The impact of COVID will affect our personal lives, families, economy and world for a long time. It makes sense, then, to assume that it will also have long-term effects on employment opportunities and the patterns of the American workforce. For example, many workers left their jobs after the pandemic, causing some to name this time the “Great Resignation.”
Stuck at home and working from a kitchen table, bed, or makeshift office, many Americans began to contemplate their employment choices. It was easy to see which employers put their workers first during lockdown, and many people in the workforce had a change of heart, leaning enthusiastically in the direction of pursuing passions rather than working only for money. Some really enjoyed working from home and wanted to keep that as part of their day-to-day life. Others felt burnout set in, especially once they hit the middle of the pandemic.
Whatever the cause, a mass exodus of workers emerged, with a whopping 4.3 million people quitting their jobs in the past year. That is the largest number ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We can’t chalk it up to just a change of heart. Workers want more out of their jobs, employees want better treatment and more flexibility from employers, and these numbers show that change is afoot. So, how do you navigate the Great Resignation?
Be honest with yourself
Whether you’re sticking with your job or searching for another, this high quit rate has the potential to affect the entire American workforce. If you’re planning to leave your job, you may have a whole host of concerns and worries, such as how to pay your bills in the interim or find another job you love. It is important to first make sure you understand what is not working in regard to your current job. Is it something that could change if you speak to your manager, such as needing a raise or more flexibility in your schedule? Or does the issue run deeper than that? Reflecting on these things will not only give you more clarity but also allow you to see more plainly the direction you want to go with your job search.
Hitting the road?
If you know without a doubt you want to head to brighter pastures, there are a few things to keep in mind. Plan to give yourself a transition period so you can figure out exactly what you want to do and what your next move will be. You can cushion yourself during this time by saving money beforehand and trying to reduce expenses while you are out of work. This may be a great time to take a class, workshop, or course to help you in the direction of your new and unfolding career path.
It will likely feel scary to step out of a role you’re used to filling. It will probably feel even scarier to have no job and be in a transitional period. Be gentle with yourself during this time and maintain your focus so you can move successfully into the next phase of your life. Find support from friends, family, and even coworkers as you try to manage the emotional roller coaster that job hunting may become.
If you really like your job and want to stay, you can still leverage the Great Resignation. Yeah, you may be happy with your fellow coworkers, your manager, and even the weekly memos that float around. But, if you’re setting your sights on a more flexible schedule, including work-from-home days, higher pay, or a few extra benefits, now is a great time to ask for it.
Employees have more power now than ever before, thanks to the effects of the global pandemic. Many employers are looking for ways to keep employees happier, healthier, and more engaged in their work. Think about it: If your employer had to replace all its staff, the training of new personnel would cost ample time and money. With so many people leaving the workforce, those who stick around are even more important team members.
Make the Great Resignation work for you. Whether you need a change in your life and career path or want to make sure you continue to feel happy and supported in your current job, employees should feel empowered to ask for what they need or seek something that makes them more fulfilled and happy than ever.