The Great Lesson of the Great Resignation – Here It Is

I have had great interest in learning about the Great Resignation over the last two years. It has been interesting to read the many opinions from economists, HR executives, and business owners. Equally interesting are the frustrations expressed by those employees who have chosen to participate. There is a great lesson to be learned here. Are we willing to learn it?

There is no point in keeping you in suspense, so here’s the great lesson from the Great Resignation: corporatism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No doubt most of us benefit directly from corporate success. But corporations bring just as many negatives to the table as positives.

What It Has All Been About

You do not need any explanation if you are one of the millions of people who quit your job in search of greener pastures elsewhere. But for everyone else, the Great Resignation has been about one thing: employees deciding they were no longer content with the status quo.

Millions of people left their jobs because they felt overworked, underpaid, and undervalued. Many quit because they were tired of their employers dictating their lives. Some went looking for jobs elsewhere. Others started their own businesses. Still others joined the gig economy.

Those who took other jobs went to employers they felt would treat them better. Those who started their own businesses or joined the gig economy became their own bosses and treated themselves as they saw fit. It has been an amazing thing to behold.

Small Business Actually Does Work

The big winners during the Great Resignation have been small businesses. It is not so much that existing small businesses suddenly found themselves with an influx of workers. Rather, we have seen a ton of new small businesses started by dissatisfied workers who have had enough of corporatism.

In 2021 alone, some 5 million new small businesses were started by unhappy workers. That represents a 55% increase over 2019. Being that large portions of the economy were shut down through most of 2020, that year’s statistical data doesn’t matter much.

The truth is that there has been a resurgence in small business since the start of the Great Resignation. Corporatism has lost its luster. Fewer workers are enamored by the corporate environment compared to the pre-pandemic era. That is a good thing, by the way.

Meet a Need and Keep It Simple

Among the many lessons learned by new entrepreneurs over the last two years is how unnecessarily complex corporate business is. Corporations exist to get bigger and make more money. They are insatiable beasts that are never satisfied. And the bigger a corporation grows, the more complex it becomes.

Successful small business is about meeting a need and keeping it simple. Need an example? Consider Seraphim Plastics, a Tennessee company that buys industrial plastic scrap in seven states. From a recycling perspective, their business model is incredibly simple.

They purchase and pick up a variety of presorted industrial plastics. They haul those plastics back to a processing facility and grind them up into smaller pieces to create a product known as regrind. They sell the regrind to manufacturers for a profit. That’s it. It is not complicated at all. For the record, Seraphim isn’t the only company that does this. Industrial plastic recyclers are active around the country.

The great lesson of the Great Resignation is that people are not as impressed by corporate America as they once were. This great awakening does not doom corporatism, but it is encouraging more people to throw off the corporate shackles and go do something for themselves.

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