It’s official. I’ve joined the ranks of the Great Resignation and quit my job.
I wrote a post a little over one year ago about the Great Resignation and research that was suggesting over 25% of workers are considering quitting their job after the pandemic. For white collar workers, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in forced work from home for most companies as they attempted to stop/slow the spread of the virus. My employer had a mandatory work from home policy in place for over two years when we were not allowed access to our office building. Recently, that employer changed their policy on work from home and mandated that everyone return to the office in July.
To return or not return?
For months we were assured that there would be a tremendously long transition period to return to our office. Unfortunately, that changed and we were instead given a 30 day notice to return. For those that were hired during the pandemic from all over the country, and people like me who moved during the pandemic, this created exceptional turmoil. I immediately requested approval to make my job 100% work from home or at least have more time to move the 1000 miles back to the office. Ultimately, senior management never even rendered a decision on my requests. So, by default, my last day of work was the last day we were allowed to work from home without a 100% work from home agreement in place.
Obviously, when I moved a great distance from my office, I knew this outcome was a possibility. My direct managers and even their managers knew I had moved over 1000 miles away and were supportive. What surprised me is that rather than just denying my request to continue working from home, the organization’s leadership just ignored it! At least one manager thought I was bluffing about leaving, while others felt that there was no way my work from home request wouldn’t be approved due to the sensitive nature of my job, extraordinarily steep learning curve, and the recent loss of all but one of the people trained to continue my work. It turns out, I wasn’t bluffing and the only person left trained to do my job confided in me that they are actively interviewing for another job.
What’s the takeaway here?
Well, quite honestly, most companies don’t give a shit about you! My own situation is a case study in senior management cutting off their nose to spite their face. They may (or may not!) learn the hard way that losing certain institutional knowledge can have a devastating effect on many people. Over the past year, I have read countless stories from others about how they bent over backwards for their employer for many years only to be thrown out like a bag of garbage without so much as a “thank you for your service!”
Is this just a cultural thing in the United States or something that exists everywhere? Considering the amount of workplace protections that many developed nations have in place, I’m inclined to think these attitudes are pre-dominantly a US thing. Of course, there are surely other countries modeled on the US system of seeing workers as disposable. It’s a reminder that we all need to strive to be masters of our own destiny.
This is the fun and scary part! If you’ve followed along on this blog and read my money update posts, you’ll know that I am an adherent to the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement and have been saving a considerable percentage of my salary for a while now. Building up a sufficient reserve of savings means I now have options for what to do next. I am not hitting up LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter or blasting my resume out everywhere.
I have made a few select applications in the past month for “dream job” type of opportunities. Absent getting one of those dream jobs, I’m planning to take a sabbatical of sorts and hope to relocate to a lower cost international location to stretch my savings further. Ironically, I started this blog with a sloth theme and many of the lower cost locations I have been evaluating are home to many sloths!
Some things I look forward to doing during my sabbatical:
- Learning a new language
- Re-learning to play some musical instruments from my childhood
- Focusing on health and fitness
- Spending more time on writing
- Taking classes aligned with my interest in finance
These things sound a lot like retirement, don’t they? Well, I figure I might as well try it out for a while and if I’m financially able to continue it indefinitely then I will do so. If I don’t enjoy it, then I’ll double down on searching out those dream jobs after a couple years of my “test” retirement. In a worst case scenario, I’ve likely achieved Coast FI and can find work to cover my monthly expenses while letting my retirement investments continue to grow for another 25 years.
Keep following along here at The Money Sloth as I navigate this new financial journey!