As we head into 2022, we collectively look forward to a time when the pandemic is in full recovery, and we no longer have to mask up and keep our distance. We will certainly never forget the events over the past two years, including the effects that COVID had on us - personally, professionally, and economically. One trend that is just now catching up to us is the Great Resignation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in November 2021, nearly four million employees quit their jobs, which is the highest recorded "quits" in American history. The new high topples the previous record of 3.5 million in 2019. That begs the question, what is behind this mass workers' exodus?

What is Driving the Great Resignation?

No single factor is likely driving the Great Resignation, and the dissatisfaction that workers feel in their position probably started long before the pandemic hit. According to a Microsoft survey of 30,000 people, 41% considered either changing career paths or quitting altogether over the next six months, which means that the number of people calling it quits will grow as we head into 2022. 

When industries were forced to shut down, and people were sent home, they had time to consider other avenues to explore, like being a stay-at-home parent or finally realizing their dream of being a business owner. Being at home and being able to make do has many considering the prospect of finding another way to "make do" instead of just carrying on in their current position. 


When questioned why people resigned from their careers, the top response was that they were burned out, particularly in the foodservice/hospitality industry (54%) and the medical field (52%). Burnout is so prominent that the World Health Organization termed the rash of resignations an "occupational phenomenon" of relentless long-term stress. Common symptoms described included:

  • A feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Self-doubt
  • Feeling drained and tired 
  • Feeling trapped, defeated, and helpless
  • Procrastinating 
  • Having a negative outlook and being cynical
  • Feeling alone or detached 

Burnout can severely affect an employee's loyalty and commitment to their employer. And just one unhappy worker can tank the morale of an entire organization. Lastly, it can often have a domino effect when one person decides to hop ship.

Wanting to Work Remotely

Before COVID, not many people had had the opportunity to work remotely. Remote working, or a hybrid model, was already becoming a popular choice before industries were forced to shut down and send everyone home. The conditions of the pandemic only added fuel to the fire of remote-desirability. A whopping 40% of all workers changing positions indicated they did so to take advantage of working remotely. They believe that it provides a better work/life balance.

Being Mistreated

Workers also expressed that their decision to resign was partly due to being treated poorly by their employer. During the pandemic, companies with a favorable working culture treated their employees kindly. In contrast, those who did not have a healthy culture beforehand continued to create animosity by not caring for their employees. They focused on making changes to protect their organization instead of their workers and engaged in layoffs and other actions unfavorable to employees.

Poor Compensation

Many Americans felt the pinch of the rising cost of living and already being dissatisfied and unhappy, which only gave them more reason to look for better-paying opportunities. It is especially the case in the hospitality and foodservice industries, where workers reported that their top reason for switching positions was higher pay.

What's Next?

Most forecasters believe that the Great Resignation will likely last into 2023. Many of those leaving their positions will be considering a career transition, business start-ups, and other ventures. Many workers are finding that simply getting a new job is not solving their desire for change and a better work/life balance. 

They are looking for a fundamental change in the way they live, the amount of time they spend at work, and the place that employment has in their lives. Once workers turned a blind eye to their dissatisfaction at work because they believed they had no other options, the pandemic made us all feel vulnerable, and perspectives changed about life goals and what is important. 

With incomes becoming stagnant, job security becoming obsolete, and the costs of living and education continuing to rise, the allure of the nine-to-five grind does not make sense for many, especially in Generation Z and Millennials. They are already shifting to find a career more aligned with their passions.

Start by Asking Why You Want to Change Jobs

The key to figuring out your next move is to start by asking yourself why you are so unhappy. Employees who lack satisfaction in their position due to conditions like being underpaid, limited growth opportunities, a lack of meaning in what they do, poor management, and no work/life balance are quickly realizing that they want more than a paycheck. 

The Alternative to the 9-5 Grind: Franchise Business Ownership

For many, starting a new business is scary, and they are not wrong. New business start-ups have a high failure rate, especially in some industries. Franchising offers an alternative to the traditional new business start-up. A franchise has a proven track record of success and a road map to get there. Not only does it come with less risk, but it also comes with the groundwork done of marketing and building a brand. 

Franchises are not only more likely to make it through any economic condition; they come with support, guidance, and a playbook to follow. If you are ready to be one of the many million workers calling it quits to start down another path, then franchising is an excellent way to accumulate wealth, become your own boss, and find a more conducive work/life balance in your life. At Frannexus, we can help you find a new career path that will not only help you find the satisfaction you crave; it will give you the freedom to call the shots and be happier all around. Contact us today to begin finding your new lease on life!

Start exploring franchise ownership!