According to the Labor Department, a record 4.5 million American workers quit or changed their jobs in November. One doesn’t need to look at a lot of data to figure out the reasons why, one just needs to pay attention.
What we’ve gone through collectively as a planet these last two years is extraordinary. The pandemic changed the game with digital adaptation accelerating everything from how we run our businesses to how as individuals we run our lives.
It also gave all of us a chance to pause. Whether we suddenly found ourselves living 24/7 with our families without an escape hatch or whether we had been living alone and discovered what living alone could really mean, we’ve all been reflecting and reassessing.
What am I doing with my life?
Why am I doing it?
Where do I want it to go moving forward?
For many people that has translated into what they want to do to earn a living, what kinds of people they want to work for and with and how those individuals’ values align with their own.
People like to call this The Great Resignation. Others are likely to use another fan favorite, and call it The Great Reinvention. Since many of those leaving their jobs were Baby Boomers who have used this time to retire earlier than they might have otherwise, I have no doubt there will be someone, somewhere labeling this The Great Retirement. (Retire is a word that personally makes my skin crawl – but that is a subject for another blog.)
Our culture likes labels. We are overly obsessed with putting a name on everything. There’s a degree of comfort in that, especially when we’re walking into the unknown. If we know what we’re going to call something it becomes less scary moving forward. However, labeling also creates preconceived ideas of how something is supposed to be or look, and that can dilute creativity and possibility.
What if all this just means that collectively we are merely reassessing where we are, what we really want, and where we really want to go – something that is pretty healthy and should be done periodically anyway? The only difference now is that this reassessment is happening en masse and generationally agnostic.