Ex-JPMorgan Trader Sells Jam, Inspires Italians Who Want to Quit
(Bloomberg) -- After four years in the trenches as a London-based trader for firms including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Andrea Tagliabue decided he’d had enough. Now, the story of how he packed it in and returned to his native Lombardy to create a new life closer to the land is inspiring other Italians who want to move on from their jobs.
Tagliabue, who taught himself to grow strawberries and parlayed the skill into the trendy Banker’s Jam spreads and juices business, has become an Italian media darling of late, and the one-time banker says he’s been flooded with questions from fed-up employees -- including some former colleagues in finance -- who want to ditch the desk jobs and get their hands dirty.
Indeed, more Italians than ever are rethinking their career and life goals. Echoing the U.S.’s Great Resignation, workers in the country are quitting at record rates. Voluntary resignations jumped 85% in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to the latest labor data. The quit rate -- voluntary resignations over total employees -- rose to 2.12%, the highest in at least five years, according to think tank lavoce.info.
But the Italian version of the resignation trend comes with a local twist, hearkening back to the country’s food-based culture and agrarian roots. The number of farm businesses run by people under 35 years of age grew 14% last year, lobbying group Coldiretti says, with the surge driven by entrepreneurs from other sectors getting into agriculture for the first time.
Tagliabue, who set up Banker’s Jam in 2018, was one of them. “I told myself, enough with the stress, the crazy work hours,” the 33-year-old said. “Now I work for myself and I can see the fruits of what I’m creating,” he said, acknowledging the pun.
While success stories like Tagliabue’s may be inspiring more Italians to chuck it in and follow their dreams, the end of a temporary, pandemic-driven ban on dismissals could have something to do with it too.
At least some of the recent job exits may be “forced resignations” following the ban’s expiration, lavoce researcher Francesco Armillei said on the think tank’s website. “But it could also be people who had an epiphany during the crisis.”
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