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45% of Oklahomans are Considering Quitting Their Jobs. Are You One of Them?

After two years of leaving my house as little as possible, I’ve started venturing back out into the real world, and the sheer number of “Help Wanted” signs I see taped to drive-thru windows and posted in lobbies is impossible to ignore.

According to my unscientific count, “Now Hiring” signs in the metro now officially outnumber all the signs offering to buy my ugly home and pay cash for my junk car combined. According to experts, we are experiencing The Great Resignation, a moment in history so important that it already has its own Wikipedia entry.

The number of employees who quit their jobs in the United States each month is measured in millions and tracked by the Department of Labor. Typically those numbers rise and fall like the wave pool at White Water Bay Hurricane Harbor, but apparently, the numbers began climbing ten years ago and never stopped. According to the New York Times, 1.56 million people quit their jobs in August 2009; in August of 2021, the number was 4.27 million. That would be like everybody in Oklahoma saying “take this job and shove it” at the exact same time.

The combined number of Americans who voluntarily quit, were laid off, or fired in 2021 was 68.9 million, or about one-fourth of the country. The Department of Labor calls this number the “total separation,” which makes it sound like they were drawn and quartered. The takeaway is that the numbers continue to climb and break records both nationally and locally. According to a recent survey performed by OSU Assistant Professor of Professional Practice Abbey Davis, 45% of full-time workers in Oklahoma are considering leaving their job in the next six months. The top three things people said they hope to find in a new job are better pay, a better work environment, and more flexible work schedules.

Over the past two years, I’ve heard so many stories from employees being asked to “step up” and “take one for the team” after coworkers quit and their positions were not backfilled. Almost everyone is doing more work for the same amount of money. Heck, in between articles, Patrick has me mopping up the Lost Ogle bathrooms!

Prior to March 2020, no one could have imagined “other duties as assigned” would include enforcing COVID protocols. The nurses and teachers of this great state did and continue to do their best as we emerge from this pandemic, but nobody signed up for what they’ve been through. Some people quit their jobs because they were required to get vaccinated and wear masks, and others quit because their coworkers weren’t getting vaccinated or wearing masks. When you think about it, that 45% number almost sounds low.

It’s also easy to see how tempting jobs that allow employees to work from home must seem. I’ll be the first to tell you that the grass is always greener and teleworking from home has its own challenges, but like celebrities complaining about the difficulties of being rich and famous, nobody wants to hear it. My biggest complaint about working from home is that there isn’t a Starbucks between my bedroom and my home office. I suspect anyone who has sat through a school board meeting while being yelled at by a line of angry parents would find little sympathy for my hardships.

I’m not planning on giving up my reporter’s notepad (or my yellow mop bucket) anytime soon, but what about you? Are you part of the 45% of Oklahomans considering leaving your job in the next six months? If so, and it won’t get you fired, let us know in the comment section what pushed you over the edge and what you’re looking for in a new job.

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