Gen Z and millennials aren't the only ones quitting their jobs. Gen X is quietly helping drive the Great Resignation.
- It's not just millennials and Gen Z who are quitting above pre-pandemic levels.
- Gen X called it quits at a higher rate than millennials in the first quarter of 2022.
For some, it could all come down to a midlife crisis.
In the first quarter of 2022, the number of resignations among workers aged 40 and older increased over 33% for each age group measured, according to a Vox analysis of data from the people analytics provider Visier. That's greater growth than that of the under-40 age groups, which all saw increases of less than 32%.
While younger Americans may have driven the rise in resignations over the past year-and-a-half, older workers are helping to keep quit rates near record-highs. Some have found a job that pays more or is a better fit, and many have pursued the flexibility of working remotely or starting a business. Record job openings, financial flexibility, and even a midlife crisis have nudged others to explore new opportunities.
A midlife crisis could be nudging many Gen Xers to quit
The midlife crisis is a real phenomenon, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The researchers documented "a crisis of midlife" in rich countries like the United States where life satisfaction declines in middle age and negative experiences, including "intense job strain," rise.
Per the paper, the "maximum level of work stress" is reached around the age of 45, and can lead to elevated blood pressure, depression, and poor mental health. Pew Research defines Gen X as people born from 1965 to 1980, or roughly ages 42-57 today. While these ages are often peak earnings years, it may not translate to job satisfaction — leading many to explore other job opportunities.
After nearly 30 years working for large corporations in the automobile industry, Christian Treiber wanted to pursue something different. He joined an electric vehicle startup, where he hopes to "make a change to a company that does not have the legacy," he told Insider last December.
For individuals like Treiber, a career shift can provide rejuvenation that may extend their careers. In 2017, Boston College researchers found that workers who change jobs in their 50s are over 9% more likely to remain in the labor force until at least age 65. The job-switching could not only enhance job satisfaction, but — if workers are motivated to work longer — the researchers said it could improve their "retirement prospects."
Though Gen X's aggregate net worth rose 50% during the first year-and-a-half of the pandemic, inflation has since eroded savings and the stock market's fluctuations have made some soon-to-be retirees nervous.
Have you dealt with extreme stress at your job and are willing to share your story about how you're coping? Reach out to this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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