The Great Resignation

During the year 2021, one of the phenomena observed in the United States that some experts predict will soon reach certain sectors of Mexican workers is the so-called “Great resignation” (The Great Resignation), which refers to the exodus of workers from different industry guys, who quit their jobs so far this year.

Part of this phenomenon is explained because once the employees who did work from home experienced a different use of time as a result of confinement. Amid the stress of uncertainty, many workers also balanced the pre-pandemic lifestyle, in which practically the use of time in a work day was destined to commute to their workplace, spend the day behind walls and go back home. Employees between the ages of 30 and 45 are the ones who presented the highest number of resignations from their jobs. These resignations were obviously not proportional according to the type of industry.

In the health and technology industries, it was where the highest number of resignations were observed, followed by industries that include business models in which it is assumed that the end customer has to be in a certain place and time to receive the product or service you are paying for, such as the restaurant, entertainment and travel industries.

These resignations have raised reflections in two ways: the first is one that involves rethinking the business model and adapting it to the new times. Such is the case, for example, of businesses such as supermarkets, which bet on the online shopping experience (which had already been offered before the pandemic, but which grew significantly as a result of it).

The places in the restaurant industry focused on experiences were the ones who struggled the most not only to keep the workers’ jobs, but to adapt to a business model in which they did not bet on the experience, but on the product. Some were able to survive the pandemic by making use of remote food sales.

The second way involves a reflection on the ways of consuming and the lifestyles of the workers. Hyperproductivity and office life have never been so shaken and also so questioned. Syndromes of exhaustion, stress and anxiety were already described as some of the coming epidemics before confinement. The lockdown showed employees that their current lifestyle was probably not making them any happier, or at least less stressed. And also, it most likely proved to some companies that the productivity of engaged employees is not determined by the hours they spend sitting at a desk in a seemingly controlled environment.

Today the health, technology and restaurant industries in the United States face the dilemma of being able to retain their employees by offering better working conditions. Some specialized publications are already offering alternatives and solutions to employers and employees on this issue. And among all the ills that the pandemic brought, probably this change in the mentality of the way of working can offer at least better living conditions to workers that before the pandemic, literally did not see the light of day.

Liliana Martínez Lomelí

Food and society columnist


Food and society columnist. Gastronaut, observant and foodie. She is a researcher in the sociology of food, and a nutritionist. She is president and founder of Funalid: Foundation for Food and Development.

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