cranking work out,” she said. “But we aren’t equipped with cranks. We are not robots, we are humans.”
Connection with coworkers
While some people have joined the Great Resignation to work remotely, Sana craved social interaction. She’s among the Americans who’ve said they want to return to the office some of the time mostly to see work friends but also to get face time with the boss.
She found that with an in-person team. “The last years have been so isolating that getting to know people in person sounds incredibly refreshing,” she said.
Climbing the career ladder
Like many young professionals, Sana started her career with various low-paying, experience-building jobs.
“In 2008 we started taking jobs that we were way overqualified for and learned how to be humble,” she said of her generation. “Now we finally feel the value we so desperately craved over a decade ago.”
She said she craved growth but didn’t negotiate salary or benefits because this buyer’s market had led to anxiety about feeling replaceable and needing to go above and beyond to avoid the chopping block.
She also said her recent switch meant a “bump up” in her career. She’s joined the many Americans who, possessing the knowledge that they now have the upper hand, have reshuffled into a more advanced position.
Adrienne Hunt, a Kentucky branch director at the staffing firm Robert Half, recently told Insider that quitting is low-risk right now. She said widespread vaccine access had helped companies return to prepandemic growth levels, creating so many jobs that workers feel confident leaving.
The Harvard Business Review analysis found a specific demand for midlevel workers like Sana, suggesting that employers may be less inclined to hire less-experienced workers. But unlike many Americans who were fed up with their jobs, Sana left when things were good, she said.
“I’m thankful that I felt empowered to create the change without waiting for things to deteriorate, which tends to be the driver for many,” she said.
A better work-life balance
Demand is high for jobs offering flexibility for various reasons: Workers need time for childcare, prefer a remote work environment, or feel overworked and burned out and want a less stressful job. Sana said her new role provided her a strong work-life balance, which she said she’d identified as a need before accepting the offer.
She’s also able to balance her job with a side hustle. She said that last year she became a real-estate broker in an effort to “pandemic-proof” herself as much as possible.
“My eggs are happily in multiple baskets,” she said.
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