How to have a great Great Resignation

Written by: Marc Schultz
Published on: Jan 13, 2022

parachutist over mountains, trees

(Image: Dave Hoefler)

No matter your thoughts on the labor market shakeup we’re calling the Great Resignation, it’s clear that large swaths of the U.S. workforce are restless, weary, and seeking a better deal. If that describes you, you may be thinking the time is right to leave your job.

Before you do, it’s worth thinking hard about your priorities and having a serious talk with yourself (or a trusted peer) about your current position, including not only what isn’t working but what changes might make your role a better fit.

Here are a few points to consider, drawn from some of the latest advice columns for workers navigating the current labor market.

At The Conversation, employment law professor Elizabeth C. Tippett has a practical rundown of concerns to think through before deciding to leave, such as:

  • Unemployment insurance (not typically unavailable to those who resign)
  • Final paycheck considerations
  • Health coverage
  • Any pressing need for paid leave (such as a sick family member you may need to take care of) 

In that same vein, personal finance expert Suze Orman suggests you consider how long you expect to be out of a job, and gauge whether your finances will cover double that amount of time. In addition, she asks, “What’s your confidence level on an easy reentry more on your terms?” She suggests looking to your network and to job listings to “get a sense of whether there really are employees out there” that will deliver on your priorities.

On the other hand, The Washington Post suggests workers “might be in a position to mend or remake their roles from within,” an approach called “job crafting.” Ask yourself whether you have the option to:

  • Move to a different department or team
  • Take on more interesting work
  • Shift less-fulfilling responsibilities to others 

In addition, what could your employer offer to improve the role? Could more money, a promotion, or better benefits convince you to stay?

Fast Company suggests some simple techniques that may improve your current position, such as:

  • Learning to narrow your focus (as opposed to chronic multitasking)
  • Planning recreation or relaxation into your routine to “disconnect from the always-working mentality” 
  • Taking charge of your own professional development rather than relying on your employer for coaching and learning opportunities

And finally, Future Fundraising Now makes an empathetic case for leaving any position where you’re treated badly, but also for sticking with the purpose-driven sector: “For-profit jobs can be lousy too. And they lack the soul-sustaining element that brought you to nonprofits.” The catch? Any given organization (nonprofit or otherwise) may “need a push.”

That’s where you come in: Nonprofits need your talent and enthusiasm more than ever, but they also need your insight as an employee.

No one should sit silently while being overburdened and undervalued. But before you decide to resign, it may be worth letting your employers know what changes could make your job better. If they’re smart, they’ll be ready to work for you just as hard as you’ve been working for them.

If they aren’t, Work for Good is here to help you land safely on the other side of your great resignation. If you haven’t lately, check our coast-to-coast job listings, set up automated job alerts, and consult our collection of jobseeker resources and other career insight.

Marc Schultz is content editor at Work for Good.