Throwing Caution to the Wind or “The Great Resignation”
Many years ago, before I had kids, I decided I wanted to travel the world. I was out of college a few years and it was a dream that I’d had since I was young. I did not get resounding support from many of the people I cared about, but I had support from enough people to give me the confidence to set out on the adventure of a lifetime. At the time I was a Case Manager at a Brain Injury Rehab and was living in the North End in Boston. I quit my job, sold my furniture and car, and set out to backpack for 13 months. The push back I received was partly about safety but more so about stability. When you get a good job, an affordable place to live and things are going well, you don’t just quit! My boss at the time made a joke after hearing about my plans “well I hope you don’t end up on a milk carton”, which was referring to the common practice at that time for missing persons.
The pandemic has forced many people to rethink careers, lifestyles, and their own sense of purpose. What is referred to as #TheGreatResignation is the number of people who are deciding to leave their employer, retire early or change careers. Is it really The Great Resignation or are we all just coming to our senses? Most of us can remember the days when they started to cancel schools and introduce remote work at the beginning of pandemic. Zoom was suddenly a commonly used word. It seems somewhat surreal and admittedly many didn’t believe it would last more than a few days or weeks. Two years later, everyone is ‘done’. There are various reasons many include feelings of isolation, inability to travel, possibly impacted by loss of income or a business that didn’t survive. Let’s not forget those who lost their life from COVID, and the loved ones left behind or who lost a loved one from other illness and had limited time with them over the last two year due to the restrictions. This is a lot of loss for anyone. Loss of freedom, loss of routines and fear of the unknown, the list goes on. However, we also had more time to think, eat dinner together as a family, and engage in hobbies during the times we would typically be commuting.
I recently read a great article Why You Should Work Less and Spend More Time on Hobbies by Gaetano DiNardi in the Harvard Business Journal. It’s a thought provoking read on what has changed in our culture with busy schedules and the loss of that down time where you did activities like working on a model car or sewing. These activities allowed our brains to switch off; they were meditative. As we think of whether individuals are Throwing Caution to the Wind during “The Great Resignation”, each situation is unique: deciding to stay home with young children and put a career on hold; retiring early to travel; starting a business doing what they love etc. Many may question whether they can afford the change long term, worry about retirement savings, stability if there is a recession, health insurance. Proceed wisely. My thirteen months around the world were the happiest and healthiest days of my life. You could argue that it was because I was in my 20’s with no responsibilities, and there is truth to that but I was also living my dream. Shortly after returning I began the life we’re supposed to have', start your career, get married, buy a house, have kids. I often felt my trip set me back in my career and felt like I was always catching up. I now realize that’s not the case, it advanced who I was as a person. I gained insight on the world outside the US, different cultures and lifestyles. I know I had an experience many people never have the opportunity to have, much less even realize the value it holds.
As I read statements like, The Covid-19 pandemic catalyzed changes that had long been brewing, and according to a new Bain & Company survey, 58% of workers across 10 major economies feel the pandemic has forced them to rethink the balance between their work and their personal lives. BOSTON, Jan. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ I will remember my year backpacking and the adventures I experienced, like jumping out of a plane in Taupo, New Zealand at the center of three volcano’s. I believe this 2022 industrial revolution will bring back the #humanexperience and will hopefully allow individuals and families to realize their true priorities and values in this one life we have.
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