The Corner Office

The next job market phenomenon: The Big Regret?


Just a couple of months ago, everyone was talking about the Great Resignation or the Big Quit. I even talked about it in this column. This mass migration of professionals changing jobs (or even industries) for greener pastures or leaving the workforce entirely fundamentally changed the look of the job market.

Whatever industry you were in, whether you were hiring a barista or a senior sales executive, suddenly everyone was desperate and hiring much more generously. Better salaries, better benefits, better everything. And hopefully, you got yourself into a stable position, because we’re entering a new era on the job market — the Big Regret.

If you're a team leader or any sort of manager, there’s a real chance you lost some people in the Big Quit. And given how difficult it's been to hire for essential positions, you might not have replaced them yet. But there may be a way to get the perfect candidate into these key positions — people who have already trained for the job, in fact.

There’s new evidence that a plurality of people who changed jobs during the Great Resignation are rethinking their choice. There could be any number of causes. Fears of an oncoming recession could make new employees nervous for their futures, some individuals who made a change for the sake of making a change, or they might just have good old-fashioned buyer’s remorse. Whatever the cause, many people are reporting that they’d happily go back to the jobs they left just a few months ago.

So if your star employee left to chase something bigger, there's a real chance they regret that decision. And I know it can be difficult to invite someone back after they have left, but you have to consider why they made a change.

Was it because they were performing poorly and causing trouble on the team? Did they send off a rude email on their last day? Then sure, you have my blessing, consider that bridge burned.

But if they, like a lot of people who left their old positions, just wanted to improve themself and advance their career, then you need to get over your ego and see how their new engagement is working out. In fact, I’d posit that you should look at this as an opportunity for improvement as well — improvement by organizing your team in such a way that you have the best people operating at the highest levels to work toward your collective success.

So, do you have a position that still needs to be filled? If so, consider whether or not this is a position you can see withstanding the recession. Because while the jury is still out on the specifics of the recession, there's already clear movement in the market that something is going to happen. And you’re much more likely to attract savvy talent if you’re offering a recession-resistant position.

I know the last thing that any of us wants to hear right now is to hire a new person. I certainly haven’t had fun hiring to fill vacancies, and in all likelihood, I’m still not done hiring in 2022. But I'm going to grin and bear it because I know I will need qualified people on my team when the recession is brought to bear.

And I hope that this message hasn't been lost on you as an individual. Because while some people are undeniably regretting their career moves, it’s also true that most people aren’t.

Maybe you were part of the Big Quit. How do you feel about where you’ve landed? Are you happy in this role? Do you feel stable and ready to weather the storm? If not, you haven’t missed your chance. There’s still a lot of movement in the job marketplace, and while some people regret their career moves, that doesn't mean that every job has suddenly been filled.

There are still many opportunities on the market, but you should know that the window is closing. Reevaluate your position and confirm that you're where you want to be for the foreseeable future, or choose to find a job that can provide more security for what’s coming.

If you play it right, you’ll be able to catch the tail end of the Big Quit without accidentally taking part in the Big Regret.

Doug Phares is the former CEO of the Sandusky News Group. He currently serves as managing director of Silverwind Enterprises, which owns and provides management services to small businesses. He can be reached at


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