Don’t Quit Your Job Because Everyone Else Is Following The ‘Great Resignation' Trend

The current conversation over the “Great Resignation” could be harmful to your career. Professor Anthony Klotz coined the term, saying that people were hunkering down in their jobs during the pandemic—even if they hated their boss—and were patiently waiting for the tides to turn. Once the economy improved, Klotz predicted a massive trend toward people quitting their jobs to find new and better ones.

The concept seems straightforward. During the outbreak, it was reasonable for employed people to stay put. When approached with a job opportunity, I've heard all too many candidates say, “Jack, thanks, but not now. I’m going to stay put. Feel free to hit me up when things get better.” As millions of Americans were out of work, people were afraid to take a chance. They didn't want to be the last one hired and first one fired, if circumstances deteriorated.

Now that Americans have received their vaccinations, states reopened and it feels that we’re back to some sort of normalcy, we’re seeing an increase in job seekers. When a person enters the job market after giving it much thought and due deliberation, it is a reasonable decision.

The problem is that the media is aggressively touting the idea of quitting your job. A quick search of the term the “Great Resignation” on Google shows thousands of articles about the topic. There are plenty of good reasons to leave a job, but if your boss looked at you funny, it's not one of them.

The advice espoused by presumably well-meaning people could turn out to be irresponsible and harmful. A survey of only 649 workers conducted by a large job site cited that 95% of workers are now considering changing jobs, garnering a lot of press. The job board, which relies upon ad revenue from companies posting jobs to attract candidates, is running an aggressive campaign on Twitter, not-so-subtly encouraging people to quit.

When you quit a job without a new job in hand, you place yourself in a precarious position. You might feel good for a few days. Caught up in the temporary euphoria, you’ll brag to your buddies how you flipped off your boss and stormed out. There’s a brief feeling of smug satisfaction that quickly dissipates.

You now have to start searching for a new job. Invariably, the interviewer will ask why you left your last employer. Saying that your boss was a jerk doesn’t cut it. Without rational reasons, you’ll come across as impulsive and lacking judgement. The hiring manager will think that you’ll leave her too and also talk trash about her to the next potential employer. It's not worth the risk for them to hire you.

The job search can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to over six months. You’d be better off hanging tight in your role instead of being left out in the cold. Managers will wonder why you’ve been in between jobs and think the worst.

Without a job, you lose a little self-confidence. This shows up in the interview—no matter how hard you try to camouflage it. Your inner voice will scold you for being so impetuous. The interviewer will sense your unease and move onto the next applicant.

When it comes time for negotiations, you won't have a job to use for leverage. When currently employed, you can say that your boss will offer a strong counteroffer to keep you. Absent of a job, you're likely to accept the first offer—even if it's far below where you were last—just to get back to work. The new job may not meet your exceptions. Now, you’re stuck and unhappy. You bide your time until it feels reasonable to leave.

When you interview, you’ll be interrogated about the jumpiness of your movements. They’ll dig deep into the reasons for each departure. You can only make so many excuses until the company realizes it's most likely you and not everyone else. It may take years to get back on track.

Capriciously, leaving a job is a huge decision that could have serious repercussions for years to come. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should too.

Before you tender your resignation, you need to do the following:

Make a checklist of all of the reasons as to why you want to leave. Then, analyze each one of the points to ensure you are looking at this decision in a clear and thoughtful manner. All too often, this type of decision is made in the heat of the moment, based on a burst of passion. Your career is too important to make such a big decision without a good deal of contemplation of all the facts and consequences.

Speak privately with co-workers to see if you are the only one feeling this way or is everyone else also going through a rough time. Bounce the idea off of family and friends to gain their insights. Contact recruiters who are active in your space to find out the temperature of the job market. If there aren’t too many jobs in your field at the time, it may make sense to wait it out. Recruiters could have relevant opportunities for you. Consider having preliminary conversations with companies to test the waters. Find a career coach and résumé writer to start preparing you for the interview process. Update your LinkedIn profile and subtly start getting yourself noticed on the platform. See if you attract human resources and hiring personnel from companies offering interesting opportunities.

Have a conversation with your boss, even if it's awkward. Be honest with her. Explain the reasons in a calm and rational manner as to why you don’t feel that you belong at the organization. Avoid attacking your supervisor or coming across as a surly malcontent. It's not easy to do, but try to articulate what you feel could be done to positively alter your experience.

The answers from your manager will be a major part of the deciding factor. They may not have known you felt this way. It could turn out that the boss has big plans for you. You could use this conversation to straighten out misconceptions on both sides. The talk could be the best thing to happen, as the air is cleared and you feel much better about your current role and see a future within the company.

Be prepared, it could also go the other way. Everything your manager says might confirm what you felt. It would be unfortunate, but at least you’ll know that you’re not appreciated and don’t have a long-term future with the company. Even if this is the case, don’t abruptly quit.

The best plan of action is to keep doing your job. Don’t make waves, cause problems or share your dissatisfaction with anyone else. To the office, you’re the ideal employee. Everything is fine and dandy. While you’re keeping up a brave front, acting the part of a model employee, keep searching for a new job. There will be less pressure, as you have a job and money coming in. If you bomb out in an interview, it won’t be devastating, as you still have a job to return to. You can be more selective, as you don't have the pressure of needing a job right away. You’ll interview better without the constant anxiety associated with being in between roles, along with a little guilt thrown in for having quit without another position lined up.