The "Great Resignation" may have begun a couple of years ago, but it's continued as inflation outpaces salaries and return-to-office plans are put into effect across the country. In fact, according to a recent LinkedIn study, 70% of Gen Z and millennial Americans plan to leave their jobs in 2023. With that in mind, BuzzFeed and Reddit users alike have shared instances at their companies that caused people to resign en masse (and what happened after):
1."I'm a teacher. I left my last school, along with 14 other colleagues, after our principal told us that if we didn't like how things were being run, then just to go ahead and leave because she wouldn't miss us."
2."I spent 17 years with a distribution company. The owner was a fantastic man who became a good friend. After a stroke, he turned the company to his only son, who had never worked there a day in his life. During his first week on the job, he held a mandatory, all-employee meeting in which he told us that we were all paid too much and that pay cuts were coming. (He intended to shut down the company and reopen it under a new name to make it legal.) I told him there was no way anybody here was taking a pay cut, especially when we made a record-setting profit last year and were projected to do better this year. He dared us to quit and said we still made more than we were worth under his plan. You should have seen his face when every employee — from management to custodial — quit at that meeting."
"Sadly, he lost his dad's business in less than a week."
3."Five years ago, my company underwent a reorganization — the brainchild of the CEO and corporate human resources manager. They gave pay cuts to hundreds of salaried managers, reduced them to hourly supervisors, shifted hourly workers into positions they hated, and removed any means of being promoted. On top of that, they failed to think about the consequences of these changes, leading to disruptions in work. They promised to hire more workers to deal with all of these new processes. Instead, they cut back on payroll. Over the next few years, hundreds of experienced employees left the company, and sales plummeted."
"The HR manager was eventually fired. Around the same time, the CEO 'retired.' Last year, they finally returned to the original organization, but the reorg created huge, lasting issues. It will probably be years before the company recovers."
4."Our asshole boss got his apprentice drunk at a firm party and asked him, 'What do you think of me?' The poor guy answered, 'I don't like you much.' Our boss was already waiting for him the next day and fired him on the spot. The room was so silent that we all heard our team manager lay down his pen on his desk. He stopped working, and then the rest of us stood up and left. Our asshole boss called each of us, but we all told him the same thing: 'If you want us to work, bring that boy back and apologize.' He did after a week, but that was the beginning of the end. Over the next six months, everyone quit."
5."I worked in a lumber yard. We had a good crew. We built every delivery load correctly and got them out on time. We also got along well and had each other's backs. Our manager was the senior delivery driver. Since he was out on deliveries half the time, they hired another guy from another lumber yard. On his first day, he gathered us up and promptly told us there would be no raises that year so they could pay his salary. He 'motivated' people with threats and profanity. Once he hired his buddy for my receiver job and expected me to take a pay cut and train him, I walked. Within a few weeks, everyone else walked, too. The yard's changed companies three times since then."
6."I worked for a program where the morale was always low. They pushed us to reach 100% productivity in a field where our days were completely unpredictable; they didn't even want us to talk to each other. We all put up with it because we loved what we did and our clients. Then, our program director's best friend was killed. She was out for a month, and when she came back, the entire atmosphere got worse. All the best employees were suddenly being put on PIPs for little things that weren't their fault. People were scapegoated left and right, and performance expectations became stricter. Within about three months, 20 of the 33 staff members quit."
7."As a freshly minted graduate, I got my 'dream job' at a start-up as part of a new team. We were all eager and green but quickly realized our CEO was slightly unhinged, idealistic, and a borderline cult leader. Then, our first paycheck didn't come through. We braved it for another week before the owner of our office building showed up; the rent hadn't been paid in three months. Our CEO climbed out of his office window to escape. After that, we all took off our work lanyards, left them on our desks, and walked."
"My team members and I never got paid for that month or so of work. When we brought the CEO to small claims court, he insisted we were all unpaid interns before skipping the country."
8."I was an assistant manager at a store and found out my manager was stealing items, cash, and time. She would stash items in her bag, amend her time to look like she clocked in early, and give her husband — who had recently gotten out of prison for shoplifting and was banned from other store locations — the previous day's earnings to take to the bank, which would mysteriously turn up short. When I told the area manager and provided evidence from the CCTV, she said she'd open an investigation. Instead, she wanted in on it and told my manager. They plotted to get rid of the evidence and frame me by having my manager's husband shoplift only during my shifts. Once my manager's friend unknowingly spilled her plan, I walked out. When the rest of our 10-member team found out, two immediately left, and six quit within the month. The store closed six months later because it couldn't keep a staff on payroll."
9."Years ago, I worked for a shady company with a misogynistic environment as part of an executive team that reported to the CEO. The team had been created solely to improve the company culture and employee retention. However, leadership would not heed any of our advice. It was a tech company that severely underpaid its employees and refused to use technology. Everything had to be printed out, including emails. Time-off requests had to be filled out by hand before being submitted first to your manager, then to your department's accountant — who had to calculate how much time off you accrued by hand — and lastly to HR. Then, HR would submit it to be signed by the CEO and the payroll department. Within six months of joining, the entire executive team quit. A year later, the company went from 120 to 70 employees."
"When COVID hit, things really got crazy. The company made employees jump through so many hoops to get WFH approval. I had already left, but several coworkers contacted me to be a reference. Almost everyone I hung out with left within a few months of our team quitting.
I know the company is still around, but I don't think they'll ever acknowledge that their stuffy C-suite and outdated management style are why they have such high employee turnover. It was very much a 'good ol' boys club.'"
10."I worked at a media company for eight years as a producer managing big-name clients. When management rolled out a new app, producers were asked to 'convince' our existing clients to switch to the app and a new payment model. Of the four producers, I was the only one who convinced two of my clients to sign multi-million-dollar contracts. I even was honored at an all-hands meeting. Nevertheless, over the next two months, management began reassigning employees from our team to a team for the new app. I expected to be moved over, but instead, they laid off my entire team and me because the company was 'no longer using that model.' Over the next six months, there was a mass exodus of employees as they realized they were expendable."
"The best part was they ended up losing the two clients I signed because no one else there knew how to work their products, so they lost faith in the company. I laughed for days and now make double what I made there."
11."I'm a stylist. Last year, there were six weeks when only my manager and I worked at the salon. She was there six days a week; I was there five days a week. We never once got a thank you for keeping the place going. Guests frequently yelled at us if we couldn't immediately get them in, to the point where I began having panic attacks whenever anyone asked if we had any openings. I won't even get into the struggle of enforcing the mask mandate or the salon offering sign-on bonuses to new stylists, but nothing for us. When my manager put in her two-week notice, the district leader told her to 'just leave' and that she would call me and another girl to 'run' stuff. All four of us walked out that day."
12."They decided after six years it was time to do a drug test — even lost the CEO in that great idea."
13."I worked at a paint store for years. During my last year, we hired a new manager who ended up stealing from the company, lying to customers, refusing to do his job, and leaving early without clocking out. However, the last straw was when he cornered me in the warehouse and screamed at me after I missed a day to be tested for liver disease. I reported him to HR, and they did nothing. The assistant manager, other WPS, and I left within a week."
14."They laid off half the company with no warning. This included a gentleman who was less than a year from retirement and had been there for more than 35 years. The company was shocked when half the remaining people abandoned ship shortly thereafter."
15."We were a California tech firm. Shorts, flip-flops, beers at lunch, and getting high on the roof were all rather common, but we were rapidly growing, and the atmosphere and location made us a hot ticket for talent. The company consistently outpaced competing firms and emerged as one of the industry-leading agencies. However, after the CFO and CMO cashed out, the CEO remodeled the company by making it far more corporate. He also implemented unattainable goals and removed our WFH policy. The final straw was removing our generous vacation policy and replacing it with 'unlimited vacation' — a facade for 'you can take as much vacation as you want if we approve it.' A quarter of the company quit and immediately landed better jobs."
16."What I used to do involved about 40% client interaction, 20% team interaction, and 40% paperwork and case coordination. However, I was in healthcare, and only direct client contact could be billed to insurance. Based on that, only 40% of our time is technically billable, so logically, we were being paid on a salary model. One day, management decided to restructure how we were paid so we could only make money for billable time. A quarter of the department quit, two of us on the same day."
17."The owner of the company was keeping the social security money taken from our paychecks. Yes, he was caught."
18."I worked in the concessions stand at a baseball stadium. The minimum wage then was $5.15 per hour; this paid $8. One night, it was hectic — easily two to three times the normal volume of customers. We were all working our asses off handling multiple roles, each with no downtime. Though we cleaned as we worked, nobody could do thorough cleaning due to the never-ending horde. As usual, the manager showed up three hours late and threw a tantrum over the unswept floor. Finally, she announced, 'Listen up, you lazy fucks! Minimal work gets minimal pay. Everybody is being paid minimum wage tonight because you slobs won't clean up anything.' Both bartenders and the barback quit on the spot, causing a chain reaction. We all took off our aprons and hats to leave. She blocked the exit and was red in the face from screaming, so one of the cooks climbed out of one of the serving windows where we served customers. I did the same, and most staff followed."
19."The owner died, and his idiot son took over. He decided that the company didn't make him enough money and started to implement 'cost-cutting' measures like turning off the A/C in the building."
20."The owners of our restaurant were the greatest people. When they retired, they left the restaurant to their nephew, who was a busboy. He seemed okay until he got the power of being the owner. One Friday night, just before the dinner rush, he fired two of four cooks and two of three dishwashers because he 'didn't like their attitude.' Within a month, over half the staff had quit, usually by walking out in the middle of their shifts after being screamed at. They'd throw down their aprons and tell everyone they were sorry but couldn't do it anymore. Once the last cook — this big dude who kept the kitchen laughing and running at a decent pace — started crying and walked out in the middle of his shift after the boss yelled at him for being too slow and making 'slop,' the rest of us bailed with him. Four months later, the place closed. His aunt and uncle were furious and devastated."
21."I used to work at a fast-food restaurant, and we had a terrible manager who hated many people working there. Everyone else hated him, too, but no one wanted to call him out on his shit and quit. I was the first to do it because I requested two weeks off in August — three months in advance. When August came around, he scheduled me off for the whole month except those two weeks. There was no way he could have misinterpreted my request. When I got my schedule, I stormed into the restaurant, called him out on everything, and then quit on the spot. About two weeks later, I heard five others had enough and quit, too."
22."I worked as a line cook at a sports bar in a college town for a few years. Most employees attended school full-time, and it was the type of work where you'd ask for a raise, and managers would scoff and say, 'Yeah, me, too.' Our kitchen was tiny, so most people closed four to five days a week, with doubles on the weekends. One Super Bowl Sunday, a useless cook — who usually ducked out in the bathroom mid-shift — finally stopped showing. The managers then delegated closing to my pal, J. He told them he didn't want to be first in and last out since he was a full-time student. Well, the managers basically told him to go fuck himself and that they didn't have any more shifts for him. Immediately, another cook and I quit on the spot. They lost four cooks that Super Bowl Sunday and only had seven full-time students left on the schedule."
23."I did landscape construction. The cheap-ass owner kept taking on bigger and bigger projects while never hiring more help. We were all overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious as hell. One of our foremen quit, and I followed suit a few days later. Two more guys quit the next day. That left the owner down to three guys for the obscene amount of work he wanted to do. Of course, everything got way behind schedule, but he was convinced it wasn't his fault. He went out of business less than a year later."
24."The new owners hired me to replace the existing manager and gave me the impression he was moving on to another job. Four days in, I asked him where he was headed and if he was excited. He looked blankly at me and said, 'I'm not going anywhere. I'm just training you as the assistant manager, right?' The look I gave him must have been a great tip-off because he got up and walked into one of the new owners' offices. Within 30 seconds, they were screaming at each other. The existing manager stormed out of the office, grabbed his stuff, gave me the finger, and left. Over the next few days, I tried to calm things down with the other employees. They weren't faulting me, but the new owners left a terrible taste in their mouths. Over the next 10 days, my team shrank from 15 people to 3."
25."I worked for a large IT company before the tech bubble burst. One day, our director and VP sat 200 of us down in our auditorium and said they were tired of complaints about things that should be changed and their management styles. The director said that if we didn't like it, there was the door because there was no way we'd leave such great jobs. Well, there was. About 50 people left within two months. Shortly after that, the director and VP were re-orged, given zero reports, and then gone after a round of layoffs."
26."I worked at a fast-food chain, and one of the regional managers began running a store because they couldn't find new managers. This guy practically ran the place into the ground. Before he started, everyone liked working there, and it was a good environment. A few months later, a couple of people quit because of him. One day, I rolled in at 9 a.m. to open the store. He came out to my car as I parked — I was 15 minutes early and usually sat in my car until it was time — and said, 'Hey, I need you to start early because the three openers just quit on me.' We opened, and people from other stores came until the people for the next shift started. Later, I heard the full story. The regional manager is supposed to be at the store at 7 a.m., and the openers are to arrive 30 minutes later. This guy didn't show up until 8:30. When the openers — who'd been there for an hour unable to clock in — saw the regional manager roll in, they decided to quit."
27."I worked at a data company where the guys in the sales department fucked around all day. They'd hang out in the parking lot, drinking beer and racing RC cars. When handling clients, they frequently gave away free accounts to 'retain' customers (and make their sales numbers look good). Somehow, they got away with it. Meanwhile, dozens of programmers worked tirelessly to integrate complicated data and make it accessible via the website. When upper management made the yearly holiday announcements, they revealed that they decided to send the entire sales team to Hawaii for an all-inclusive vacation. When the developers asked why it was only the sales team, the CEO said, 'Well, I mean, I guess we could ask the sales team to pick one person from each department who helped them the most this year and take them, too.' The programmers, engineers, and database people were livid and walked out in droves."
"Gee, I wonder why the company tanked."
28."Years ago, I worked in a mental health center with kids. It was time for recertification, but the center hadn't followed proper procedures over the last five years. Instead, the administration made us sit through a ridiculous amount of training. Then came the paperwork. Our center encouraged us to do things not covered by Medicaid or approved through certification. For example, taking kids to the park isn't allowed. Guess where they instructed us to take kids so they wouldn't disturb the therapists? I had to go back and edit five months' worth of documents to eliminate the evidence. The kicker was that the bathrooms should have a cleaning log; they didn't. However, an administrator perfectly forged the signatures of multiple employees. I don't think they would have gone through that trouble just for a bathroom log. What else were they forging our signatures on? The risk of being charged with Medicaid fraud was too high. I quit, as did many others."
29."After a year of record profits and almost doubling our clients, the company canceled all raises and bonuses except those for the CEO, his wife — who was in finance and HR — and his son — who was utterly useless in IT. They also announced that they weren't looking to hire more people when we were already overwhelmed. A majority of us quit. The good part was that they lost almost every client to their competitors shortly after. The company is now defunct."
30."A school district I sometimes sub in had a big round of hiring. Many building substitute teachers applied, and only half got interviews (myself included). However, only those who were a relative of a current employee made it past the screening interviews. The rest of us weren't the 'right fit.' The real reason was a substitute shortage; they didn't want to lose any of us as subs. They had posted over a dozen teaching jobs, but no sub — who wasn't a relative of a current employee — was hired for one. Many of the building subs aren't coming back next year."
31."I worked at a poorly run movie theater in high school. It would've been hard for things to get worse, but they brought in new management after a few months. First, they required all projectionists to wear ties, even though the public never saw projectionists, and projectionists worked around rapidly spinning objects that a tie could get caught in. After they refused to reconsider the policy, every projectionist quit. Second, they decided that door people — always scheduled seven days a week — would only be scheduled on weekends and refused to reassign any to accommodate lost hours. Every single door person quit, including me. Third, they imposed cleanliness standards on concessions. This included scraping popcorn kernels out of the cracks in the trim behind the popcorn machines. Employees were there until 5 a.m. every night to meet their standards, so they eventually quit. Within three weeks, the theater went from a staff of 50 to 12."
32."I worked in construction as part of a health, safety, and environment team. The chief engineer was pissed that the job was slower because of the HSE procedures. We had a couple of lost time incidents at this point, and just a week before, a guy almost died. Nevertheless, he was still pissed about the delays, so he got everyone in a room to say, 'You're not here to do your jobs. You're here to do what I tell you to do.' Twenty people asked to quit on the spot."
33."I worked at a local restaurant that had recently changed owners. Multiple issues immediately came up, and things were tense. After a month, we were only hanging in there because we liked each other, but others and I had started looking for new jobs. Anyway, one waitress was a young mother who needed the job. One night, she got a call that her grandmother had had a severe stroke and was unresponsive. They didn't expect her grandmother to make it through the night, so she asked to take off and start her three-hour drive to Dallas. The manager said of course, but the new owner said no. The manager and owner got into a verbal fight in the back while the waitress pleaded her case, crying. The manager said he was done if the owner wouldn't let her go. The owner ended up firing them both on the spot. Within 15 minutes, everyone who hadn't been recently hired walked out of the building."
34."They called everyone into a major company meeting and informed us we were all — except for sales and managers — being offshored to India and the Philippines. They had a plan for us to train our replacements that didn't account for pre-schedule turnover. People started finding jobs the next week, and the hemorrhaging never stopped."
35."They tried to make us do a third straight 16-hour shift while telling us off for taking too long. This was years ago when I was a basic box mover in a courier company. They cut their staff in half and still expected us to do the same amount of work. It got bad enough the head office people came down to supervise us at the end of the shift; we even stopped taking any breaks and worked well past our hours without overtime. The second day they were there, the immediate supervisor of our team (about 10 of us) asked for Christmas Eve off. It was next week, and most of us had family. The bosses refused, so we all quit. Most other workers were disgusted enough by how they treated us to pack in their jobs, too. The entire workforce quit in less than 10 minutes. Three people were in the office that morning when the other 300 of us walked out."
36."Years ago, I worked at a chain salon. There were 14 of us, plus my boss. About half of us were very good, passionate about what we did, and booked with good clientele. Similarly, our boss was wonderful. She didn't micromanage and was a big reason that it didn't feel like a chain. One day, she was fired for cashing a check at work. She bought a product, paid for it with a check, and added an extra $40 so she didn't have to find an ATM before going to a bar. She had been with the company for five years, pulled three salons into the highest-ranking ones in the district, and consistently had salons exceeding their numbers, but just like that, she was fired. Even worse, when I came to work the next day, we weren't allowed to discuss it. We didn't all quit at once, but over the next four months, the top stylists — who brought in 70% of the revenue — left. We took our clientele and went to smaller, private salons."
37."The boss went off on a tirade on me for something that wasn't my fault. I got him to scream, 'People like you are expendable pieces in this company, and I can replace you tomorrow if I want to.' Well, 80% of the engineers quit the next day. They simply didn't show up, including me. From what I know, the entire project folded because my now ex-boss couldn't find people to replace us — no one wanted to do the kind of work he was looking for at the salary he was paying."
38."I worked at a fast-food restaurant in high school and put in my two-week notice the summer before leaving for college. I wanted to enjoy a month without working before I moved away for school. Rather than keeping me on those last two weeks, the store manager decided not to put me on the schedule anymore — which I discovered on what turned out to be the last day I worked. Right after the breakfast crew left, I decided I wouldn't honor the eight-hour shift if they didn't honor the notice. I was done. The thing was, most of the crew that day were also going off to college and had seen what the manager had done, so they fucked off with me. In the middle of the lunch rush, the store was down to the old lady who worked the drive-thru and the manager on duty. That's it."
39."I was the first to quit due to salary disagreement. My tasks were reassigned to other coworkers. A few months later, Coworker A quit. Tasks were reassigned again. Another couple of months later, Coworker B quit. Eventually, Coworker C had a mental breakdown, got drunk, and 'retired' mid-day. Last I heard, the company was bought out by a third party."
40."They reviewed the cameras back three months to catch people coming in less than three minutes late and wrote them all up. About 20 people walked out across the entire unit."
Do you think you would've walked out in these situations? On the other hand, have you found yourself being part of a mass exodus from a company? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!