We knew last winter it was going to be a hot something summer. Not even counting the wildfires and heat domes, we knew all the pent-up post-pandemic energy that was just waiting to be unleashed was going to spill out into dancing in the streets. And even with the sobering surge of Delta, the dance has arrived in the form of what is being called The Great Resignation. It’s impacted the entire economy, with 8.7M unemployed and 10M job openings, but is perhaps most pronounced in technology. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years now,” said a friend referring to the tech recruiting fireworks on display, “even in the craziest days of the Dot Com rush in the 90s.”

Outdoor scene, woman in fuzzy brown had and sweater with a green scarf playing with many bubbles in front of a crowd of adults
Photo by Alex Alvarez on Unsplash

What’s driving The Great Resignation in tech? Well, according to Marketwatch: pandemic burnout, employee backlash against the all-too-powerful (and not always quite so ethical) in big tech, a startup scene flush with cash, and all industries pouring money into digitalization.

I get it, those are surely some of the solid reasons — but what about some of the emotions at play? Perhaps we can point to a crisis of belonging: In a survey of tech workers in July, 50% said they had left or wanted to leave “because the company culture made them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable”, while 68% said they have felt uncomfortable because of “their gender/ethnicity/socio-economic background or neurodevelopmental condition,” writes Steven Melendez in Fast Company.

With the “normal” challenges of building an inclusive culture amplified through the pandemic’s sudden move to remote work, and the loneliness of quarantine, colliding with a wave of newly remote positions, rethinking of work/life balance, and a hearty splash of YOLO (and maybe a twist of FOMO), the result is a frothy summer where many more developers are on the move for many more open positions in an already typically busy recruiting space.

Has this massive change in the market brought newfound influence or negotiating power to developers? Perhaps “Yes”, at least anecdotally, as companies are forced to shift to quicker interview cycles, or even dropping coding rounds altogether for senior developers.

And what’s to come out of this “new normal”, where remote or hybrid is the default at your new gig? Luckily for tech The Great Resignation is also The Great Reset, where you can imagine different ways to find meaning in your work — that feeling of belonging as a part of something much larger than yourself — beyond the curly braces and semicolons.

It’s not just a mass job search, it’s a post-pandemic hunt for purpose.

[Originally posted as a Linked In article]