What does the “Great Resignation” mean to employees, the people who have remained in their jobs but who may be thinking of greener pastures?
More and more employees are in that position, as the Great Resignation shows no sign of abating. In September, 4.4 million people quit, setting a new record.
All levels of employees are involved. The Society for Human Resource Management surveyed executives and found that almost half had seen higher turnover in the past six months, while a recent Gallup poll reports that nearly half of American workers are “actively searching for new opportunities.”
Even if you’re not actively searching but you’re passively aware of some vague new possibilities, there are things to consider and things to do that will make a difference should you decide to take the plunge.
Let’s start with a relatively easy one. When it comes to career advice, you’re often told that the best route is to “follow your passion.” That works well for people who actually have a passion that translates into something viable.
If there’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do, whether it’s painting watercolors, grooming poodles, writing novels, or distilling gin (or something that combines all four), by all means, consider that option. Perhaps this is the time to ditch the 9 to 5 and go your own way. Give it a shot!
Some of us have passions for practical things. If your passion is coding, or plumbing for that matter, follow it by all means. You will not want for a paycheck.
Not everyone has a passion per se. Some people have something different, driven by a feeling that they want work that’s more meaningful or that better aligns with their values.
That kind of passion often translates into an interest in working for the greater good through the non-profit world, and that’s by no means a passion you should discount.
The non-profit world, in its day-to-day operations, relies upon many of the same skills that are valued in the for-profit world. In other words, your own skills can readily translate into a new role in an environment that gives you the kind of meaning that matters to you. Don’t discount your ability to contribute if that’s the route you choose.
But passion may be the wrong common denominator. We don’t all have passions that are even remotely connected to making a living. So be it, and the result doesn’t have to be a life of quiet desperation.
When it comes to work, it’s not just the paycheck that makes a difference. Employers matter. Organizational culture matters – a lot. Benefits matter, especially if you define them broadly to include things like scheduling flexibility and organizational support for non-work responsibilities like child care.
Even if you don’t leave to follow your passion, there are plenty of good reasons to leave if it makes your quality of life better.
If you’re not about to ditch it all and set out on your own, there’s still a lot to do. Hone the skills you already have, and learn new ones that matter in your field. And work on your network. Talk to people about what skills matter most in the roles you want. Act on that advice, and build bridges to the people who can help you make a move.
When considering a change, don’t forget the “little” things that make big differences like polishing your resume to a fine glow. Those little things are really not so little. People sometimes have a sense that updating a resume is a little thing that takes about 15 minutes. How hard can it be? You add a couple of tweaks, a new accomplishment or two, and you’re done.
In my experience, updating and improving your resume is actually a project that needs attention and a surprising amount of work, and it’s a project that can benefit from some help from a specialist, especially if you’re not really sure about the
hiring process as it exists today. In any event, the Great Resignation is an ideal time to tackle that kind of project head on.
Finally, if you’re considering a change, look beyond the basic pay. In this country, we’re in a system in which benefits, namely health insurance, are tied to your place of employment. If you go out on your own or change jobs, you’ll find either that health insurance is potentially an expensive proposition or that you can end up sacrificing a benefit that you’ll miss. If you give up benefits for the sake of higher pay, be sure that the numbers add up and that you won’t actually be taking home less after the added costs.
And these days, other benefits beyond health insurance loom larger than ever, whether it’s a retirement savings plan, flexibility in hours or days, in-office expectations, vacation time, personal days, or sensitivity to non-work responsibilities. I can’t overstate how much those things matter to making the right move.
My message is simply this: If you do decide to opt for something new, go into it with your eyes wide open, optimize your options, and keep one big goal in mind: what’s best for you and for your total quality of life, your own big picture.
If you need assistance with your resume, I'm happy to help with a variety of resume and cover letter packages to choose from.