As a career transition expert, few people call me when things are going well. Instead, they tend to reach out when their work situation is going off the rails, or when they have experienced a layoff. I am sure you have read about, or maybe experienced personally, people quitting even when they don’t have an offer in hand.

Why is this happening so frequently now? From my perspective, it’s because trust has been broken. In another era, employees were loyal to their employer because if they were, they had job security (mostly).

I think we can all agree that job security doesn’t exist now. Market shifts, mergers, divestitures, and all sorts of other things make the business environment uncertain.

However, the number of people quitting without jobs to go to is new. I jokingly say it’s like that line from the movie Network, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore!”

Actually, this is exactly what’s happening.

Both men and women are quitting, but it seems like more women than men because they have been disproportionately affected by the disruptions the pandemic is causing. Please don’t argue with me on this. I’ll refer you to the fact that in December 2020 all the jobs lost were held by women.

Here is the part employers seem to be missing: You can overwork your employees for a short period of time, but when the work environment is chronically understaffed with people doing 1.5-3 jobs, they will start to crack. Especially if there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Executive coach Sarah Robinson posted a poll on LinkedIn wanting to know more about this.

Here are her poll results:

I left this comment:

I am hearing all of this from women clients. Unheard, unseen, unsupported, unreasonable requests and timelines while understaffed and under resourced.

Someone replied to my comment with this:

I resigned my day job to go all in on my business because I was all of these things. They hired 2 people to fill my shoes and starting salary for each was 30k more than “their highest offer” when I did the work. They were shocked when I left without another “job” lined up and couldn’t believe I was unhappy after I repeatedly said I needed help, asked for more vacation days bc the position of Product Owner in IT was stressful (6 projects + international team) and I needed more time off. They declined my vacation request. They told me that I was stressed bc of covid and it wasn’t the workload.

As a reminder, replacing good employees is expensive and disruptive, and it negatively impacts productivity. It takes time and money to take a candidate through the recruiting cycle and to onboard them. A LOT of time and money. According to Gallup: “The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary — and that’s a conservative estimate.” This Fixable Problem Costs U.S. Businesses $1 Trillion

And you may have to replace someone with two people. I had a job where they replaced me with three people early in my career.

The point I am trying to make is you will probably need to find the money anyway, and it is expensive and disruptive to replace people, so if you can keep a good employee, you should make every effort to do so.