The great resignation

Were you released from lockdown yesterday? Did you go out and celebrate?

I grabbed my regular takeaway coffee and some lunch for the youngest, but that was the extent of my excursions on #freedomday.

It felt pretty much the same as the past 106 days.

However, Facebook was filled with friends toasting the moment, while the eldest went out with friends until late and the youngest went to work then back to her dad’s place. My house fell silent and I felt a bit sigh.

So I kept myself busy by finishing some freelance work and trawling through my favourite social media channel, LinkedIn.

I started reading the recent McKinsey research conducted in five countries – Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States – that has found 40% of workers are likely to leave their jobs in the next three to six months. It’s been dubbed “The Great Resignation”.

Two-thirds of those workers said they would quit without another job lined up.


“If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that employees crave investment in the human aspects of work,” the report notes. “Employees are tired, and many are grieving. They want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. They want social and interpersonal connections with their colleagues and managers. They want to feel a sense of shared identity. Yes, they want pay, benefits, and perks, but more than that they want to feel valued by their organizations and managers. They want meaningful—though not necessarily in-person—interactions, not just transactions.”

I also stumbled across research conducted on behalf of SEEK that shows more than 60% of people have found themselves in a toxic workplace at some point in their career.

My heart goes out to anyone trapped in one. They must feel so nervous about returning to their workplace after lockdown. And they’ve probably been demoralised in their own homes for months via Microsoft teams.

Through the research, SEEK asked Australians what they thought the best indicators were that their workplace was toxic. Here are the top four signs people mentioned:

  1. Where employees are walking on eggshells (45%)
  2. Where there are cliques, gossip or rumours (44%)
  3. Where different employees receive different messages from leadership (44%)
  4. Where bullying has taken place and no action is taken when it is reported (41%)

SEEK’s Resident Psychologist Sabina Read says toxic workplaces also typically involve a lack of praise and positive feedback, avoidance, and even secrecy.

Sound like somewhere you’ve worked? Me too.

A toxic work environment can negatively impact mental health, self-confidence, job satisfaction, and even the ability to do your job well.

More than 80% of people reported that toxic work environments have a big impact on their mental health.

That’s pretty abysmal when we spend so much of our lives at work.

SEEK says if you’re dealing with could be bullying or harassment, there are places you can go to for more information and help:

Everyone has the right not to be bullied or harassed at work.

And hopefully The Great Resignation puts toxic managers on notice that their behaviour reflects poorly on both them and the organisations they represent.

As McKinsey notes, it requires leaders to pair empathy with the compassion—and determination—to act and change to provide the connectivity, and sense of unity and purpose that people crave.

I’m not sure toxic managers have that in them, so it will be interesting to see how their cards fall.

Song of the day: Crowded House “Mean to me”

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