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What “Big Resignation” Means for New Workers

The first time we heard the term the “big quit” took place in the fall of 2021 – although the concept itself is not new – when a large wave of workers began leaving their jobs with no specific alternative plan. Many analysts have attempted to interpret this move by blaming COVID-19 for the behavior of a large percentage of the active work force.. In my opinion, they are partially right.

It is true, in fact, that the The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a sense of futility to many people. This includes students who have lost two or more years of social college life, causing many to question their previous life and career choices.

Is this the job I dreamed of? Is the work environment as friendly as I thought? Is there space for career advancement? Can I succeed and have a healthy and happy personal life?

These are some of the questions that the carpe diem attitude has raised in me, and I’m sure many other workers have also considered them. Each person tried to give the best possible answers, and for some that meant quitting their current job, looking for a new job, or taking time off.

The Great Resignation continues to interest all parties involved in the country’s economy, and it has not been shown to slow down. This is particularly evident in occupations in the tourism industry, which include seasonal workers in hotels, restaurants and cruise ships.. In this industry, there are not enough workers to fill these positions. What makes these workers so hesitant to offer their work? I feel like there is no one answer to this question.

In most cases, the reasons preventing workers from accepting these positions are the same as those who kicked them out of their previous jobs – low pay, no advancement, a toxic work environment, long hours and no recognition.

In addition to all these reasons, Deloitte’s “Women @ Work 2022: A Global Outlook” report adds a new perspective with regard to women workers, by evoking the “burnout” factor at work. Forty percent of women actively looking for a new job cite burnout as the reason.

Another factor mentioned by the report is stress, with 53% female workers indicating that their stress level is higher than it was the previous year.

Moreover, one of the most interesting facts revealed by this report is the perspective of female workers on a hybrid work environment. Almost 60% women think this new working model excludes them from important business meetings and nearly half think it makes them unable to connect with executives, both of whom are crucial for their career advancement.

As a student myself, the future both makes me nervous and fascinates me. Some employers try to improve the working conditions of their employeesbut still, years after the start of the pandemic, the Great Resignation works.

It may be time for the government to step in to strengthen the institutions that guarantee adequate labor standards for all workers, regardless of sector. Maybe it’s time for a “world basic income” legislate so that people can maintain a standard of living no matter what their mode of employment offers them.

These changes will give everyone the freedom to reject a job that does not suit them or makes them miserable, hopefully avoiding phenomena such as the Great Resignation.

These phenomena are an excellent opportunity for us, the students who will enter the global labor market in the near future, to observe, analyze and interpret the changes that are rapidly occurring in the world. More importantly, they allow us to be as prepared as possible in order to raise our voices against the injustice that makes the people around us sadly employed.

When it comes to the Great Resignation, Berkeley’s tradition of standing up for what is right gives us a duty to reconsider our behavior as professionals and colleagues.

How friendly are we really with our new colleague? Do we help them adapt or do we wait to see them fail, seeking their own advancement?

The answers to these questions could reveal a toxic work environment, partly justifying the wave of resignations and therefore the Great Resignation.

Besides self-criticism, we must also promote the regulation of labor standards that provide a safety net for workers, alleviating the state of continual anxiety and frustration that led to the Great Resignation. For instance, in April, a big step was taken in this direction when Amazon workers voted to join a union.

More than that, we must listen to what the creators of wealth – the working class – have to say and support their cause with passion. After all, we will soon face the same challenges.

Our generation must learn to adapt to phenomena like the Great Resignation and fight for a viable future professional life.

Berkeley’s culture of standing up for what is right gives me hope that we current UC Berkeley students will continue to strive to keep this tradition alive and promote it even more.

Alexis-Aimilios Mitropoulos is a law student at UC Berkeley in Greece.