The “Great Resignation” has hit the U.S. workforce hard and Boston is no different.
Workers are leaving their jobs at a higher rate in the retail and hospitality industries, but people are quitting across the workforce for better pay, benefits, and career advancement.
Boston.com recently asked readers to share their experiences with how the Great Resignation has affected them.
Most of the 30 respondents to our survey shared that they left their jobs. Many mentioned the abundance of better pay and better-fitting opportunities in the market as a reason for leaving.
Others who have stayed with their employers have looked into the possibility of taking part in the “Big Quit.”
Recruiters and career coaches are also noticing the trend of departures and openings first hand.
“I am overwhelmed by the amount of requisitions that are open right now,” Lauren J. from Needham said in her response to our survey. Though Lauren said she hasn’t been affected, she has said that as a recruiter, “More employees are leaving for higher paying jobs or if they can work remotely throughout the country.”
Ahead we share a sampling of reader responses on why they quit or are considering the option during the Great Resignation.
(Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.)
Readers found better work and ‘a very big pay increase’
With job boards filled with openings, and help wanted signs on storefront windows, many have explored the market.
“I noticed there was an abundance of job opportunities available and decided to start applying,” one reader from Boston said. “One in particular happened to be a very big pay increase from what I previously made — I ended up getting the job and accepted it. It was hard to turn down!”
Robert from Saugus was pushed by the combination of frustration with his company, and the range of better opportunities elsewhere, to leave his former job as well.
“I grew tired of being treated poorly by supervisors who had no clue how to be my boss,” said Robert from Saugus. “I ended up in a new position that pays a substantially greater salary with a third of the headaches.”
“It has impacted me positively,” Ann from Sudbury said. “I work in software and my company wanted us to all go back to the office. It did not help that I was also paid very poorly for the work. Fortunately, there’s a huge demand for engineers and I was able to be picky during my job hunt and found a fully remote job that pays much better with more interesting work.”
“I was super burnt out in my former position and left to work in a related field for significantly more money,” Jane from Jamaica Plain said. When work turned remote in the pandemic, Jane’s former employer removed pay increases and matching 401K plans. Employees who quit weren’t replaced, adding to the workload. “There is so much opportunity out there currently. Workers are finally the ones with the power and we should all take this chance to actually get paid what we’re worth.”
Flexibility was a major driver for career changes
“I was cooking food for hospitals…and I felt pretty proud to do it,” Chris T. said of their work in Maine. Despite keeping work throughout the pandemic and a seasonal wage increase, the salary wasn’t sufficient, hours were unstable, and “unvaccinated employees would not wear masks.”
So Chris T. quit, moved to Boston, and now works for “food delivery apps.” The new Boston resident wrote, “[I]t’s not great money, candidly, but it puts food on my table. I can take two hours off during the day and walk my dog. I also enjoy being able to see new restaurants being a cook and snag something from somewhere I’ve delivered from.”
Elana Y. made a similar career shake-up to get a more flexible work schedule.
“I just quit my job as a physical therapist to work from home for a startup company,” the Methuen resident said. “I was looking for something without a commute and with more flexible hours.”
“I went out on maternity leave in February 2021 and the closer I got to my return date, the more I knew I just simply couldn’t,” Molly S. from Wellesley said. “With so much uncertainty and change in the world, I started to reflect on what I wanted out of life. And I knew I didn’t want to keep working in my HR role that I liked because I was good at it, but I didn’t feel fulfilled by it. I wanted to spend my time doing something I was good at, felt happy doing, and provided more flexibility given my growing family.”
Molly decided to quit and start her own small business. “I don’t regret it at all.”
‘Should I stay or should I go now?’
While many workers have taken part in the “Big Quit,” some remaining employees have been put in difficult situations taking on additional work, left to consider quitting as well.
“The high tech company I work for has lost a ton of talent. That has forced additional workload on those of us left, which makes us consider our options,” Jim V. in Groton said.
“Good and hardworking employees are quitting for remote work and more money,” a Boston.com reader from Peabody said. “I have been loyal to this company for 7 years, but I’m beginning to wonder if I’m a fool for remaining here. Will management ever get the hint and turn things around to save a potentially sinking ship? Should I stay or should I go now?”
“I work in the hotel industry and have been looking to get out for a while now,” Jora from Brighton, who has seen coworkers quit, said. “The treatment hospitality workers get from guests is bad at best and dangerous at worst, even at upscale properties. Pair that with understaffing, low pay, and lack of support from upper management, these jobs have become unbearable and unsustainable.”
A Boston.com reader at a healthcare facility who has watched coworkers leave and is contemplating quitting shared these thoughts about the prospect of a departure.
“Companies seem to care more about the new hires than the employees who actually worked through a pandemic,” the Boston.com reader said. “So I might as well quit and get a higher salary and better benefits somewhere else.”
“I work in retail and we have almost no employees at my store,” one Boston.com reader who has seen co-workers quit said. “This leaves the few of us left who are stuck dealing with the customers. I want to quit so badly but this is pretty much how the workplace is these days so why bother. The devil you know.”
“For years I’ve worked in retail environments that left me feeling stifled and unfulfilled,” Josh from Ashland said. “I know I deserve better than that, so yesterday I left my job to put energy into what I’ve put on the back-burner for far too long.”
Joan from Boston may have put it best. “Until we start paying people a living wage and creating a safe environment to work, people will continue to leave those employers to seek other areas of work.”