The "Great Resignation" may have begun a couple of years ago, but it's continued as inflation outpaces salaries and return-to-office plans are put into effect across the country. In fact, according to a recent LinkedIn study, 70% of Gen Z and millennial Americans plan to leave their jobs in 2023. With that in mind, BuzzFeed and Reddit users alike have shared instances at their companies that caused people to resign en masse (and what happened after):
1. "I'm a teacher. I left my last school, along with 14 other colleagues, after our principal told us that if we didn't like how things were being run, then just to go ahead and leave because she wouldn't miss us."
2. "I spent 17 years with a distribution company. The owner was a fantastic man who became a good friend. After a stroke, he turned the company to his only son, who had never worked there a day in his life. During his first week on the job, he held a mandatory, all-employee meeting in which he told us that we were all paid too much and that pay cuts were coming. (He intended to shut down the company and reopen it under a new name to make it legal.) I told him there was no way anybody here was taking a pay cut, especially when we made a record-setting profit last year and were projected to do better this year. He dared us to quit and said we still made more than we were worth under his plan. You should have seen his face when every employee — from management to custodial — quit at that meeting."
"Sadly, he lost his dad's business in less than a week."
3. "Five years ago, my company underwent a reorganization — the brainchild of the CEO and corporate human resources manager. They gave pay cuts to hundreds of salaried managers, reduced them to hourly supervisors, shifted hourly workers into positions they hated, and removed any means of being promoted. On top of that, they failed to think about the consequences of these changes, leading to disruptions in work. They promised to hire more workers to deal with all of these new processes. Instead, they cut back on payroll. Over the next few years, hundreds of experienced employees left the company, and sales plummeted."
"The HR manager was eventually fired. Around the same time, the CEO 'retired.' Last year, they finally returned to the original organization, but the reorg created huge, lasting issues. It will probably be years before the company recovers."
4. "Our asshole boss got his apprentice drunk at a firm party and asked him, 'What do you think of me?' The poor guy answered, 'I don't like you much.' Our boss was already waiting for him the next day and fired him on the spot. The room was so silent that we all heard our team manager lay down his pen on his desk. He stopped working, and then the rest of us stood up and left. Our asshole boss called each of us, but we all told him the same thing: 'If you want us to work, bring that boy back and apologize.' He did after a week, but that was the beginning of the end. Over the next six months, everyone quit."
5. "I worked in a lumber yard. We had a good crew. We built every delivery load correctly and got them out on time. We also got along well and had each other's backs. Our manager was the senior delivery driver. Since he was out on deliveries half the time, they hired another guy from another lumber yard. On his first day, he gathered us up and promptly told us there would be no raises that year so they could pay his salary. He 'motivated' people with threats and profanity. Once he hired his buddy for my receiver job and expected me to take a pay cut and train him, I walked. Within a few weeks, everyone else walked, too. The yard's changed companies three times since then."
6. "I worked for a program where the morale was always low. They pushed us to reach 100% productivity in a field where our days were completely unpredictable; they didn't even want us to talk to each other. We all put up with it because we loved what we did and our clients. Then, our program director's best friend was killed. She was out for a month, and when she came back, the entire atmosphere got worse. All the best employees were suddenly being put on PIPs for little things that weren't their fault. People were scapegoated left and right, and performance expectations became stricter. Within about three months, 20 of the 33 staff members quit."
7. "As a freshly minted graduate, I got my 'dream job' at a start-up as part of a new team. We were all eager and green but quickly realized our CEO was slightly unhinged, idealistic, and a borderline cult leader. Then, our first paycheck didn't come through. We braved it for another week before the owner of our office building showed up; the rent hadn't been paid in three months. Our CEO climbed out of his office window to escape. After that, we all took off our work lanyards, left them on our desks, and walked."
"My team members and I never got paid for that month or so of work. When we brought the CEO to small claims court, he insisted we were all unpaid interns before skipping the country."
8. "I was an assistant manager at a store and found out my manager was stealing items, cash, and time. She would stash items in her bag, amend her time to look like she clocked in early, and give her husband — who had recently gotten out of prison for shoplifting and was banned from other store locations — the previous day's earnings to take to the bank, which would mysteriously turn up short. When I told the area manager and provided evidence from the CCTV, she said she'd open an investigation. Instead, she wanted in on it and told my manager. They plotted to get rid of the evidence and frame me by having my manager's husband shoplift only during my shifts. Once my manager's friend unknowingly spilled her plan, I walked out. When the rest of our 10-member team found out, two immediately left, and six quit within the month. The store closed six months later because it couldn't keep a staff on payroll."
9. "Years ago, I worked for a shady company with a misogynistic environment as part of an executive team that reported to the CEO. The team had been created solely to improve the company culture and employee retention. However, leadership would not heed any of our advice. It was a tech company that severely underpaid its employees and refused to use technology. Everything had to be printed out, including emails. Time-off requests had to be filled out by hand before being submitted first to your manager, then to your department's accountant — who had to calculate how much time off you accrued by hand — and lastly to HR. Then, HR would submit it to be signed by the CEO and the payroll department. Within six months of joining, the entire executive team quit. A year later, the company went from 120 to 70 employees."
"When COVID hit, things really got crazy. The company made employees jump through so many hoops to get WFH approval. I had already left, but several coworkers contacted me to be a reference. Almost everyone I hung out with left within a few months of our team quitting.
I know the company is still around, but I don't think they'll ever acknowledge that their stuffy C-suite and outdated management style are why they have such high employee turnover. It was very much a 'good ol' boys club.'"
10. "I worked at a media company for eight years as a producer managing big-name clients. When management rolled out a new app, producers were asked to 'convince' our existing clients to switch to the app and a new payment model. Of the four producers, I was the only one who convinced two of my clients to sign multi-million-dollar contracts. I even was honored at an all-hands meeting. Nevertheless, over the next two months, management began reassigning employees from our team to a team for the new app. I expected to be moved over, but instead, they laid off my entire team and me because the company was 'no longer using that model.' Over the next six months, there was a mass exodus of employees as they realized they were expendable."
"The best part was they ended up losing the two clients I signed because no one else there knew how to work their products, so they lost faith in the company. I laughed for days and now make double what I made there."
11. "I'm a stylist. Last year, there were six weeks when only my manager and I worked at the salon. She was there six days a week; I was there five days a week. We never once got a thank you for keeping the place going. Guests frequently yelled at us if we couldn't immediately get them in, to the point where I began having panic attacks whenever anyone asked if we had any openings. I won't even get into the struggle of enforcing the mask mandate or the salon offering sign-on bonuses to new stylists, but nothing for us. When my manager put in her two-week notice, the district leader told her to 'just leave' and that she would call me and another girl to 'run' stuff. All four of us walked out that day."
12. "They decided after six years it was time to do a drug test — even lost the CEO in that great idea."
13. "I worked at a paint store for years. During my last year, we hired a new manager who ended up stealing from the company, lying to customers, refusing to do his job, and leaving early without clocking out. However, the last straw was when he cornered me in the warehouse and screamed at me after I missed a day to be tested for liver disease. I reported him to HR, and they did nothing. The assistant manager, other WPS, and I left within a week."
14. "They laid off half the company with no warning. This included a gentleman who was less than a year from retirement and had been there for more than 35 years. The company was shocked when half the remaining people abandoned ship shortly thereafter."
15. "We were a California tech firm. Shorts, flip-flops, beers at lunch, and getting high on the roof were all rather common, but we were rapidly growing, and the atmosphere and location made us a hot ticket for talent. The company consistently outpaced competing firms and emerged as one of the industry-leading agencies. However, after the CFO and CMO cashed out, the CEO remodeled the company by making it far more corporate. He also implemented unattainable goals and removed our WFH policy. The final straw was removing our generous vacation policy and replacing it with 'unlimited vacation' — a facade for 'you can take as much vacation as you want if we approve it.' A quarter of the company quit and immediately landed better jobs."
16. "What I used to do involved about 40% client interaction, 20% team interaction, and 40% paperwork and case coordination. However, I was in healthcare, and only direct client contact could be billed to insurance. Based on that, only 40% of our time is technically billable, so logically, we were being paid on a salary model. One day, management decided to restructure how we were paid so we could only make money for billable time. A quarter of the department quit, two of us on the same day."
17. "The owner of the company was keeping the social security money taken from our paychecks. Yes, he was caught."
18. "I worked in the concessions stand at a baseball stadium. The minimum wage then was $5.15 per hour; this paid $8. One night, it was hectic — easily two to three times the normal volume of customers. We were all working our asses off handling multiple roles, each with no downtime. Though we cleaned as we worked, nobody could do thorough cleaning due to the never-ending horde. As usual, the manager showed up three hours late and threw a tantrum over the unswept floor. Finally, she announced, 'Listen up, you lazy fucks! Minimal work gets minimal pay. Everybody is being paid minimum wage tonight because you slobs won't clean up anything.' Both bartenders and the barback quit on the spot, causing a chain reaction. We all took off our aprons and hats to leave. She blocked the exit and was red in the face from screaming, so one of the cooks climbed out of one of the serving windows where we served customers. I did the same, and most staff followed."
19. "The owner died, and his idiot son took over. He decided that the company didn't make him enough money and started to implement 'cost-cutting' measures like turning off the A/C in the building."
20. "The owners of our restaurant were the greatest people. When they retired, they left the restaurant to their nephew, who was a busboy. He seemed okay until he got the power of being the owner. One Friday night, just before the dinner rush, he fired two of four cooks and two of three dishwashers because he 'didn't like their attitude.' Within a month, over half the staff had quit, usually by walking out in the middle of their shifts after being screamed at. They'd throw down their aprons and tell everyone they were sorry but couldn't do it anymore. Once the last cook — this big dude who kept the kitchen laughing and running at a decent pace — started crying and walked out in the middle of his shift after the boss yelled at him for being too slow and making 'slop,' the rest of us bailed with him. Four months later, the place closed. His aunt and uncle were furious and devastated."
21. "I used to work at a fast-food restaurant, and we had a terrible manager who hated many people working there. Everyone else hated him, too, but no one wanted to call him out on his shit and quit. I was the first to do it because I requested two weeks off in August — three months in advance. When August came around, he scheduled me off for the whole month except those two weeks. There was no way he could have misinterpreted my request. When I got my schedule, I stormed into the restaurant, called him out on everything, and then quit on the spot. About two weeks later, I heard five others had enough and quit, too."
22. "I worked as a line cook at a sports bar in a college town for a few years. Most employees attended school full-time, and it was the type of work where you'd ask for a raise, and managers would scoff and say, 'Yeah, me, too.' Our kitchen was tiny, so most people closed four to five days a week, with doubles on the weekends. One Super Bowl Sunday, a useless cook — who usually ducked out in the bathroom mid-shift — finally stopped showing. The managers then delegated closing to my pal, J. He told them he didn't want to be first in and last out since he was a full-time student. Well, the managers basically told him to go fuck himself and that they didn't have any more shifts for him. Immediately, another cook and I quit on the spot. They lost four cooks that Super Bowl Sunday and only had seven full-time students left on the schedule."
23. "I did landscape construction. The cheap-ass owner kept taking on bigger and bigger projects while never hiring more help. We were all overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious as hell. One of our foremen quit, and I followed suit a few days later. Two more guys quit the next day. That left the owner down to three guys for the obscene amount of work he wanted to do. Of course, everything got way behind schedule, but he was convinced it wasn't his fault. He went out of business less than a year later."
24. "The new owners hired me to replace the existing manager and gave me the impression he was moving on to another job. Four days in, I asked him where he was headed and if he was excited. He looked blankly at me and said, 'I'm not going anywhere. I'm just training you as the assistant manager, right?' The look I gave him must have been a great tip-off because he got up and walked into one of the new owners' offices. Within 30 seconds, they were screaming at each other. The existing manager stormed out of the office, grabbed his stuff, gave me the finger, and left. Over the next few days, I tried to calm things down with the other employees. They weren't faulting me, but the new owners left a terrible taste in their mouths. Over the next 10 days, my team shrank from 15 people to 3."
25. "I worked for a large IT company before the tech bubble burst. One day, our director and VP sat 200 of us down in our auditorium and said they were tired of complaints about things that should be changed and their management styles. The director said that if we didn't like it, there was the door because there was no way we'd leave such great jobs. Well, there was. About 50 people left within two months. Shortly after that, the director and VP were re-orged, given zero reports, and then gone after a round of layoffs."
26. "I worked at a fast-food chain, and one of the regional managers began running a store because they couldn't find new managers. This guy practically ran the place into the ground. Before he started, everyone liked working there, and it was a good environment. A few months later, a couple of people quit because of him. One day, I rolled in at 9 a.m. to open the store. He came out to my car as I parked — I was 15 minutes early and usually sat in my car until it was time — and said, 'Hey, I need you to start early because the three openers just quit on me.' We opened, and people from other stores came until the people for the next shift started. Later, I heard the full story. The regional manager is supposed to be at the store at 7 a.m., and the openers are to arrive 30 minutes later. This guy didn't show up until 8:30. When the openers — who'd been there for an hour unable to clock in — saw the regional manager roll in, they decided to quit."
27. "I worked at a data company where the guys in the sales department fucked around all day. They'd hang out in the parking lot, drinking beer and racing RC cars. When handling clients, they frequently gave away free accounts to 'retain' customers (and make their sales numbers look good). Somehow, they got away with it. Meanwhile, dozens of programmers worked tirelessly to integrate complicated data and make it accessible via the website. When upper management made the yearly holiday announcements, they revealed that they decided to send the entire sales team to Hawaii for an all-inclusive vacation. When the developers asked why it was only the sales team, the CEO said, 'Well, I mean, I guess we could ask the sales team to pick one person from each department who helped them the most this year and take them, too.' The programmers, engineers, and database people were livid and walked out in droves."
"Gee, I wonder why the company tanked."