When I was in charge of a small office, most of the members of staff were trainees.

They all had some professional qualifications before they joined the company and generally it took about two years before they were fully qualified and became ‘seniors’.

And that’s when the problems started for me. Having qualified, staff members not unreasonably started to look for new opportunities and I could almost guarantee they would hand in their notice and go off to pastures new.

A bit of what HR professionals call ‘churn’ was to be expected and sometimes it helped to freshen things up a bit. A little youthful enthusiasm goes a long way.

The problem was ‘turnover contagion’. As Anthony C Klotz, a professor of management at University College London's School of Management, puts it: “When you have colleagues who leave first, it's almost always a bummer because usually it's a little bit more work for you.

"At the same time, though, it puts the idea in your head that it's doable to make that leap. It’s hard to stop that cycle of resignations for organisations, because with each one, it's like it logically puts the idea in other people's minds about the possibility of it.”

Back in the day, I witnessed this in real life, losing virtually an entire team in six months or so as the turnover contagion rapidly spread.

It wasn’t really a problem for me. Yes, there was a bit of extra administration but there was a steady stream of people wanting to do the job.

Fast forward to today and that’s not the case in my industry and in many others.

Back in May, for the first time since records began there were fewer unemployed people than job vacancies, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Job vacancies rose to a record of 1.3 million in February to April, as unemployment continued to drop to 3.7 per cent.

Of course you don’t need me to tell you that one of the reasons for the labour shortage is the post-Brexit ending of freedom of movement that saw tens of thousands of EU workers return to the home countries leaving a staggering number of unfilled vacancies in the care, health hospitality and agriculture sectors.

But there is another factor at play here the so-called ‘great resignation’. People first began leaving their jobs en masse in early 2021 and this seemed to be a direct effect of the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

Many workers resigned due to fears for their health and safety because of Covid-19 and I was one of them.

Yes, I’m part of the great resignation statistics. My reason for quitting was quite clear.

There was no way on this earth I was going to commute on a crowded train then sit for eight hours in an unventilated office before getting back on that crowded train to come home in the middle of a pandemic.

For much of 2021 I was allowed to work from home and that was just fine by me but the moment I was told to go back to the office I put in my notice.

But even with Covid restrictions lifted, the resignation letters are still piling up. All those weeks and months of lockdown and of having to find new ways of working gave employees time to contemplate their future at work and the role they want it to play in their lives.

Kristie McAlpine, professor of management at Rutgers University School of Business in the US says it was the Covid crisis that caused a shift in priorities.

She said: “We were going through a time where we lost millions of people. It’s hard to imagine how that can all occur and not kind of force us to think about what’s important to us.”  

And that’s fine. I can get on board with people thinking about what’s important to them but I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for us.

It’s all well and good packing in your job for a better quality of life when you have the safety net of seemingly limitless vacancies but with inflation soaring and energy prices reaching eye-watering levels it looks very much like a recession is just around the corner.

Stories are already starting to emerge about businesses contemplating shutting up shop because the cost of energy makes them unviable.

Remember the 1970s and 80s? I do and the situation we are all facing now has dark echoes of those times of high inflation and high unemployment.

It wasn’t great then and it won’t be great this time.