“The Great Resignation Is Coming,” Said Professor Anthony Klotz
In May 2021, Professor Anthony Klotz told the above in his interview with Arianne Cohen of Bloomberg Businessweek. We may start seeing more people leaving their jobs after the COVID-19 pandemic. In times of uncertainty like this, it is common to maintain the status quo. As a result, there expect to be “pent-up” resignations over the past year. Additionally, this pandemic must have brought us to a new normal. Today, many of us work from home. We spend more time with family and probably start feeling life and death closer to our lives.
The question is, do we still want to go back to the old normal – where we used to work at office from 9 to 5, commute on crowded public transport, and repeat this throughout the week or even life? As Professor Anthony predicts, many of us might feel like moving on to a new opportunity that could satisfy us more.
Why Do We Feel Old Normal Is Abnormal?
In pre-COVID-19 years, it was so normal to work at office from 9 to 5 that most of you would never even bother to think of working from home. But if you needed to start commuting again every day from the next week, how would you feel? Many of you might feel dissatisfied. Some of you might even try negotiating with your boss.
Jonny Thomson, who teaches philosophy in Oxford, gives a good explanation for this symptom in his article, “The Great Resignation: COVID revealed how abnormal the modern workplace is.” He cites the concept of “normalization” used by a French philosopher, Michel Foucault. Foucault argued that we always try to be “normal”, just like everyone else around us. What makes us try to be normal is “normalizing power,” that many of us are unaware of and unconsciously unhappy about.
Jonny applies this concept to our workplace. We used to accept the pre-COVID-19 workplace as normal by “normalizing power.” However, the COVID-19 pandemic made us realize how artificial, unnecessary, and abnormal the previous workplace was. In simple words, many of us were actually unhappy about our previous life-work balance.
Is the Great Resignation Mere a Tentative Prediction? – Maybe Not.
A Microsoft’s survey, 2021 Work Trend Index, released in March 2021, shows that over 40 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employer this year. Other report also shows a considerable amount of workforce are looking to change role in the next 6 to 12 months or once the economy has strengthened. In April, some 4 million people left their jobs in the U.S. according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So, it is a biggie, isn’t it? And this could explain why companies are giving away bonuses, costing themselves millions of dollars. Let’s take a look at what big techs are doing. Microsoft is giving $1,500 to many of its employees, costing itself $200 million. Amazon spends more than $500 million for workers, giving them bonuses ranging from $150 to $500. Facebook employees are receiving $1,000 bonuses, costing Facebook $45 million.