The Great Layoff: Changing Lives During the Pandemic | COVID-19 in the Atlantic

This social phenomenon is called “great resignation”.

The world stops turning and reflections are needed

Luc Doucete, from Rogersville, lived with his wife in Montreal for several years, where he was an engineering technician. His wife had found a new job shortly before the start of the pandemic.

Luc Doucette left Montreal with his wife to open a cafe in Rogersville, New Brunswick.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Michel Corriveau

But after months in their apartment in Plateau Mont-Royal, they decided to leave everything behind to return to New Brunswick.

We found space, we found family, we made new friends too Rogersvillewe found a kind of nostalgia I would say in Acadie, I wanted to move to Acadie, so we found this sense of belonginghe explains.

This big decision, Luc Doucette and his wife made during the time of shutdown imposed by COVID-19.

« Of course, the pandemic has forced people to think about what their true values ​​are, and when you take a break from the subway-work-sleep, from the daily routine, it’s sure to be a good time to think. »

a quote from Luc Doucette

the native of Rogersville so put engineering aside to focus on a new cafe, set up in a train station.

I’ve known for a long time that I need to move more than sitting at a computer, an office job wasn’t necessarily what attracted me either, I did it, it made me happy, it makes me live a lot, but there’s , to move everyone the days, of standing up, are big days, we are tired, but it is also goodhe says.

thousands like him

Luc Doucette is far from the only one to have a similar experience.

The pandemic has been a time for many things, including certain reflections, or questions, I think there are several people who have observed what they wanted to pursue, what they wanted to be different in their professional life or what they didn’t want anymore.explains the general director of the Quebec Order of Certified Human Resources Consultants, Manon Poirier.

Manon Poirier looking out the window.

Manon Poirier, director general of the Quebec Order of Accredited Human Resources Counselors, observed the outbreak of the phenomenon called the great layoff.

Photo: Courtesy of the Order of Certified Human Resources Consultants of Quebec

Reasons for changing jobs or careers vary among individuals. For many, this change is motivated by the search for a more humane lifestyle.

It’s different choices that people make, so they’re also ambitious, but their ambition is different, that is, both to fulfill themselves professionally, but not necessarily climbing the ladder or having a higher salary, but saying I’m going to put in hours at work. , a job that I will enjoy, but I will also dedicate a lot of time to my personal life, to my family lifeexplains Manon Poirier.

Balance between work and personal life

It is the search for that balance that motivated Françoise Roy to make the leap. During her career, prior to the pandemic, she held various senior management positions in New Brunswick.

Françoise Roy in the forest.

Françoise Roy left a senior position at a financial institution to launch her own company, Solva, more in line with her values.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Michel Corriveau

Last winter I started some reflection where I said to myself: I want to change my lifestyle, I want to make more space for life projects to maybe work a little less, then maybe live a little more of the projects I wanted to do with my family or professionally, and have more control of my timesays Francoise Roy.

So she quit her job and started her own business: a consulting company.

We understand, in the pandemic, that people’s values ​​have changed, they recognize that they can work from home and be equally productive, that they can live a life a little more integrated between private life and professional life.observes Francoise Roy.

Live by your values

For Geneviève Louise Latour and her wife, the pandemic was an opportunity to steer their professional life in a direction that corresponded to their values.

A native of Saint-Albert, Ontario, Geneviève arrived in Rogersville before the pandemic in 2019, where her husband worked for a few months on a farm.

A mother and her baby.

Geneviève Louise Latour and her baby, in Rogersville, the village where she and her wife decided to live.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Michel Corriveau

« With the pandemic, I think we’ve really seen the need to be a little more self-reliant, a little more resilient, and I feel like there’s that strength here and that we’re well surrounded to lead these actions. »

a quote from Genevieve Louise Latour

It was during the pandemic that we decided: “OK, Rogersvillewill be our home.” We bought a house in December 2020she says.

For the young mother, this new life in New Brunswick has allowed her to begin a journey in harmony with values ​​that are important to her, such as ecology and the environment.

Resigning, an increasingly popular decision

In the United States, more than 4 million people left their jobs in July 2021. And it’s the same in August and September, according to the US Department of Labor.

A study published in Harvard Business Review states that layoffs are more frequent among individuals between 30 and 45 years of age, in the sectors of new technologies and health.

Rogersville Station and the railroad.

Rogersville station, where Luc Doucette, who left Montreal, decided to open a cafe.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Michel Corriveau

In Canada, the phenomenon has been less studied. But according to Statistics Canada, in the second quarter of 2021, the Canadian job vacancy rate was 4.6%, the highest since 2015, the years for which such data is available.

The job vacancy rate is exactly the same in New Brunswick. This represents, for the province, 4,290 more vacancies than in the second quarter of 2019.

Obviously, most of these vacancies are not related to the big layoff phenomenon.

At the same time, some studies in Canada show that the number of employees who are considering leaving to find something else is higher than in previous years:

  • According Hays Canada, 62% of employees were considering leaving in 2021, compared to 49% in 2020;

  • According Directors Workforce Institute52% of employees are looking for a new position, compared to 35% in 2020 and 2019;

  • According to the Canadian Center for Corporate Mission, 42% of employees are considering leaving their position.

According to these studies, there is no single reason why people look for another job or want to completely reorient their lives. However, the search for a better quality of life — whether it’s a better balance between work and personal life, better working conditions or a new way of seeing the world and life itself — is one of the most cited reasons.

Some also leave their jobs for better pay, for better advancement opportunities, or to find more flexible hours.

Necessary change in corporate culture

Several companies have already reacted to changes in the world of work. According to Manon Poirier, it is necessary to adapt to new realities.

« We have to maintain the positive elements of this pandemic, which has been difficult for everyone. Can we make the most of it and recreate an environment, or work context, that suits everyone? »

a quote from Manon Poirier, Order of Chartered Human Resources Counselors of Quebec

Therefore, important questions arise for companies that want to retain more of their employees.

We just have to treat people the way we want to be treated, we really have to pay attention to our employees because there they have choices, and we are less attached to our workemphasizes Luc Doucette.

Luc Doucette preparing a coffee.

Luc Doucette is now dedicated to his cafe, Forestation, located at Rogersville train station.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Michel Corriveau

You have to adapt to the market, and more and more people are ready to work, but they are not necessarily ready to work in the traditional sense, from 9 to 5, in an office, in a cubicle.adds Francoise Roy.

We can create environments that are more centered on employees, on people, on their will, latitude, trust, autonomy, decentralize decision-making, share power and, therefore, give meaning to work, and that, in a framework in which we no longer value number of hours and attendance, but what can we create together? Well I wish we could create this work environment of the future nowsays Manon Poirier.

According to her, this big layoff, which occurs in a context of shortage of employees in almost all professions and all trades, radically alters the balance of power in the labor market.

It’s more employers who interview future employees, but it’s a bit the opposite, it’s employees who interview different employers a little bit to see what suits them best as a job, of course, but also what kind of organization you want to invest in.she says.

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