For months, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has been reporting record-high numbers of Americans quitting their jobs. In November alone, a whopping 4.5 million people left their work.
So as the Great Resignation rages on, we asked people to share why they decided to quit their jobs. Here were some of the most compelling responses:
1. "During the pandemic, I got a job in an office that paid minimum wage and had me waiting on a bunch of rich people hand and foot. The low pay and the poor treatment I received pushed me out of my job. I quit and found a new position in the same company and will be starting very soon."
2. "After months of being unhappy at work, I decided I had enough when I saw my boss talking shit about me on Slack. We were on a Zoom call, and my boss unknowingly messaged me and someone else about me. She later corrected herself but never apologized. I immediately reported her to HR and put my two weeks in."
3. "I worked in higher education. Many benefits were being eliminated, and the stagnant, low salary meant unhappy and burned-out university staff. Many of us left to pursue opportunities at for-profit businesses and are much happier. We loved our students and our work at the college, but we ultimately needed to do what was best for us."
4. "I got a horrible restaurant job during the pandemic. They didn't tell us we were allowed breaks, they only trained us for two shifts, they knew about mold in the kitchen and didn't do anything about it, there were regular instances of sexual harassment in the workplace, and the manager didn't tell us our schedule until the night before sometimes."
5. "I graduated from college and began my career in healthcare during the pandemic. I was not prepared for the complete lack of respect people have for healthcare workers. So many people throw a fit when they don't get their way, and they don't understand that we are doing the best we can despite staff shortages and limited supplies."
"I thought I would be passionate about healthcare forever, but the light went out when I realized employers and the government don't care about our safety and well-being during a pandemic. They would rather have us come to work while sick than hire more employees. I'm sick and tired of making $15 an hour just to contract COVID at work and have to deal with people's temper tantrums."
6. "When COVID hit, my company laid off 60% of the organization, including all seven of my direct reports, whose jobs I then absorbed. The company also cut our salaries in half, stopped covering healthcare costs, and ceased all other benefits, like the 401(k). In March 2021, I finally got a job in another industry where I get a higher salary and more vacation days."
7. "I was working at a private school, making $50,000 a year. In the 2020–21 school year, I taught hybrid all year and was given the least amount of plan time in my whole career. I left and went to the local public school, and my salary increased by more than 50%, with three times as much plan time and shorter hours overall."
8. "I quit my job as a claims clerk after one week. One day at work, my child’s school called and my trainer begrudgingly let me answer the call. My trainer went and told my manager that I was 'spending excessive amounts of time' on my phone, which I wasn’t. I quit the following day."
"My trainer exaggerated the situation to my boss, and I knew immediately that this place didn't have the right culture for me."
9. "I was working in HR and found out that my direct peers with similar experience were being compensated $20,000–$30,000 MORE than me. I knew my worth, and when I said I was leaving, I was offered a management role. They said, 'Maybe we can increase your pay,' which was a total slap in the face."
10. "I am a full-time medical student and teach children's dance classes part time. When I told my boss I was sick with COVID and couldn’t teach the following week, she asked if I could at least teach the afternoon class. When I told her I have to isolate for 10 days, she said to have one of the kids teach class while I monitor, because 'We really can’t afford to cancel a class.' Imagine a 5-year-old teaching a ballet dance class."
11. "I worked as an educator for the Smithsonian Institution for several years. I loved my job, but my list of responsibilities and duties kept growing as people left and weren't replaced. I didn't get a pay raise, promotion, or even a pat on the back."
"My 'fuck it' moment was when I was asked to apply for a grant that would fund a new children's educational series. I was assured they would hire another person, but when I was awarded the grant, they said there would be no new hires.
"After that, I applied to a new company and received an offer that was DOUBLE my yearly Smithsonian salary."
12. "I was a first-grade teacher. I worked at a low-income school for seven years, where I was underpaid and overworked. I loved the kids and the staff, but we were constantly verbally abused by parents during the pandemic."
"Doing it for the kids was not enough when I wasn't being treated with basic human respect. I now work as an administrative assistant and have been told repeatedly by family and friends that they have never seen me this happy."
13. "My boss tripled my workload this year — I worked 12 hours a day for two months straight without a break or day off. I did the math, and all the extra work I did was easily worth $10,000. Come bonus time, my boss hands me $500. It was at that moment that I knew my boss was full of shit and didn't appreciate anything I did."
14. "I was a social worker who traveled to clients' homes. When WFH started, caseloads increased because 'There's no travel time.' The breaking point was when they expected us to maintain the higher workload and also go back to clients' homes, which added at least 12–15 hours a week of commute time."
"This was all without proper PPE, and no additional support if we were exposed to COVID. I was sad to leave my clients, but it was no longer safe."
15. "I was working as a teacher in Washington, DC, until today. Despite the huge increase in COVID cases and pediatric hospitalizations, the district is forcing all the schools to go back in person."
"Also, most of my coworkers refuse to get vaccinated, and there are no consequences or repercussions despite the vaccine mandate for teachers. Oh, and the district gave each staff member a single KN95 mask for the ENTIRE spring."
16. "I burned out pretty quickly while working in a COVID frontline diagnostic lab. We got zero support from upper management and subpar pay and benefits compared with other lab jobs in the area."
17. "I had been working as a diet tech in an inpatient eating disorder facility for two years. What drove me to quit was the fact that management never recognized the extra miles I went for patients, but ALWAYS took time to tell me when I messed up. I couldn't not be appreciated anymore."
18. "I quit my job in August because I wanted to be remote permanently. I had a baby during the pandemic and could not imagine going back to the commute. My company was pretty disrespectful when I requested to be considered for permanent remote status, even though they would lose literally nothing. I was doing my job with greater efficiency, and I wouldn’t use their office space, which they were running out of. I explained this to them and they did not care."
"I did a couple of quick searches on LinkedIn and had interviews lined up. Within a couple of weeks, I had an offer for a fully remote position, with equal benefits and a higher salary. I'm not overworked, and I’m being treated with the dignity and respect I deserve."
19. "I resigned from my job as a mental health therapist and clinic administrator during the Great Resignation. After 18 months of pandemic therapy with no end in sight, I was exhausted — mentally and physically. My agency paid as well as not-for-profits can, but everyone was so concerned about how the clients were doing that they failed to consider how the staff was doing."
20. "My boss was always a bit of a micromanager, but when we all went WFH, it went into overdrive because she couldn't monitor us in the office. I was a project manager, and I started having to account for my entire team's time down to 15-minute increments. I went from a team lead to a team babysitter. I had to leave."
"I found a job in my field without the management aspect, and even though it was technically a lower position, it was worth it not to have to babysit."
21. "I was working at a grocery store, and I couldn't get the hours I needed to survive even after changing my availability and doing a shift I hated. I realized I would never get the hours I needed, nor could I physically do the number of hours I needed at that pay. I quit without another job lined up but quickly found a full-time job that's less physically demanding."
22. "I had a baby in February 2021. I never returned to my job after my maternity leave was up. My baby was born with a heart condition, and we decided there was no way we could leave him at daycare, where he could easily be exposed to COVID. Instead, I got a job working from home and making my own hours. It was a pay cut, but I have no regrets."
23. "I worked in supply chain management for an automotive manufacturer. Between the overseas shipping issues, the workforce refusing to get vaccinated, and people quitting and not being replaced, my anxiety was through the roof. I was stressed to the point of sickness every day. So when I saw a new position open in a different industry, I jumped at it and luckily got the job. I feel like a whole new person now."
24. "I quit my job of two and a half years. When the pandemic hit, we started a hybrid work schedule. I found out my coworkers had been rifling through my desk when I was not in the office. None of my coworkers took mask mandates or social distancing seriously. My breaking point was when I had a panic attack at my desk. I just packed up, left my key on the counter, and walked out. I was tired of being treated like a workhorse with no consideration for my mental health or well-being."
25. "At the height of the pandemic, my boss made everyone come back in so she could 'check up on us.' We were forced to sit in separate rooms, Zoom each other if we needed to talk, and coordinate bathroom breaks. When I put in my two weeks, my boss was so mad at me that she didn’t speak to me once the entire time."
26. "I work at a popular tourist attraction in my city, and I just became so worn down with people constantly yelling at me when I communicated the mask and vaccination requirements. The final straw was when I absolutely snapped at someone who yelled at me because they didn't have a mask and didn't want to pay $1 for one."
27. "I was promised a raise and a promotion. After six months without either, I got an email stating the company is instituting a hiring, promoting, and raise freeze. The final straw for me was when our COO (who was working from home) emailed us that the raging snowstorm outside would end by 11 p.m. and we should have no issues getting into work the next day. I decided to get myself home safely right then and there and informed them I would not be coming back."
28. "I’m an attorney, and I was working for an insurance defense firm, which had a minimum billable hours requirement. Not only would they ask me DAILY why I wasn’t meeting the requirements (even though I explained why and asked for help), but they’d also make us attend mandatory trainings that didn’t count toward billable hours. Between that and an unaccommodating boss, I literally couldn’t take it anymore."
29. "I worked in a shop where we pretty much were by ourselves all the time — running the store, making drinks and food, and cleaning the place. And I was only making $8 an hour."
30. "I had worked at a shoe store for a while. I was a student working part time, but my bosses kept scheduling me full-time hours without benefits or PTO. When I confronted them about it, they said, 'We need people to work and you are people.'"
31. "I had worked in a hair salon for a year. One day my boss called me to her office to tell me a secret: A stylist tested positive for COVID-19. She insisted that we not inform the clients who had been exposed because it would be 'bad for business.' I quit on the spot."
32. "I was a receptionist at a physical therapy office for a long time. I know and love the therapists there, but my manager always talked down to me. When I had to skip work due to my miscarriage, she threatened to fire me. I quit that week because I was tired of being treated this way."
33. And lastly, "I was a pastor for 11 years and was starting to feel burned out and disenfranchised. When the pandemic hit, I had to deal with awful people and I couldn't take the stress any longer. I resigned and found a job at a nursing home, which I hated too. I quit that job as well and now have a job as a hospice chaplain. It's been great so far — fulfilling and meaningful."
Have your own Great Resignation story? Share it in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.