Career Corner: The Great Resignation Being Fueled by Money, Meaning, Burnout

$500 Bills laid out on a laptop

The last few years have seen a multitude of world events that have created increased economic hardship. Piling that on top of a workforce that already felt overworked and underpaid, has led to over 21 million Americans leaving their jobs since the middle of 2021.

For those content in their jobs, the Great Resignation might feel perplexing to witness. WHYY had a recent article shedding more light on the subject and here are some of the key takeaways for why so many people are quitting.

According to Pew Charitable Trusts, some of the most common reasons given for this phenomenon are “Low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement and feeling disrespected at work.”

These have been common complaints for quite some time, so while the difficulties of the pandemic may not have been the sole catalyst for this upheaval, it could have been the last straw.

Justin Miles of Fishtown left his job at a shipping company, citing his reason as “I want to bring more stability to my life, because if I’m stable then I can grow.” Instead, he went into a master’s program and got a paid internship in instructional design.

The trajectory that Miles took is quite common, according to the research from Pew. People are not generally quitting their jobs with no backup plan. Instead, most respondents say they found new work where they are now paid better.

It is not just about the money, though. Long hours or tedious responsibilities have also created massive burnout from people who dread continuing on in such work for years to come.

Nancy Rothbard, the deputy dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, understands that fatigue and mental well-being are legitimate reasons to leave a job.

“The attitude you have towards your work makes a huge difference in whether you experience it in ways that are sustainable,” says Rothbard, “or whether you experience burnout and depletion from it in a way that kicks off a more negative spiral.”

Many seemed to have realized this and are changing jobs as much for their emotional stability as they are for better salaries. As Wissahickon resident Scarlett Delorme put it, “I cannot sacrifice my mental health for money anymore.”

If you want to learn more about what is prompting so many people to find new work, check out the article from WHYY here.


CNBC explains why Americans are leaving their jobs in droves.


Wilmington University, the sponsor of DELCO Today — Career Corner, is a private, open-access institution that serves more than 20,000 adults, including those seeking advancement through higher education and traditional-age students who aspire to become successful global citizens.

One of the most affordable private universities in the Delaware Valley, WilmU is committed to the idea that finishing an undergraduate degree or obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree can be affordable and accessible.

The University offers over 200 accredited and career-relevant degree and certificate programs in flexible online and hybrid formats designed to accommodate adults of all ages who work full- or part-time or juggle demanding career, family, and personal schedules.

Learn more about WilmU here or register to attend one of the University’s webinars. You will find information about academic programs, flexible scheduling options, tuition, admissions, student services, athletics, and more.

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