Great resignation: Why is everyone quitting?

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Last December, global jobs portal Indeed shared the results of a survey it had commissioned, which found that 24 per cent of Singapore workers intended to quit their jobs in the first half of this year.

The survey of about 1,000 Singapore workers aged between 16 and 55 also revealed that nearly half were unsure if they'd stay in their current job for the next six months.

The Covid-19 pandemic was found to be a major factor in the respondents' decision to quit: 49 per cent of workers said it made them realise that they didn't like their job, with a substantial number citing increased stress levels, heavier workloads, burnout and isolation as reasons for their unhappiness.

"The Great Resignation", as it's been called, isn't unique to Singapore. Over the last couple of years, record numbers of people around the world have quit their jobs, with many questioning the role of work in their lives. Flexibility, better pay and benefits, mental well-being and work-life balance all topped the wish list for millions of employees.

"Our dissatisfaction with our work and work arrangements has always been there, but until now, we never really had the opportunity to address it," says Paul Heng, founder and managing director of Next Career Consulting Group.

"When we started working from home in 2020, we got to experience something different. Many of us finally achieved work-life balance, and found that we loved spending more time at home. We realised that we could still put food on the table without having to return to the nine-to-five grind. This new reality led many people to rethink their careers, and take control of their professional and personal lives," he explains.

Ready to quit your job or leave the workforce entirely? Paul shares what you should consider before resigning.

Ask why 

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Make two lists: "push" factors that exist in your current job or company, and "pull" factors, which are external factors influencing your decision to quit.

Go over the factors, discuss them with your friends and family, and resign only when you can honestly say that your reasons are objective and not emotionally driven.

Also ask yourself: "If this job/company isn't what I want, what do I want?" Your answer should be realistic and not idealistic.

If you're planning to take a more junior position or drop out of the labour force, make the same lists, focusing on practical factors like age and finances, and probability (how you can convince a hiring manager that you're sincere about wanting to achieve a better work-life balance, for example).

Network and upskill 

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If you're switching to a totally different job or industry, find out what you need to do to get your foot in the door.

You may have to learn new skills, make new connections or get some experience before you're even considered for a position.

Don't burn bridges 

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Even if you dislike your bosses or company, try to leave on good terms. Explain your decision to them, be firm and professional, and don't bow to efforts to change your mind.

Your bosses may take your resignation personally, but that's their problem, not yours.

ALSO READ: It's not me, it's you: 8 signs it's time to quit your job

This article was first published in Her World Online.