“Work will never love you back”
Nov 9, 2021
Episode 556

“Work will never love you back”

We take a deep dive into what's driving Americans to quit their jobs at unprecedented rates.

Listeners, it’s time to talk about the Great Resignation. 

That’s the name used to describe this moment in time as a large number of American workers quit their jobs at unprecedented rates.

“I also like a lot of other great R-words. I use the Great Reshuffling to talk about the uptick in migration and business formation. I talk about the Great Rudeness when it comes to the fact that a lot of people have been sort of locked in their houses for the last year or at least going out less, or, you know, being rather jerkish to flight attendants and waitstaff. And I also call it the Great Reset, because … I think a lot of people are not only rethinking what exactly they want to do for eight hours a day in their next job, they’re also thinking about rethinking about their relationship with work,” said Derek Thompson, who has been writing about this phenomenon for The Atlantic.

According to the Labor Department, 4.3 million workers left their jobs in August. The quits rate, as it’s called, is up to 2.9%, the highest since the department started keeping track. We usually look at the quits rate as an indicator about how optimistic workers are feeling about their ability to find another job. 

On the show today, we’ll talk about the reasons driving people to leave their jobs right now, why it might actually be a good thing for the American workforce and what it means for our complicated relationship with work.

In the News Fix: a portrait of some of the underrepresented voices in our economy and what happened when they banded together. Plus, we’ll highlight a couple of the less talked about parts of the infrastructure package.

Also, after one of our hosts (it was Kai) reveals his dislike for the Great Resignation moniker, some listeners call with their own suggestions. And what a pup taught a “Make Me Smart” listener about her love for dogs.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’re doing the numbers on health insurance and explaining HIPPA and the problems with being underinsured. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Marque Greene Associate Producer