The Great Resignation From a Different Angle: Motivation vs. Compensation


Michael Brooks Hacker Noon profile picture

Michael Brooks

An award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, and author.

Record 4.4 million workers quit in September as U.S. suffers worst labor shortage in decades

You see a headline, such as this, and you don’t know what to think about it.

The situation is even far worse compared with the last recession:


Millions of people AREN’T GETTING FIRED, they quit, “simply” and (in)explicably.

Where are all those people going? What are they thinking? Are they scared? Have they just had it enough?


OK. Let’s try to leave emotions aside, and let’s be logical, unbiased, and reasonable.

The vast majority of people quitting are finding other jobs. Companies hired 6.5 million people in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Including layoffs, retirements and deaths, some 6.2 million left their job in September.

Those are official numbers. You can’t argue with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What’s next?


Yeah, let’s hear what both parties have to say about the “Big Quit” – (former) employees and future (employers).

The Great Resignation – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

According to an article in Newsweek “a Chipotle in Kentucky was forced to shut its doors after half of its staff walked out, including the manager.” WHY? Because “employees were pushed to their “breaking points” and were expected to work 50-70 hours a week.” The next thing you know, there’s the sign “taped to the store’s door” that’s gone viral.


What was the response of the “other side” and their damage control plan?

In order to combat the labor shortage, companies including Chipotle have raised wages to $15 an hour. But employers are seeing that the wage raise wasn’t enough. Some employees still feel mistreated by their employers.

What fair is fair, the was no lack of goodwill:

We encourage our employees to contact us immediately, including through an anonymous 800 number, with any concerns so we can investigate and respond quickly to make things right.

Yeah, trying to make things right sounds about right.

But, as Ricky Gervais has tweeted countless times “I should’ve left it,” but as we all know, he didn’t. And, as we also know that when John Oliver points a finger and says:


THIS! What Are We Supposed To Make Out of THIS!

Imagine (former) Chipotle’s employees that are reading an article in Fortune that begins with the following line:

How the Great Resignation is fueling the passion economy

“The Passion Economy?!” What’s that even supposed to mean?

When Martin Bekerman, 37, left his role as a designer at Netflix in September, it was not because he was unhappy with his job. Nor was he suffering from the burnout that so many white-collar workers complain about as a result of the long hours and endless Zoom calls during the pandemic.

OK. Then, what seemed to be the problem? He isn’t a Dave Chappelle’s fan? What?

In fact, at Netflix, Bekerman had what he calls “the coolest job in the world.” And he didn’t have an issue with his pay, either. “You cannot get a better salary than that,” he said. But despite these glowing attributes, there was one area in which Bekerman found his role at Netflix severely lacking: it wasn’t intellectually or creatively fulfilling.

Wait! Did I get this right? A designer at Netflix with “the coolest job in the world” with a salary “you cannot get a better” one, quits because his job “wasn’t intellectually or creatively fulfilling.”


I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to this Netflix designer. What was the next level of intellectual and creative fulfillment? But, unfortunately, I hit Fortune’s paywall. That’s why you will read my articles exclusively here on Hacker Noon FOR FREE! And, that’s why it’s FREE TO VOTE for your favorite Noonies2021 Award Nominees. I happen to be one of them in the BusinessEntrepreneur, and Entrepreneurship categories. Just sayin’. Just sayin’. Moving on with my story.

For a Fistful of Dollars

One of my friends, a small business owner, told me a story about Clint Eastwood. Believe me when I say that I cried my eyes out trying to verify it by doing my own research night after night. I guess, you have to give me the benefit of the doubt.

This story took place during WW2 when Clint was just a kid and stayed at home with his mother. One day, a man came knocking on his door looking for work. Any kind of work. Clint’s mother was kind and honest. They couldn’t afford to pay that man for his work. They were going through tough times themselves. This man offered to do any work for a sandwich. Clint said that this event became a part of his working ethics. He learned to be grateful for an opportunity to work and provide for his family.

Your job is my job because I run a freelance platform. I advise our freelancers on a daily basis that they should set a price that makes them happy and keeps them motivated to work with our clients.

I go to sleep every single night thinking not about freelancers who were able to find work on our platform, but about those who are still struggling. I don’t look at our numbers. That’s our CFO’s job. I read reviews left by people from the countries I’ve never been to, who are grateful for being able to improve the quality of their lives as remote workers. I define myself as an entrepreneur based on the number of people I’ve helped to find work.

I’m pretty much sure that Chipotle’s employees who quit don’t ask themselves what’s on Netflix tonight. I also wish that the unfulfilled Netflix designer finds a sense of purpose and happiness in both his private and professional life.

I wish that my Thanksgiving story finds all Hacker Noon staffers, contributors, and readers in good health and happiness, including their loved ones. For a moment, be grateful for what you have and what you do.

Bear in mind that the Great Resignation rhymes with the Great Depression. Stay safe, healthy, and God bless you all!



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