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What is the Great Resignation? Why So Many Quit & Where They're Going

February 17, 2022
What Is The Great Resignation

Do you daydream of quitting and walking out of your cubicle for the last time or, more likely, in today’s work-from-home environment, dramatically closing your laptop after quitting over Zoom?

You’re not alone.

More than 47 million Americans made their dreams a reality and quit their jobs in 2021 as part of what’s being called the “Great Resignation.”

As tempting as it may be to quit on the spot, most people plan for what they’ll do instead. Short of winning the lottery, what can you do to continue earning money? The Great Resignation is accelerating as more people embrace the gig economy or launch ecommerce stores from their homes.

So before you draft your resignation letter, let’s examine what you can learn, including:

What Is the Great Resignation?

In the spring of 2021, more and more Americans began leaving their jobs. The trend continued throughout 2021 and into the first part of 2022. Analysts and media started using the term the “Great Resignation” to describe the phenomenon.

People assume the Great Resignation is nothing more than media hype, but any HR manager could tell you otherwise. The numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are staggering.

The Great Resignation Statistics

  • More than four million people quit their jobs every month for the last five months of 2021.
  • Nearly 4.5 million people quit in November, an all-time high since the government started tracking resignation data.
  • In total, 47.4 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021.

Why Are So Many People Quitting Their Jobs?

The Great Resignation is the result of the perfect storm of societal and economic conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many workforce trends already in motion, such as the shift to remote work.

So while we can’t point to one reason why the Great Resignation is accelerating and people are quitting, we can identify some contributing factors.

Better Job Market

Not everyone who quits their job decides to start freelancing or selling homemade pottery online. Some of the people who resigned left to go to another job. Companies can’t fill vacancies fast enough, which makes it easier for job seekers to find better pay, benefits, and overall work fit as employers compete for candidates.

Related reading: Profitable Hobbies That Make Money >>

More Flexibility

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new flexibility into many workers’ schedules. As people balanced childcare, remote school, and working from home, Zoom meetings at odd times and quick updates over Teams replaced traditional eight-hour workdays at an office.

As vaccines became more widely available, companies started bringing workers back to the office. Many people didn’t want to give up their flexibility, so they quit to find a more flexible workplace or to work for themselves.

Burnout

The pandemic ushered in unprecedented work flexibility for some people and unparalleled stress for others. Frontline workers without the privilege of working from home faced challenging work conditions and an agitated public.

Hospitality, food service, and healthcare industries had the highest resignations and job openings throughout 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Goals or Priorities

Some workers decided now was the time to change their lives. The burnout experienced by frontline workers drove some of them to consider changing career fields or going to school for higher-paying jobs.

The unique combination of political, economic, and social turmoil from the last couple of years led some people to search for employers who were more aligned with their personal values.

Where Are People Going?

Just as the reasons people quit vary, their choices of what to do next depend on their circumstances.

People who quit their jobs as a part of the Great Resignation tend to:

  • Find Another Job. Finding a job is easier in this market. Some people leave for more lucrative jobs at a different company or in a different industry.
  • Return to School. People in demanding jobs with traditionally low wages are going back to school to retrain for new careers.
  • Freelance. Some people want to be their own boss and set their own schedule. The high number of job openings also creates a need for more contractors and freelancers. If you’ve ever thought about a freelance career, now is the time. If you’re a web developer, be sure to read our guide to becoming a freelance web developer.
  • Start Their Own Business. Did you develop any new hobbies during quarantine, like baking bread or making jewelry? Many people are turning their new or existing hobbies into online businesses.
Related reading: How To Open an Ecommerce Store in 11 Steps >>

How to Earn Income After Quitting Your Job

For people who want to opt out of traditional and more flexible work arrangements like freelancing, starting an ecommerce business is a great way to earn income. In addition to more people quitting their jobs in 2021, more people shopped online. Ecommerce grew more than 14 percent in 2021.

Ecommerce offers a distinct advantage when you’re looking to leave your job. You can start while still employed. Many employers discourage or won’t allow freelancing while you work full time. But running an ecommerce store is a viable side hustle.

You don’t even have to make your own products or even store them. With a dropshipping partner, you just need to create and market your website. The dropshipping partner handles fulfillment.

Related reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Dropshipping with WooCommerce >>

Getting Started With an Ecommerce Store

If you’re ready to take the leap and join the Great Resignation, the team at Nexcess is here to help build your new business. In addition to our web hosting services, we also offer one of the fastest and easiest ways to make a website to sell products.

With StoreBuilder by Nexcess, you just answer a few simple questions and the StoreBuilder engine does the rest. You’ll be ready to add products to your site in less than a day. 

StoreBuilder is a quick and affordable solution for building an ecommerce website. StoreBuilder uses WooCommerce, the most trusted ecommerce platform.

Before you try other platforms like Shopify, try StoreBuilder risk-free for 30 days. Sign up for an account today.

Lindsey Miller
Lindsey Miller

Lindsey Miller knows WordPress inside and out. She has been working with WordPress since 2010 when she started her first WordPress blog. Since then she has attended WordCamps all over the world and had the honor of speaking at many WordCamps and other WordPress events such as WooSesh and WordFest. She is currently the owner of Content Journey, a content marketing agency that focuses on increasing organic website traffic for their clients through SEO and blogging.