The phenomenon known as the “Great Resignation” has been ongoing for a couple of years and shows no signs of slowing down. With rising inflation and the implementation of return-to-office plans, a recent LinkedIn study reveals that 70% of Gen Z and millennial Americans are planning to leave their jobs in 2023. BuzzFeed and Reddit users have taken to sharing their own stories of mass resignations at their workplaces, shedding light on the reasons behind these decisions and the aftermath that followed.
One teacher recounted their experience of leaving their previous school along with 14 other colleagues. The catalyst for their departure was the principal’s dismissive attitude towards their concerns. When the principal stated that those who didn’t like how things were being run could simply leave, the teacher and their colleagues took her words to heart. The high turnover took the principal by surprise, as she underestimated the impact of not supporting or aiding employees.
In another instance, an employee who had spent 17 years at a distribution company described how the owner’s son took over the company after the owner suffered a stroke. On his first week in charge, the son called for a mandatory meeting where he announced upcoming pay cuts, claiming that employees were being overpaid. This decision was met with resistance, as the employees pointed out that the company had made record-setting profits the previous year. In a dramatic turn of events, every employee, from management to custodial staff, quit on the spot. Unfortunately, the son lost his father’s business within a week.
A company reorganization had devastating consequences for one individual’s workplace. The CEO and corporate human resources manager implemented changes that included pay cuts for salaried managers and the elimination of promotion opportunities. Additionally, they failed to consider the repercussions of these changes, resulting in disruptions in work processes. The company promised to hire more employees to handle the new workload but instead reduced payroll. As a result, numerous experienced employees left, and sales plummeted. The HR manager was eventually fired, and the CEO “retired,” but the company continues to face long-lasting issues and may take years to recover.
A toxic boss can quickly drive employees away. In one case, the boss got his apprentice drunk at a work party and asked him for his opinion. When the apprentice responded honestly, expressing his dislike for the boss, he was fired the next day. This triggered a chain of events that led to multiple resignations over the following six months. The boss eventually realized the severity of his actions and brought the apprentice back, but the damage had already been done.
At a lumber yard, a new hire immediately caused unrest by declaring that there would be no raises for the year so that his salary could be accommodated. He resorted to threats and profanity to motivate employees. When he hired his friend for a higher-paying position and expected the narrator to train him while taking a pay cut, the narrator decided to quit. Within weeks, everyone else followed suit. The yard has changed ownership multiple times since then.
Low morale and poor management decisions can also lead to mass resignations. One individual worked for a program where productivity was pushed to its limits, despite the unpredictable nature of the work. The program director’s absence following the death of her best friend resulted in a toxic work environment upon her return. Employees were unjustly put on performance improvement plans, scapegoated, and subjected to stricter performance expectations. Within a few months, 20 out of 33 staff members had quit.
A “dream job” at a start-up turned into a nightmare when the CEO proved to be unstable and a borderline cult leader. The first paycheck never arrived, and it was discovered that the rent hadn’t been paid in months. The CEO disappeared by climbing out of a window, leaving the team without pay. In response, the team members left their work lanyards on their desks and walked out. They never received payment for their work, and when they took the CEO to court, he claimed they were unpaid interns before fleeing the country.
A case of workplace theft and corruption led to a series of resignations. The assistant manager at a store discovered that their manager was stealing items, cash, and time. When the assistant manager reported the misconduct to the area manager, she found herself being framed instead. The area manager and the manager conspired to get rid of the evidence and frame the assistant manager for theft. However, when their plan was inadvertently revealed, the assistant manager walked out. The revelation caused two other team members to leave immediately, and six more quit within a month. The store eventually closed due to the inability to maintain a staff on payroll. Justice was served when evidence of the corruption was discovered during the store’s closure.
Lastly, a company with a misogynistic environment and outdated practices experienced a wave of resignations within its executive team. The team, which was created to improve company culture and employee retention, was met with resistance from leadership. The company underpaid its employees and refused to adopt modern technology, insisting on printing everything, including emails. The bureaucracy surrounding time-off requests was excessive, requiring multiple layers of approval. Within six months of the team’s formation, the entire executive team had left, and a year later, the company’s workforce had significantly reduced.
These stories shed light on the various reasons behind the “Great Resignation” and how workplace conditions, poor management decisions, and toxic environments can drive employees to seek better opportunities elsewhere. As inflation outpaces salaries and return-to-office plans are implemented, it is likely that more individuals will follow suit and leave their current jobs in search of greener pastures.