The Great Resignation should be renamed ‘The Great Emancipation

According to major headlines, companies are facing the biggest crisis since the 2008 recession. With the tightest labor market in decades, there is one major difference, it’s the companies that are competing for people instead of people competing for jobs. No one ever suspected this would happen. People got thinking and developed a taste for a new way of life.

Startling numbers have left their jobs since the pandemic hit. Forsaking security for new adventures in self-discovery and re-evaluating their lifestyle. Some found better pay, others freedom and better work/life balance, and many, such as myself, have left the city.

The numbers alone have put into question the status quo of modern employment. ‘The Great Resignation’ has become the economic buzzword of the pandemic.

Certain aspects of life which we took for granted as a necessary evil in pre-pandemic times have been exposed as futile. There are pros and cons to remote working, and what works for one person will not necessarily be the best solution for another, but speaking strictly from a rational point of view it’s impossible to overstate the benefits of working from home, and not only in financial terms. The cost of commuting also has an impact on our carbon footprint. Since I started working remotely my diet has improved and I spend a lot less on lunch each day than I did when I was at the office 5 days a week. I’m happier and healthier.

People want more out of their short life, is that so difficult to understand? It depends on whom you are talking with. David Solomon, of Goldman Sachs, has publicly stated that “working from home is an aberration.” There are others as well, white collars that are disgruntled by a shift in power, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, who according to an article I read got in the habit of touring the empty Whitehall offices and leaving passive-aggressive “Sorry you were out” notes on his employee’s desks. Not exactly a winning strategy.

The problem is not just with office jobs. In Italy, the tourism and hospitality sector is undergoing difficulties. The usual throes of young and not so young people that used to line up for the seasonal work in hotels, restaurants, stores, and so on, are no longer flocking down for the summer months, to live in cramped quarters, work overtime, and get underpaid.

Even promotions and salary increases are not keeping people on board nowadays. These last three years we’ve seen a shift so great that it can’t be ignored. A deep crack in the narrative that we used to rehearse daily has seen people awaken with a new design for themselves. Many of us realized we could live with less so we unshackled ourselves from the ties that had us bound for years.

The world seems to have turned upside down.

People are fleeing western countries such as Canada and Italy due to their governments’ unduly rash and punitive methods employed to coerce the general population into getting vaccinated. Many are taking refuge in countries that used to be considered unstable, because they feel freer and safer, ironically. Belize, El Salvador, Albania, and Mexico have become coveted destinations.

I left my job and the city. Started working as a Freelancer remotely. I relocated to an exquisitely lush location surrounded by lakes, rolling hills, and mountains in the north of Italy. I pay 1/3 of the rent I used to pay in the city. I am now looking for property in the province of Puglia, my dream place. I can finally live the way I always wanted to, so why not?

I always envied people that left the city on Fridays to head to their homes in the mountains, on the lake, or on the coast. Now I’m living it every day. Sure I don’t have the money tree anymore (regular paycheck) but what I have now is invaluable by comparison. I have newfound courage and self-confidence in myself and my abilities. I don’t need a yearly performance review to tell me that I’m doing great, because my work speaks for itself and my clients’ satisfaction is undebatable proof of my accomplishments.

I rarely had this level of personal satisfaction during my years in a corporate environment, although my work was categorized as “creative.” Having said all this, I am of the opinion that this so-called Great Resignation should be renamed ‘The Great Emancipation’

Published by Maddalena Di Gregorio

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in” Robert L. Stevenson

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