Generation resignation: how millennials are leaving the rat race to follow their dreams


Hint to hand over your notice this week? you’re not alone. Last week, the New York Times reported a record increase in workers leaving their positions voluntarily for new pastures, and a global survey of 30,000 workers by Microsoft found that 41 percent are considering leaving or changing businesses. “I quit” text messages between fed up employees and bad bosses have gone viral on Reddit forum antiwork, and #quitmyjob has garnered nearly 200 million views on TikTok. Economists are calling this wave of resignations the “Great Resignation”.

Traditionally, January is “See you again!” It’s time to say — There’s something about the powerful combination of too much time to think about Christmas and the crushing sadness of returning to the desk for the new year that drives people to their line manager’s office to resign. But leaving this time looks a bit different. COVID has been an unexpected catalyst: People are acting differently, reevaluating what they want – and realizing it’s not 9-9 at a shiny desk in town.

“In the past 18 months I have definitely seen more clients thinking about leaving their jobs,” says career coach Alice Stapleton. “And the interesting thing is that most of them don’t have other jobs to go to. The pandemic has forced people to re-evaluate their priorities, and many are overworked, undervalued and feeling burned out. Then add to the mix the fact that a lot of people managed to save money during the lockdown, or move back home to their parents, and suddenly the dream of quitting their jobs and working for themselves became a reality. At the start of the pandemic, there were fears of mass layoffs; now, it seems that many have voluntarily given up their roles to pursue something new.

And this millennium is leading the way. A survey by Employment Hero found that people aged 25-34 are most fed up with work, with 77 percent wanting to change their roles within the next year. Moreover, the free time afforded by the pandemic has apparently fueled an entrepreneurial streak among many young people, with government-backed start up loans between 25- to 40-year-olds accounting for 58 percent of the total applications this year. .

Desiree Asomuyide

Krisha Kotak, 30, from East London quit her job in PR in 2020 to start a loungewear brand Libra + Ty, “I did full banana roti and yoga work in lockdown but then I got bored,” she says. “I was trying to buy a good tracksuit for working from home and it was either durable designer clothes that were super expensive or fast fashion and really cheap – nothing in between.” In three months Kotak taught himself to build a website, harnessed family contacts who worked in clothing, and set up his own eco-friendly clothing label. “I had always struggled with 9-5 and now I love being able to get up at 10 or work until midnight if I want to.”

Desiree Asomuyide, 28, of east London, also had her lightbulb moment while pregnant during the pandemic. “Someone bought me some alphabet flashcards at my baby shower and not a single letter represented black or brown kids,” she says. “The craziness of 2020 got me thinking ‘If not now, then when?’ I quit my job as a fashion stylist and started my own brand small omo With £1,000 in savings. I wanted to create educational resources for children of all cultures and races. Orders have started pouring in and now I run the company full time and have hired an amazing team of women.”

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“I think the millennial generation is prioritizing their well-being like any other group,” Stapleton says. “Many people joined the workforce in the financial crisis and then dealt with the volatility of Brexit. The concept of a secure job for a lifetime, or saving for a house deposit is a far cry for many of them, so they are more willing to take risks. But it’s not just the YOLO generation that is calling it. Richard Masters, 48, of Stockwell, left a 26-year career in banking to be retrained as a psychotherapist. “For years I fell into the trap of thinking ‘I earn more, so I will spend more’,” he explains. “The pandemic made me realize that I want to simplify my life. I remember sitting at home, with my head in my hands, realizing that all I was really doing was helping the world’s super-wealthy down. I gave my notice the next day and enrolled in a part-time psychotherapy course. We sold our house and bought somewhere smaller, but I am happier than ever. ,

For some, the pandemic was a chance to rediscover old passions. Mabel Sorrentino, 30, an architect from West London, used his spare time to pick up on his childhood love of drawing. In April 2021, she gave her notice to do full-time illustration. “I still worry about paying the bills every month, but it’s a lot more exciting.”

Krishna Kotak

This mass departure is happening at all levels of work and across all industries – more than a quarter of the firms surveyed last month said staff shortages were affecting their ability to work, with some companies trying to attract recruiters. for signing bonuses of up to £10,000. , A study by the Harvey Nash Group found that eight out of 10 digital leaders report that after the pandemic, new life priorities among employees are making retention difficult. Yet only 38 percent of companies have redesigned their structures to make themselves attractive to employees in the new hybrid working world.

“Every organization I work with is facing this problem,” says consultant and former EMEA boss on Twitter. “The bosses can’t just say ‘I want everyone back in the office.’ I was consulting at a big bank the other day and a guy stood up, he was in his mid thirties, and said, ‘I’ve felt like the best thing I can ever do and still want to do my job’. I can give the kids a bath. Every night. I’m not going back to the way it was and if I can’t do it here I’ll go somewhere else’. We’re seeing a big change in the job market. Wages for decades has been stagnant and companies are demanding more, and offering less. Power has been in the hands of too many employers until recently. The pandemic has turned it on its head.”

mabel sorentino

So what should employers do to retain their employees? “I think companies are going to do a lot of soul searching in the coming months,” says Anne Orbach, founder of Flex: Reinventing Work for a Smarter, Happier Life and Starling Trend Agency. “We need a culture of comfort and a really flexible methodology. You can’t just say ‘here’s a load more shares or a load more money’, so people aren’t giving up. It gives people autonomy over their time. It’s about giving.”

So if you’re thinking of quitting, how can you make sure you’re not one of the 23 percent of people who regret leaving their previous job? Says Stapleton, “I recommend considering your clients for at least two months to make sure you don’t ‘push it’ or feed your ego.” are.” It is natural to have itchy feet. Try to investigate why your motivation is gone. Can you reshape your current role so you feel more fulfilled?”

But if you’ve made up your mind, there are ways to walk out with grace (and a good reference). “Don’t burn any bridges if that’s definitely what you want,” Stapleton says. “Give constructive feedback on why you want to move on. Complete the formal steps with humility and maturity. Then celebrate alone with your friends.” Not on Tiktok.