During the pandemic Libika Ramaswamy worked remotely in Texas as a data scientist for a company in San Francisco.
She wanted to stay in Texas with her sister until things went back to normal.
Shes still waiting.
In June when her employer asked her to come back to the office she resigned.
Like its not like the pandemic is actually over.
No ones declared it over.
I dont know when the next wave is coming or if it is or if its going to be bad but like Id rather just wait it out here with more space and around my family.
Rama Swami found another job in her field and her story is not unique.
Nearly 4 million people or 2.7 of the workforce quit their jobs in April alone.
According to the US Labor Department the highest one-month quit rate in the past 20 years.
May and June have been only slightly lower.
One expert Anthony Klotz predicted what he calls the great resignation from watching the quit rate over time.
Over the last decade the number of resignations in the US and the rate of resignations has slowly been climbing
and then in 2020 due to the pandemic that completely leveled out
and so I thought theres probably a backlog of individuals who would have otherwise resigned from their jobs had it been a normal year
who were staying in place during the pandemic.
Thats just one part of it .
Klotz said accelerating the trend includes other factors such as burnout by frontline workers
a desire to keep working remotely and re-evaluating life priorities or some ombination of those.
Kim Frankel left a 20-year career in education most recently as a principal in California to be closer to family in Tennessee and because of burnout.
The role of being an educator over the last 15 months has been so insane
and responding to how to support kids and families and then also supporting my staff you know like while they are trying to learn and figure out something totally new.
It was all-consuming.
The stress of the pandemic led many to reconsider their priorities said Andrea Vonnecker the CEO of sparks five,a company that works with businesses to improve employee happiness.
Its almost like well if we only have x amount of time left to live you know how
can I actually make sure that Im on the right path doing what I truly love.
Companies are scrambling to decide how to react to workers wanting to stay remote.
Employers are setting return dates for in-person work and revamping telework policies.
Some like Apple are requiring a hybrid return to the office with three days a week in person expected to start in October.
Ramaswamys new employer based outside san Diego California is totally remote.
A lot of us were living the city life for just because there was no other option.
Were entering into an age of experimentation when it comes to work arrangements and adjustments by organizations
so organizational leaders are not just standing by saying well employees are going to resign what can we do about it.
Theyre talking to their employees listening to their employees and reacting.
The great resignation is likely to continue for months with workers shuffling to new careers or companies.
Whats uncertain is how work culture will look when the pieces fall into place
Dina Mitchell for voa news Austin Texas.