The Perfect Job is an Illusion

Jacqueline Dooley
8 min readMar 13, 2022

The Great Resignation was inevitable.


Everywhere you look, people are quitting their jobs and other people (mostly corporate executives) are trying to figure out why. But it’s not hard to get to the core of what’s causing The Great Resignation.

Recently published data from The Pew Research Center reveals the main reasons people are quitting. Topping the list are low pay, no opportunity to advance, and feeling disrespected. Other issues include a need for (or lack of) childcare, zero flexibility, and poor benefits.

These issues are nothing new, but it seems like workers are experiencing a kind of collective epiphany that’s happening across all industries and business sectors. People are deciding they don’t want to deal with all the crap anymore.

Two years of death and disease forced us to confront our mortality, so that’s one thing that happened. But another is how so many businesses handled the pandemic in first place. Companies from Amazon to Walmart to ASOS put their people in danger, making it clear that employees are expendible in the most literal sense.

Before Covid, the fact that workers were easily-replaced cogs in an ever-turning corporate wheel seemed inevitable. That’s capitalism, right? So most of us put our heads down and got the work done.

But then the plague came and we saw with painful clarity that life is, perhaps, much shorter than we thought it was. Through the lense of this newly realized vulnerability, people began quitting their jobs and leaving their chosen professions.

Tired of the grind, the long hours, the discrimination, the poor working conditions, and the relentless expectation to always be available on email or Slack or mobile, the world’s workers began leaving their dead end jobs. As of January 2022, this mass exodus has shown no signs of slowing.

But why did people wait so long to leave? Why quit a cushy office job in the midst of a pandemic when having a job is so critical to identity (not to mention survival?) I don’t think it’s because people stopped wanting to work, as dubious career luminary Kim Kardashian eloquently chirped in a recent Variety article.

No, I think people are leaving because the pandemic broke the spell of fear and…

Jacqueline Dooley

Essayist, content writer, bereaved parent. Bylines: Human Parts, GEN, Marker, OneZero, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Pulse, HuffPost, Longreads, Modern Loss