- More US workers than ever are quitting their jobs in a phenomenon dubbed “The Great Resignation.”
- People are sharing stories of quitting their jobs on the r/antiwork subreddit.
- Many are sharing text interactions they say they had with their bosses.
The largest online forum to celebrate quitting your job is growing faster than ever. “R/antiwork,” a subreddit about “work-free” lifestyles, has swelled to more than 700,000 members over the past two years, an increase that trends alongside the record-breaking number of Americans who have quit their jobs since April 2021.
The US resignation rate is now at a two-decade high in what’s been dubbed “The Great Resignation,” as millions of workers nationwide, from minimum wage earners to mid-career tech and healthcare employees, are leaving their jobs. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that low-paid, mostly in-person roles have accounted for the largest number of quitters this year.
Anthony Klotz, the psychologist who coined the term “Great Resignation,” previously told Insider that the pandemic and loss of life due to the coronavirus may be shifting American workers’ perspectives. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson argues that this unprecedented movement toward quitting is already making strides for workers: low-income wages are rising the fastest they have since the Great Recession, according to Federal Reserve Bank wage-growth trackers.
On the “r/antiwork” subreddit, which was created in 2013 but only recently entered the top 800 most subscribed-to subreddits, according to publicly available Reddit data, some of those recently unemployed service workers are posting screenshots of purported text exchanges that show them telling their managers that they’re resigning.
The biting resignations have resonated with hundreds of thousands of Redditors who are celebrating workers’ decisions to leave behind their toxic bosses and workplaces. These texts have gone viral on and off of Reddit, with one Twitter compilation of two text threads from the subreddit gaining more than 230,000 likes.
-Evan Sutton (@3vanSutton) October 17, 2021
According to the subreddit’s description, the forum is a place for “those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, want to get the most out of a work-free life, want more information on anti-work ideas, and want personal help with their own jobs/work-related struggles.”
Popular posts in the subreddit include anti-capitalist and anti-work sentiments that suggest structural norms around working in the US, like the nine-hour workday and average age of retirement, should be changed.
The forum’s resources section links to American anarchist Bob Black’s 1985 essay “The Abolition of Work,” in which he writes, “In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working. That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play.”
Anti-capitalist beliefs are popular on Reddit in general, as evidenced by the large democratic socialist hubs on the platform. But while left-leaning posts gain traction on the platform, the ideals espoused in them don’t always reflect popular opinions and behaviors. Data suggests that American workers at large aren’t quitting to “stop working,” as Black wrote, but rather to pursue higher-paying jobs and leave bad working conditions amid an abundance of options, experts say.
The purported resignations that are portrayed in the subreddit mostly have to do with minimum wage earners and service workers quitting after being pressured to come into work on their off days, pick up shifts with late notice, and comply with over perceived unfair working conditions.
This rationale was present in another viral purported text exchange on the subreddit, in which a manager asks their employee to come into work the day after their father died. When the employee refuses, their boss tells them to “stop being a victim.”
“Mail me my check. I quit,” the employee’s purported response says. “And go fuck yourself.”