Seizing the Opportunity of the Great Resignation
If you’ve tuned into the news over the past year or so, I’m guessing you’ve heard about “The Great Resignation.” Here’s the gist of it, just in case: So many workers have left their jobs and forged new career paths over the course of the pandemic that employers in nearly every field are struggling to fill positions and keep their operations up and running.
Among our career counseling and coaching clients, there are so many reasons for this, from difficulty finding child care, to burnout, to working conditions that feel unsafe. But for many, the pandemic has brought something else into focus: awareness about what’s actually important to them, what they want to be doing with their time, and how they really feel about their work.
I believe this is an expression of post-traumatic growth, and it’s one of the few silver linings of the past two years. When we live through traumatic events, we tend to emerge with new clarity about what really matters, and we can use that insight to change our lives for the better. And your career is an excellent place to start — we spend an enormous chunk of our lives at work, and I hope that you’ll do everything you can to choose work that feels meaningful, rewarding, and worthwhile to you.
If the pandemic has inspired you to consider a big career change, this episode of the podcast is for you. My guest is Dr. Lisa S., a past president of the National Career Development Association, former director of career services at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a career counselor and coach here at Growing Self.
We’re talking about what the Great Resignation means for you, and how you can use this moment as a springboard for radical, positive career growth. I hope you’ll tune in, on this page, Spotify, Apple podcasts, or wherever you listen.
All the best,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
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Seizing the Opportunity of the Great Resignation: Episode Highlights
If the pandemic has you questioning whether you’d be happier in a different job, or on a different career path entirely, you may be an excellent candidate to join the Great Resignation — or benefit from it, whether or not you actually quit your job.
Millions of American workers have left their jobs over the course of the pandemic, and this reshuffling of the workforce has created new opportunities for job seekers in many fields. If you’re considering a big career change, the Great Resignation may be your moment.
What is the Great Resignation?
Since the onset of the pandemic, an unprecedented number of workers have voluntarily left their jobs. Career experts call this phenomenon the Great Resignation, AKA the “Big Quit,” and say it signals a major shift in our attitudes toward work.
One of the few silver linings of the pandemic may be this time to reflect on what’s most important to us, and how we’d really like to be spending our time. If you’re considering a career change amidst the Great Resignation, you’re in great company — and your timing is impeccable.
Great Resignation Statistics
Nearly four million workers quit their jobs every month in 2021, the highest monthly average since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping records in 2000. The trend peaked in November with 4.5 million quits — a staggering three percent of the total American workforce.
This produces a great climate for job seekers, who will find many open positions and many employers willing to make concessions on salary, location, and other conditions in order to attract workers.
Reasons for the Great Resignation
Why are so many people quitting their jobs en masse?
No one can say for sure what’s driving the Great Resignation. But many people have arrived in career counseling because, after a period of introspection during the pandemic, they’re starting to see their careers through a new lens — and to question whether they’re really content with their “life’s work” such as it is. There’s data to back up this observation too; a survey by Indeed found that 92 percent of Great Resigners say “Life is Too Short to Stay in a Job You’re Not Passionate About.”
In the midst of a public health crisis, people are not only sacrificing their time for work, but also in many cases their safety, which calls into question whether or not the tradeoff is really worth it. If you’re not doing what you love, chances are it’s not.
Seizing the Opportunity of the Great Resignation
The news is full of headlines about workers leaving their jobs and employers struggling to fill positions. For any worker who’s not totally content where they are, this moment presents an opportunity to get unstuck and find something better.
If you’re not paid what you should be, not happy with what you’re doing, or you’re feeling stuck in a toxic workplace, this could be the time to make your move. During a labor shortage, workers have the upper hand, and your chances of getting hired elsewhere are good.
Finding Meaning Through Work
Many people have quit their jobs not just because of the pay or working conditions, but because they’ve realized their work isn’t really their passion. Ultimately, it’s hard to feel passionate about anything that’s not attached to any greater meaning for you.
So, how can you find work that feels meaningful, if you’re currently in a career that feels pointless, uninteresting, or empty? Getting in touch with your core values is a great place to start. Maybe you value creativity, or service to others, or teamwork, and there’s a career out there that would allow you to live out those values more closely. Find out what you value, and you’ll find out what motivates you and ultimately what makes work feel meaningful.
Making the Great Resignation Work for You
If you have goals for your career, it’s important to be proactive about them. Wandering from one job to another without a clear outcome in mind is unlikely to lead you where you’d like to go.
The Great Resignation and the labor market it’s created is an opportunity to reflect on the current state of your career, reimagine what’s possible, and make a bold, strategic move that sets you up for a bright career future.
Episode Show Notes:
[02:53] The Great Resignation of 2021
- The pandemic has produced an overwhelming workforce turnover, with 4.5 million workers resigning from their jobs in November 2021 alone.
- Many employees who left their jobs say they feel life is too short for work they aren’t passionate about.
- With so many ways to earn income, people don’t need to settle for jobs they dislike.
[10:34] Developing Your Passion
- A sense of mastery arises when you're good at what you do. This can be incredibly rewarding.
- The silver lining of the pandemic is that people have found time to reflect on their ideal pursuits.
[31:37] Growth Opportunities in Leadership
- Some employers choose to just reassign their employees instead of firing them.
- Recurring self-doubt makes it hard to pursue your career goals. Counseling can help.
- If you desire positive outcomes in your career, you need to be proactive about seeking them out.
Music in this episode is by Love, with the song “Red Telephone.”