Good Development

As a retiree, I don’t have a dog in this fight anymore, but back in the day I might have, and my kids certainly do.

Around the world, millions of people are rethinking how they work and live—and how to better balance the two.
The Great Resignation has U.S. workers quitting their jobs in record numbers—more than 24 million did so from April to September this year—and many are staying out of the labor force. Germany, Japan, and other wealthy nations are seeing shades of the same trend.
The pandemic has taken a toll, with surveys showing an increase in feelings of burnout and a deterioration in mental health in many nations.
But the pressure has been building in developed countries for decades. Incomes have stagnated, job security has become precarious, and the costs of housing and education have soared, leaving fewer young people able to build a financially stable life.
Although the Great Resignation is a phenomenon among those who are younger than 40, it’s also reverberating across the economy and forcing a broader conversation about work. Millennials (born between 1980 and the late 1990s) and Generation Z (the demographic cohort after them) tend to marry, buy houses, and have children later than their forebears—if at all.

Let me tell you a story about my Son&Heir.  For the past dozen years he’s been working in the restaurant business, first as a waiter, then as assistant manager, and finally as the Kitchen, Food & Beverage Director at their busiest restaurant.

He was also getting burned out.  One time I met him for lunch, and I was appalled at what I saw:  the normal laid-back, witty kid I once knew was now a nervous wreck:  pale, skinny, with shaking hands and a thousand-yard stare.

I told him to quit and find another job, and he said that he couldn’t:  the company was too dependent on him and his coworkers to keep the place afloat — no bonuses for doing so, of course.  When I told him how bad he looked, and how worried I was about him, he simply said:

“I know.  I’m tempted to quit and go and work as a bartender for a year or so, just to catch my breath and regain a little sanity.”

I nearly fell over.  But as he put it, bartending would mean less money, but shorter hours and no stress.

I didn’t want him to do that, but considering that the Son&Heir looked like he was doing speed (don’t worry, he wasn’t), I agreed, but told him to wait until after Christmas.

I needn’t have worried.  Unbeknown to me, he’d already put out feelers — he just didn’t want to tell anyone until he’d actually got a new job to avoid the stress involved in that — and as it turned out, he ended up getting a really good job with a Great Big Financial Institution thanks to someone who used to shoot with him on the US Olympic development team.

Now he’s a different guy.  The old Son&Heir is back:  relaxed, charming and witty, the excellent company he always was.  Thanksgiving Dinner was great fun, and a solo dinner with just him equally so.  He works regular hours during the week, and never over weekends.  For more money.  And he doesn’t know what to do with all his spare time.  He’s also had to slow down his hell-for-leather approach to work and adjust it to corporate time.

But that’s not my point to the story, good news though it is.

What’s important is that like the people mentioned in the article. he would have been just fine with a lesser-paying job — and if that’s true of the S&H, one of the most dedicated workers a boss could wish to have, then companies are going to have to get their shit together or face serious staff shortages, permanently.

And I don’t care.  Back in the day, a company could work you really hard for decent-but-not-great pay, because the trade-off was job security.  The minute the accountants got involved, and company loyalty became worthless (because long-term employees cost more in benefits to keep, you see), there was no way that companies could keep on overworking staff without it ending in this Great Resignation.  The game, as the saying goes, was no longer worth the candle, especially as the companies were making record profits and the bosses thereof a lot more money than in the past..

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Guess what, Boss?  Those days might be coming to an end soon.


  1. I’m forced to go to work and be onsite 5 days a week. By assholes who work from home themselves many times. And many coworkers get to work from home. Even most new hires.

    As one of the used and abused – I might start looking soon for another gig.

    The people who worked through the pandemic while others sat at home at being worked extra hard and forced to take the jab. And you get no extra pay.

    Imagine why there is a “great resignation”! Loyalty and hard work mean Jack F. Shit.

    1. > As one of the used and abused – I might start looking soon for another gig.

      Do it.

      One of the things I’ve noticed over the last 25 years is that in the IT/Development world you get a 3 percent annual raise, but 10 or more percent increase when you get a new job.

  2. Back when I was married, I told my wife to stop chasing a higher salary at the expense of her sanity. I let her know that her mental well-being was much more important than a pay increase.

  3. Here is a good link about people leaving employment & reasons why. As I’ve read a few times, the company reports “record profits”, but when it comes time to discuss wages & raises, “times are tough”.

    The workers are no longer buying it. In my location, Tysons initially was advertising $15/hour. Now they are advertising $22.50/hour on the radio. This also affects the current workers as the starting salary really exceeds what they are being paid.

    What happens when the employers have jobs, but the workers say, “Nah”.

  4. There’s also need to factor in the apparent trend of universities producing graduates who not only are ignorant but are actually stupid. This means that in a few years corporate management will be manned by people making really, really bad decisions. Oh, and then there’s government.
    Electric Lamborghinis for the elite.

  5. Yeah, I finally decided to retire in January (29 calendar days from right now, and 16 work days counting today, but who’s counting?). Been with my current consulting company for 23 years. Every minute has been on billable assignment, but I know that should my position disappear I’d be out the door before the fan in my laptop stopped spinning. Meanwhile they keep hiring non-billable people (Director of Diversity for instance), and this year I got the biggest raise I’ve gotten in years (2.5%), which I’ll only collect on for two weeks since the raise is effective Jan 1.

    My wife took an early retirement package a few years ago. She was an executive assistant, for the very high-level people in a company you’d recognize, and she was VERY good at her job. They decided to offer early retirement to admins who were within three years of qualifying for retirement, with a nice severance package as well (with the fact that layoffs would ensue should not enough people take the package). So many people took the package that they actually had to HIRE more admins so everything could continue along. Those admins, of course, were less expensive than the ones who left, but I wonder how the execs with cheaper admins feel about the whole thing.

    I recall how the jargon changed over the years too. Layoffs became Downsizing which became Rightsizing which led to Brightsizing (when all the smart people left voluntarily).

    Mark D

    1. You also need to add in ‘Offshoring’, and for that matter, training your Offshore replacements as your severance is dependent on the training.

      1. Apparently I ruffled some Corporate feathers by referring to it as “Cheapshoring”. But, hey, wahtta you going to do? Send my job off to India?

        Worked out. Got a County job starting at what my ending salary with Big Corp was, and was happy with it until I had to take a disability retirement a few years ago.

    2. “I wonder how the execs with cheaper admins feel about the whole thing.”

      When the Help Desk I worked on was being Cheapshored to India, there was a transition period where incoming calls were routed to India on an increasing percentage each week.

      Our clients were hanging up and re-dialing until they got a US employee (a lot of them knew us from our voices after years of working with us). I had clients crying and begging to not be transferred to the Indian desk.

      Note: To be fair to the folks answering the calls in Mumbai, they weren’t allowed to provide the level of support our clients had become accustomed to, and we were not allowed to train them up to our level of tech knowledge. They were required to follow the scripts and any deviation, even if it fixed the problem, was penalized. But hey, we had “increased shareholder value” !!!

  6. “…the company was too dependent on him and his coworkers to keep the place afloat”

    Tough shit.

    Realizing that whether not the company will collapse without you is immaterial and not worth your health and wellbeing is the first hard lesson a young dude learns after they get settled in a career. My son just went through that exact scenario at a high tech firm. He’s way better now, even more so after ditching the psychotic girlfriend.

    Second lesson is a corollary – no one is indispensable. The first fight I had with the wife was over work vs. what was needed of me at home. I left that job three months later.

    There’s nothing sadder or more depressing than going to a funeral where one of the former coworkers does a eulogy saying how valuable they were to the company. “When you see that building from the highway you’ll think of Herb”. Well, I will now and I’ll think about how much of life old Herb was gypped out of. Starting with a decent eulogy.

    In reality, a few months after you’re gone, few will remember who you were or what you did. The simply got a new, cheaper cog for the machine.

  7. This “-sizing” isn’t a new thing. Back in th ’90s, IIRC, some big corporation on the west coast decided to do away with their in-house programming staff and run it all from overseas. Hey, cheap is good, right? Well, turns out that the furrin’ programmers were… technically competent, but did only what they were explicitly told to do and had to be under constant oversight by management. Errors mounted up, necessitating do-overs, and that cost money. A few years of that, and management decided to scrap that idea and bring back the local workers. But by then, the laid off/fired/downsized had gotten new jobs they were unwilling to leave, and some had moved out of state and changed careers. To a man(and woman), they told their former employer no thanks. I’d like to think they added a few frills ‘n dressin’s. Don’t know what ultimately happened.

    Stay safe, stay away from crowds.

  8. Went out on my own when I was 35 and never looked back.
    Now, I’ve never set the world on fire, and I’ve missed a few dinners along the way, but I’ve never had an anxiety attack, heart attack, or any other stress symptoms – and I’m good with that.
    Now semi-retired and 80, life is pretty good – plus, I got married (for the first time) last year at the height of the WuFlu madness, and that’s working out quite well.

  9. Never understood why people exchange happiness for money. It’s not an either/or situation, you can have both. In 1986 I stopped working for other people and started working for myself. Next month, Jan 2022, it will be 50 years that I have practiced my “chosen” vocation and I will practice it til I die, because I like being happy and I like earning money. 2021 has proven to be the best year to date, filled with happiness and I made more money than the 5 previous years combined. The idea of working a job I didn’t truly like would be like prison and I’d quickly find a way out. If you work for someone else you don’t really like it, you are just cheating yourself, for ASSumed security. Be true to yourself, work for yourself, and be happy. Or be a controlled draft animal. Your choice.

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