Download this week’s Stylist to read this feature in full.
From major career changes to moving to a new city, the choices of our peers impact how we feel about our own lives. Stylist explores why we’re more open to influence than ever before.
It was the beginning of summer when Kate Brown*, a fashion PR living in London, first began to notice that her colleagues were dropping like flies. Four people on her team of 18 had quit in the past month for a new role at a different company or made the leap to go freelance.
“Every time I heard about another person leaving, it made me wonder why I hadn’t done it yet,” she says. “I wasn’t learning any more – the job didn’t feel creative or inspiring in the same way it once had. I would see my peers enjoying this new-found freedom and think: “I want that.”
It was the impact of watching so many people leave that finally forced her into action. “One day, I opened my laptop and within half an hour I was already frustrated because of work. I started voice-noting my friend who’d already gone freelance to let off some steam, and she said, ‘Why don’t you just leave?’” The next thing Kate did was dial her boss’s number and quit. “Just like that,” she says. “I immediately felt a sense of relief wash over me.”
Kate and her colleagues aren’t alone. Earlier this year, research from HR firm Personio showed that 38% of workers surveyed across the UK and Ireland were planning to quit in the next six months to a year, while a 2020 survey by Aviva found more than half of UK workers wanted to switch careers in the next 12 months.