The Great Resignation: Where did all the people go?

Millions of people are leaving their place of employment in the biggest job market movement in decades.

The phenomenon has been dubbed “The Great Resignation” by some economists and those leaving their jobs.

News Center 7’s Mike Campbell went looking for answers, first from the people that are walking away from their jobs with a particular attitude, one that says, “Take this Job and shove it”.

It’s sparked the Great Resignation and in 2021, it led to four million workers each month walking off their jobs.

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We’ve seen Dayton area companies with entire floors of empty offices and cubicles; Workers making their statements with their feet, walking off, walking away. They’re not willing to make it through one more day.

Gabby Moore from Kettering said, “I was just like, you guys just don’t care, I can’t do it anymore”.

Moore just left a food service job, one of the hardest hit industries, at a restaurant where she’d been working for seven years.

The Kettering woman worked at a well-known Mexican Restaurant chain

She said things started going downhill when the Covid pandemic began and it led to a spiral that never seemed to stop.

“It completely changed, it didn’t feel like anyone wanted to be there, even the people in charge,” said Moore.

Moore said that the pressure of Covid, those initial pay cuts, staff shortages and impatient customers led to what she believes was poor treatment of the workers who did show up.

She told us about a manager that lost it over a mistake she blamed Moore for.

Moore said, “She comes up screaming in my face, that mistake was on you, you can clock out and go home then.”

“It just escalated from there,” she said. “I have other people that would do your job, I said fine, let them do it, I left. I have a lot of jobs I could go do right now because I’m a great worker

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The reality is there are not many, if any workers to replace people that leave.

The organization Job Lists said in a recent Job Trends Report that four million people per month walked away from their jobs in 2021, 3 percent of the nation’s workforce each month.

U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics show there are 11 million job openings right now nationwide.

The “help wanted” signs are everywhere. Workers are looking for better situations.

Brittany Ouimette told us, “My mental health was more important”.

Ouimette was a preschool teacher that decided to walk away from her job. She wants less stress and more flexibility.

“There’s so many more ways to make money than a 9 to 5 job and that’s what my job is now,” she said.

Another woman, Dawn Werner, said, “I want to wake up with that natural, child-like wonder”.

Employment experts believe, that most workers, like Dawn Werner, have lost their fear of quitting their jobs or changing workplaces.

Werner walked away from a 20 year career in and changed to doing research for an airline consumer insight group.

Werner said, “The pandemic may have influenced it, in that it changed my mindset”.

There is so little fear among workers that a recent Job market trends report indicates that three out of four full-time employees are planning to quit their job this year, in 2022.

An amazing 79 percent of currently employed workers believe that they can make more by switching jobs than they would by staying put.

Aliza Benson is a worker that’s already in the middle of doing that.

She said, “I figured, why not take advantage of the opportunity and better ourselves, move the kids to a better environment”.

Benson quit her home health care aide’s job, moved in with her mom after her dad died and moved her kids from the city to the suburbs. She’s going to get a Masters degree and become a social worker.

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Benson said, “I think what attracts me to it is just the ability to be there for somebody”.

Employment experts studying the Great Resignation see workers wanting to be healthier, with better work-life balance, and be able to help others while helping themselves. Employees, like Moore, told me it is time for employers to take notice.

“I guess they feel that people are replaceable but that’s not the case anymore,” Moore said.

Moore now has a job now where she feels more valued and respected. She’s also considering doing what many other people are working on, that’s turning a side hustle into a permanent source of income.

“If you’re coming home super-stressed out or crying, just upset every day, it’s not worth it, there’s better stuff out there,” Moore said.

Job Trends reports show that a lot of people are getting right back on the job, in a new place. But other workers are taking their time, being a little picky about what happens next.

Tomorrow, in Part Two of the Great Resignation, we’re speaking with people about what employers need to know about getting people on the job and keeping them on the job.