The Great Resignation

What is the Great Resignation?

People quitting their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic

When people talk about the Great Resignation, they're discussing the trend of workers quitting their jobs during the covid pandemic. These workers may be moving on to similar-yet-new jobs, changing career paths, or dropping out of the workforce entirely.

What drove the Great Resignation?

A lot of things, really. For one thing, the pandemic caused many workers to value themselves and their time more. So, workers who were being treated poorly at their jobs or felt underpaid chose to quit.

The pandemic also caused many workers' jobs to get more stressful (e.g. food service workers dealing with increasingly unruly customers; healthcare workers dealing with constantly full hospitals). Many of these burnt-out employees also quit.

For these and a host of other reasons, including the increasing prevalence of WFH and WFA positions, a record number of workers quit their jobs in 2021. In April 2021 alone, four million Americans quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Where does the name Great Resignation come from?

The Great Resignation is a play on the Great Depression - the name for the worst economic downturn the industrialized world has experienced. Texas A&M professor Anthony Klotz is credited with coining the name Great Resignation, in May 2021. The Great Resignation is also sometimes called the Big Quit.


Yeah, I quit during the Great Resignation. My workplace felt very unsafe; money wasn't worth my life
One Twitter user's thoughts on the Great Resignation
One Twitter user's thoughts on the Great Resignation

Related Slang


Updated November 4, 2021

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