The Great Resignation

This just in from Joel Golby:

I have never been in an office environment that has been conducive to work. Think of the constant emails about the shared fridges; the radio that is on for some reason; the guy making an ostentatiously loud phonecall on Bluetooth headphones. Never in my life have I seen a photocopier or central printer placed in a position where the sound and smell of it doesn’t disturb at least three people.

Obviously, my relentless list of grudges is far better and funnier but probably couldn’t be published in a newspaper.

Golby’s piece appeared on the back of what the pundits are calling The Great Resignation: an apparent mass quitting of bullshit jobs in the UK and US.

A couple of months into the Pandemic, a large number of office workers suddenly found themselves (a) working from home, and (b) taking stock of what really matters after being faced so full-frontally with d.e.a.t.h.

Some of them also, (c), found themselves with capital for the first time after saving so much paycheck money thanks to no longer being able to go anywhere or do anything.

Almost two years (!) later, those handily-itemised chickens have come home to roost. (a) and (b) equate to the gift of time to think without the shrapnel of office/commuter life blasting into soft and vulnerable faces for ten hours a day. (c) means an an escape fund never planned to accrue.

(a), (b), and (c) combine, Voltron-like, into the perfect circumstances for A MASS ESCAPE. Or at the very least, a chance for some people who, despite everything that has been done to them still have good bodies and minds, to try something different.

Many people will squander this opportunity as is their right or not notice it at all, but others will have already awoken to the realisation that, holy crap, the whole exhausting project was a scam and that the door marked “exit” was open all along. It is still open.

So what to do? Well, the Guardian, served up some borderline clickbait this morning, containing the secondhand weasel words of some buttonholed wimps. See if reading that is at all helpful, but escape artists of character can also buy my book. It was first published in 2016 but it’s more applicable than ever now, and it doesn’t mention Covid once. (I have maybe 3 discount copies left, actually.)

I’m glad that so many people now have the time and money to throw in the towel in pursuit of something more useful or pleasant. The Great Resignation, if it’s real, is potentially a meaningful time to be alive. But the real “Great Resignation” (and yes, yes, the media have just called it that to make it sound historically important) was when so many of us resigned ourselves to office jobs in the first place.

In other news, Colin the Caterpillar — the uninvited spirit animal of British office bods — is now available in a jar, presumably for the white-collar worker who, from home, no longer has to care about appearances or dignity or acting like a salaried adult in the slightest! Imagine eating sugary cake (not a sugary cake, mind you, but simply sugary cake) out of a jar. IMAGINE IT. And now imagine being destitute and eating something you scraped off somebody’s mudflap; tell me that there’s any noticeable difference in the sense of impoverishment you feel. Yum!

Sorry if I sound at all grumpy today, lovely reader. After months of protests and professional advocacy, they’re still trying to close my local library. For what it’s worth, please sign the petition. x


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “The Great Resignation”

  1. Tom says:

    Sorry to hear about your local library, Mr.Wringham. Perhaps, now that most office spaces will become redundant, some of those hideous blocks of concrete will be transformed into beautiful cathedrals of discarded books that no one, except for we discerning types, seem to want to pick up and read.
    Seriously, what is going to happen to those unpopulated office blocks? Entire sections of cities, perhaps completely redundant? Should be fascinating to find out!

  2. I honestly don’t know what will happen to the empty office blocks. I suspect they will just become offices again, business as usual. Or maybe they will be remodeled to become smaller offices on the flexi/co-working model. Or maybe they’ll just stay empty? We have a fair few of those in the centre of Glasgow, right by one of our country’s most major train stations. I wonder about town centres, actually, and their being increasingly redundant. Residential areas away from the centre (but not yet the suburbs) are where the action is now. I had a feature lined up for the Idler before the pandemic about this but it never appeared: I expect it would have seemed too cruel/crass to discuss (even celebrate) the death of the high street when everything was closing up and locking down in such a frightening way. Town centres will eventually be claimed either by the local government-assisted hipster small business (hopefully) or else big property developers with their crap student/starter flats.

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