Obsolete jobs: what if our world was in need of “the great resignation”?

Niels de Fraguier
6 min readNov 21, 2022

No one can ignore it anymore, our lives have a direct impact on the planet we are inhabiting. Every single choice and action we make impacts our home. The great acceleration of the occidental world from the 50s has led us to unprecedented levels of harm. From carbon emission, biodiversity loss, and extreme weather events, we are reaching tragedy.

Private interests are the main drivers of this ecological collapse. Behind those lie the workforce. Millions of people are trapped in poor working conditions and meaningless careers. This is the train to hell.


As we’re on the ramp to reaching climate tipping points, we need a massive wave of change. A new path for a meaningful future. This could well be the emergence of a rising movement of “great resigners”.

The premise of this wake-up reaction from citizens of the world is an encouragement to the future we can co-create. Many are dropping their harmful jobs and choosing to devote their time and intellect to serving a fulfilling purpose.

Conscious of the harm of their industry, individuals are stepping up for the world they want to leave to their children and generations to come. They are taking responsibility by voicing out their concerns, leaving the obsolete world to create the new.

Driving to hell or shaping the dream

Today’s picture is crystal clear. We know who are the ones driving climate disruption and social inequalities. Fossil fuel companies are the main ones responsible for the risks our humanity is facing. They are the ones pushing us towards the edge — their activities are now fully traceable (https://climatetrace.org/).

Following the invasion of Ukraine and the inflation, the world’s seven biggest oil firms have enjoyed a profit soar to almost £150bn only in early 2022. Beyond their disastrous impact, they are amplifying the deepest societal crises risking the future of humanity.

Looking at the situation, we often forget that behind “monsters companies” hides people. No external force is pushing companies to drive societal collapse. Only humans are doing so. They are — we are — driving on the highway to hell.

Humans being part of such companies have the decision to make: do they want to press the gas or leave the train of psychopathy? It needs to be a conscious choice. While many still hide behind the banner of their company, others are standing up for what feels right to them.

After all, who can enjoy trashing the planet? By leaving their corporate jobs, citizens are co-writing a new story where they refuse to fuel the system. Their convictions are essential; they are weakening the old system while shedding a light on the possibility to say “no” to such monsters.

If many have done it, others can follow and the movement can grow exponentially! The most privileged have to lead the way forward to help the ones depending on work to survive financially. It needs to be a collective initiative involving people from all backgrounds and responsibilities.

Obsolete jobs by bullshit industries

Back in 2018, David Graeber theorized the existence of meaningless jobs depicting their societal harm — called bullshit jobs. A few years later, we can extend this terminology to industries. How could a job be meaningful today in any harmful industry? When massive monsters are greenwashing their true intentions, no job out there is fit for purpose.

The era invites us to see the labour market as a gigantic system where the old and new paradigms are unbalanced until today. Today’s offer for harmful jobs predominates in the market. We know that future-fit sectors such as renewable energy, education, local services and health are in need of people to operate the transition — and are already actively recruiting!

Where the money and workforce flow does the attention goes. Multiple levers are available to facilitate this transition including ambitious policies, new capital flows … and a great resignation! As soon as an exponential great resignation will happen, the system will flip offering millions of new jobs in positive impact industries.

©Josh McDonald

All of us are part of this pool of potential candidates choosing to support a broken system or to co-create what tomorrow could be. This is a matter of choice and conviction to support the status quo or lead from the future. In an era of extreme uncertainty and volatility, choosing the old is riskier than shaping the new. Let’s be honest, choosing to co-shape our collective story is much more exciting and meaningful!

For a purposeful moonshot

The old paradigm we evolve rewards profit over the well-being and happiness of living beings. When a wildfire ravages an area populated with humans and biodiversity, GDP scores high by the economic production of rebuilding the place this will entail. This has never worked and will never work. We need a new moonshot!

With this in mind, the ones choosing to jump off the train to hell are shaping a new story for themselves and the future. They are building a new railway helping us to decelerate and co-create what the world truly needs to thrive.

©Super 8

The act of quitting in itself is already a service given to the world. Beyond this, putting skills and experience in service to make a positive to the world is supporting the transition we need. Imagine if anyone could put itself in service to our collective future (see the North Star framework to find your true purpose).

In an economic paradigm promoting monetary value production and acceleration, the living world is calling us for a slowdown. When dropping obsolete jobs, citizens are making space for themselves to be, feel, and empathize with the world. They are redefining notions of success creating their own vision for what their existence is about.

The question is simple: are you making a positive difference to the world or contributing to its collapse?

None should be blamed for having worked for a harmful industry but all of us should help one another to support the just transition to meaningful jobs for all. We can and must help one another to find our ways and drive collective change.

The choice is ours. Together, we can enable the biggest wave ever of the great resignation. Make the jump!

If you’re on your way to dropping the old to welcome the new, you can get some support with these resources. Get in touch if you want to discuss your next chapter!

🧭 Become a good ancestor Canvas

🌟 North Star framework to find your purpose

🗺️ Make Sense jobs to find a purposeful job

💡 Escape the city to find a purposeful job



Niels de Fraguier

Author of The Regenerative Enterprise. Disrupting the status quo by challenging assumptions, practices, and conventional thinking. Top Writer on Sustainability