And some people will quit their jobs. Those people know that Beyoncé isn’t actually telling people to leave their jobs. She’s undeniably a capitalist. If anything, the lyrics are more antiboss than antiwork, with a little bit of the “Be your own boss!” bootstrappy, small-business mentality that can be its own thankless, low-paid grind. She’s giving us only one instruction: to release. That could be a job, but it could also be a relationship, or worry, or pain, or any dead weight that you’re schlepping around in life.
But many, many people will listen to the song with the gleeful knowledge that they’ve already done this by literally quitting their jobs. “Those opening lyrics perfectly capture a shared sentiment we frequently hear from clients: They’re burned out,” Kathy Gardner, V.P. of communications at FlexJobs, tells Glamour. “In fact, lack of healthy work-life boundaries [49%] and being burned out [42%] were among the top factors that contribute to workers deciding to quit their jobs.”
The pandemic saw a phenomenon known as the Great Resignation, a 20-year-high for America’s “quit rate,” in which tens of millions of adults chose to leave their jobs. The top reasons for quitting: low pay, little path to advancement, disrespectful bosses, and lack of childcare.
“This has led to a historically tight job market where workers have more leverage over their employers than we’ve seen in decades,” Lindsay Owens, executive director at the Groundwork Collaborative, tells Glamour. “Alongside this, we see workers also using their leverage to unionize and demand better working conditions across the country.” Now is the time when workers should be pushing for more, she adds. “Corporate profits margins are at 70-year record highs. Workers should be earning more of the value they create at work, and we have a long way to go before they will.”
Owens, who was formerly a senior economic policy adviser to Senator Elizabeth Warren, calls for making use of this power dynamic. “Ensuring that Black and brown workers are able to truly access a healthy labor market will require a lot more,” she says, like “codifying laws that allow workers to exercise their power at work and reforming our labor laws” as well as more comprehensive and accessible paid leave and childcare policies.