A Therapist’s View on Why Everyone Is Resigning

It all has to do with who holds the power

Lee McKay Doe
Published in
4 min readOct 11, 2021


Photo: Bim/Getty Images

I’ve been reading about The Great Resignation and following the trend of “rage-quitting” with great interest and little wonder. As a therapist, I’ve sat with many people who feel the deep hopelessness of not being able to leave a job they hate.

In the therapy room, we can only work with what is within the client’s power. I can’t change the toxic boss or the discriminatory policies, so if leaving isn’t an option, we focus on how to cope and survive. It‘s sad and frustrating.

I welcome what I see as a seismic shift in the balance of power between employer and employee. Our personal relationships rarely last when we feel controlled or taken for granted, so why should our professional ones?

It’s not that all organizations are bad or unable to change. I spent over a decade in corporate life before becoming a therapist and I experienced the good, the bad and the downright ugly. The point is that you don’t have to stay in the ugly ones when there are plenty of fish in the sea.

I recently asked my 35k+ social media audience what was driving them to quit. I was bowled over by the response. Not just at the sheer volume of people who are thinking of it, but by how familiar the reasons are. The problems are still the same, they’ve just been highlighted and exasperated by the pandemic.

Here is a summary of the top three reasons that were reported:


This was shared as two polar opposites, from feeling completely invisible to being micromanaged. It seems like the pandemic has triggered behavioral extremes, which (understandably) feel more like trauma responses.

One is what I would refer to as the “freeze response,” where bosses cope by going underground. Teams are left feeling isolated and disconnected. Some individuals shared how lonely they felt and how they no longer felt vital to the team or company.

The other extreme looks like the “flight response,” where we avoid any discomfort with busyness and “doing.” I got a sense that leaders are dealing with uncertainty by micromanaging to give a false sense of control. One person shared that their…



Lee McKay Doe
Writer for

A therapist who writes about careers, fulfilment and being your true self. IG @thecareertherapist. For resources go to https://www.thecareertherapist.com