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The Great Resignation: What to Know Before You Quit

The Great Resignation: What to Know Before You Quit

If you thought that companies with remote workers were immune from the Great Resignation, think again.

 Many business leaders and human resources pros report that remote workers are the largest pool of employees quitting, as many companies are requiring them to return to the office in the coming months.

Seeking a Career Shift

In April 2021, about 4 million people — or 2.7% of all U.S. workers — quit their jobs. That’s the highest resignation level in about 20 years, according to Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm. The Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary shows that the quitting trend is holding strong, with 3.9 million workers quitting their jobs in June. Hence, the creation of the terms “Great Resignation” and “Turnover Tsunami” by leading economists.

If you’ve stuck with your employer through the pandemic thus far but find yourself thinking about a career shift, you’re not alone. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, 41% of the global workforce are considering changing jobs in the next year and 46% are planning to make a major career shift.

Group of remote workers at The Haven coworking space in Bend, Oregon

Here are three things to consider before you quit, plus advice from a few members of The Haven.

1. It’s an employee’s market

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 10 million job openings in the U.S. at the end of June. Workers are in demand and companies are beefing up their incentives to attract talent. 

You’ve likely seen signs around town advertising a company’s signing or hiring bonus. If you’re considering a job that comes with a signing bonus, AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed.com, advises that you shop around. The size of hiring bonuses can vary greatly, even within the same industry. Konkel recently saw two nursing position job posts, one with a $100 signing bonus and the other with a $30,000 bonus. 

It literally pays to shop around.

In addition to pay increases and signing bonuses, companies are also dangling childcare stipends and flexible work structures and schedules to entice workers. If you’re eyeing a new role, it’s never been a better time to shoot your shot.

Woman laughs while working on her computer at The Haven coworking space in Bend Oregon

2. Renegotiate your current job

Maybe your company is rolling out its return to the office and you’d rather continue working remotely. Or maybe more PTO and other benefits are more important to you than a pay increase. If you enjoy your work but aren’t happy with a few circumstances, now’s the time to renegotiate your role and benefits with your current employer. 

“We frequently talk about our jobs in terms of title (e.g. doctor, lawyer, designer etc.) but it is more useful to think about our work in terms of day-to-day tasks,” says Haven member Annika Speer, PhD. Professor in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production at University of California Riverside. Before leaving a job, Dr. Speer recommends thinking about the types of work you enjoy.

A woman speaks to another member in a coworking space in Bend Oregon

“Is it working on a team? Is it intellectual or creative freedom? Is it being on your feet and out in the field, or behind a screen, alone, reading, writing, designing, editing? Thinking about what you want your practical work day to look like can help you make informed decisions about what the next position should entail.”

And maybe that next position is a newer version of your current role, a different position at your current company, or working from home. Build your ideal, practical work day and then talk to your supervisors to see what’s possible.

3. You're not alone

27 million Americans are in the midst of starting or running their own business, according to Findstack. If you dream of being your own boss, you’ll find company among the majority of entrepreneurs who say this is their biggest motivation for going out on their own.

The U.S. is considered the best country for aspiring entrepreneurs, so it’s no surprise that there are a plethora of free and paid online resources for current and aspiring freelancers and small business owners. Haven member Jenni Gritters is a business coach for freelancers and small business owners. She and her business partner Wudan Yan built a community for freelance creatives through their podcast, The Writers’ Co-op, and offer daily freelance tips to their more than 6,000 Twitter followers. 

Gritters and Yan recently spoke with NewsBreak Creators about how to build a successful freelance career. If you’re ready to make the leap into self-employment, start by asking yourself “What do I want?”. Gritters and Yan say this simultaneously simple and daunting question will help you “define your unique lane and potential clients, including those within your own network.”

A group of remote workers in a coworking space in Bend, Oregon

As of 2018, 1 in 28 Bend, Oregon residents are small business owners, entrepreneurs, or freelancers. Whether it’s in pursuit of remote work, or downsizing in order to strike a better work-life balance, we are sure to see those numbers grow. Not everyone is leaving their respective companies in search of full-time remote jobs. For many, it’s living a more fulfilled life.

For more tangible tips on how to launch your own business and join the growing community of freelancers, check out these resources:

Quit Like a Freelancer: How to Become a Freelancer & Grow as One

How to Make a Career Change in 2021


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