It’s been a tumultuous time when it comes to the current workplace, or at least business writers think so. From quiet quitting to the Great Resignation, writers can’t stop coining terms about pseudo quitting. So we have pieces on quit quitting, on rage applying and my new favorite, calibrated contributing. Even places like the WSJ join in with this piece on High-Earning Men Who Are Cutting Back on Their Working Hours. It’s as if readers of business magazines and websites can not get enough pieces on worker unhappiness.
That was before times though. Now workers, at least IT workers, have something to be truly unhappy about: being laid off. You can read about it everywhere, from the Verge to the New York Times. It seemed like every IT company was suddenly shedding workers, from Facebook/Meta, to Microsoft, to Salesforce, to Google……even IBM, which had a decent year compared to the rest of the list. The reasons for the layoffs were varied. Facebook/Meta continues to have a bad business model. Others like Microsoft went on a hiring bender and the layoffs are almost a hangover. There’s also been talk that some of the companies were just following the others and trying to look tough or something. One tech company that did not lay anyone off: Apple.
Layoffs suck. If you get caught up in a layoff program, you can find many guides as to what to do. Here is one layoff guide: What to do before during and after getting laid off.
If you only pay attention to the tech job market, you may guess it applies to the job market in general. But if you read this, Mass Layoffs or Hiring Boom? What’s Actually Happening in the Jobs Market, you get a different picture. The job market is a jumble now due to the fallout of the pandemic. I suspect it is going to take another year to settle down.
In the meantime, good luck with your work. Things aren’t as bad as they may appear. Despite all the think pieces and the tech layoffs. Stay positive.
Work can be uplifting, especially if you have good leadership like that of Barack Obama, who knew the importance of such things as play at the office. Such work can be rewarding, not just financially but in spirit.
To have that type of work, you need good management, not just at the highest levels, but all through your organization. Unfortunately, no one wants to work in middle management anymore. At least according to that piece. Indeed, many women in general are giving up on work ambition in general. That’s too bad. Good workplaces need good leaders to be successful.
Perhaps as a result of all, we see dissatisfied employees who are “quiet quitting”. It doesn’t help that they are being forced to return to the office when they don’t want to. It also doesn’t help when you have people like Malcolm Gladwell going on about how working for home is bad (unless you are the hypocrite known as Malcolm Gladwell).
Mind you working from home can also be tough, as companies are dumb enough to think they can make people more productive by using employee monitoring. That’s the worst form of leadership.
If you are suffering at work, then you may want to read this account of how quitting a job changed their Work-Life Balance.
Finally, while it’s not for everyone, if you have considered being an entrepreneur, I recommend the site for Justin Jackson
Knowing when to quit is difficult. Fortunately, there is science and math to help us, as this article in plus.maths.org explains:
Knowing when to quit is one of life’s great dilemmas, whether to persist in the face of diminishing rewards, or to quit now in the hope of finding richer rewards further afield. For every gold mine, eventually there comes a point when the amount of gold extracted can no longer justify the cost of keeping the mine open; once that point has been reached, it is time to quit, and start looking for a new mine.
Similarly, for a bird feeding on caterpillars in a bush, there comes a point when the calories gained can no longer justify the energy expended in searching for more caterpillars; once that point has been reached, it is time to quit, and move to another bush. And, for a honeybee, there comes a time when the weight of pollen collected can no longer justify the energy required to carry that pollen; at that point it is time to quit collecting, and fly back to the hive.
Fortunately, there is a mathematical recipe, embodied in the marginal value theorem (developed by the American ecologist Eric Charnov in 1976), which specifies when to quit in order to maximise rewards. More importantly, the marginal value theorem has an enormously wide range of applications, from its origins in optimal foraging theory to how brains process information. In essence, the marginal value theorem provides a general strategy for maximising the bang per buck, irrespective of the nature of the bang and the buck under consideration.
Wait you say: it’s Friday afternoon! You know when to quit (at least for this week). Ok, that works too. But if you need more general guidance, read the article.
If you are thinking of walking away from your job these days, you are not alone. As the WSJ says:
The ‘Great Resignation’ is on. Here’s what to do about your finances before embarking on the slowdown you’ve been craving.
Wait! You haven’t thought of your finances before quitting? Well stop for a second and read this: How to Prepare Your Finances Before Quitting Your Job – WSJ.
Change is good. Well thought out change is better. So get your finances in place and then make your move. Good luck!
(Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash )