Now, more than ever, people are reassessing what’s important in their lives and choosing to quit their jobs in what has been termed ‘The Great Resignation’. What’s causing this shift? Why are people leaving despite the economic uncertainty? Should you join them?
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The 9-to-5 Escape Plan workshop: In this free workshop series, discover how to plan to quit your job as we take you through the 5 pillars you need to work on to make your ‘escape from the 9 to 5’ work for you. Secure your spot at onestepoutside.com/escape
The Outsiders Business Incubator: This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
The Great Resignation
Hi there, and welcome back. I am your host Anna Lundberg, and we’re here to talk about the big headline that I’m sure you must have seen in the past weeks and months, which is that of the Great Resignation, capital G, capital R. The Great Resignation. So if you haven’t seen the headline, or just to jog your memory and give you a bit of an understanding of what we’re talking about here, the big headline is, and the date I keep seeing is April, as many as four million workers quit their jobs in the US in April alone. So it’s just one month, one country. But of course, the bigger trend that we’re seeing is a lot of people post-pandemic, if we can talk about post-pandemic, are choosing to leave their jobs.
So the question of course is why? Considering the economic uncertainty, record-breaking unemployment levels, everything that’s happened the last year or so, why are people choosing then to quit their jobs?
We might think, “Oh my goodness, we should be grateful that we have a job, that we have a salary, that we’re healthy, by the way, and alive, first of all, because that’s been in question, and that we can take care of our families and we should be grateful that we have a job.” Of course, there has been a lot of fear around our physical well-being, our financial wellbeing. And yet there has been a shift, a reassessment of priorities. And I think the flexibility that so many people have had, unusually so, of working from home, being furloughed, perhaps not working, or even facing redundancy has facilitated this reassessment. We’ve not been burdened by that commute, the rigid working day. We’ve had much more time to think about what really matters. And therefore we’ve seen this shift in priorities to focus on family, health, ultimately what really matters.
So in some cases it may be that you or other people had wanted to leave anyway, and that this has just put the final nail in the coffin. Either your employer has treated you very poorly, maybe you felt undervalued, unheard, the poor company culture has really pushed you to the breaking point. Handled the furlough scheme, maybe even redundancy, or just generally the whole experience of the last year or so very poorly. That could be the case. You’re sort of being pushed out of a particular company. And of course, people leave their bosses really, rather than a company, is always the story that we hear.
Or it may be they’re being pulled in a new direction, again. To think, “Hang on a second. Now, maybe I can begin to imagine, remind myself of all the things I wanted to do when I was younger. All these ideas I’ve had on holidays and so on before. I can look for my dream job. I can start a business, finally. I can try to build this flexibility and freedom into a different way of working. I’ve loved the freedom to take a walk at lunchtime, to have dinner with my family every night, to manage my time so I can get up early some days, have a lie in other days, work late, start early, start late, whatever that looks like.” so I think for good reason, the emperor’s clothes have suddenly been stripped away, or at least our eyes have finally been open opened, and we’ve understood, “Hang on a second. We don’t have to work this way. We maybe don’t want to work this way.”
Commuting to a job that we don’t love, that we don’t particularly feel challenges us, that doesn’t give us the freedom, the flexibility we’re after we really have higher expectations now of our jobs, of our employers.
We read always about the millennials, and I’m sort of a millennial and you’re an X or Y, all sorts of things. I don’t know about you. And there’s of course, new generations Z now, and they want purpose and flexibility. And I think it’s not just them. It’s all of us. I work with clients who are nearing retirement. I work with clients who are younger. Mostly with people who have experience of full-time employment. And that’s why we’ve been burned and understood that side, but also of course, to our advantage, have a lot of skills and strengths and experience under our belt.
But we have higher expectations now, and we’re looking for more opportunities, more flexibility, more focused on our wellbeing. So if you are a company, and I know you are an individual who is perhaps a senior director manager in your company, maybe even you’re a CEO, you will need to focus on providing that environment, providing those opportunities to employees, focusing on personal and professional development for employees, helping them connect to a bigger purpose to their own purpose, but also having a clear social purpose, a purpose for your company. Allowing for flexibility. Money isn’t enough anymore. If you read Dan Pink’s book Drive on what motivates us…
Again, in one of the webinars I run, we talk about the importance of, in particular, autonomy, and there’s a great video if you Google it, just Google Dan Pink Drive and you’ll find it, where he… There’s a fantastic animated cartoon that talks through that actually money beyond a certain level isn’t the motivator, and that’s perhaps surprising to us, but maybe not so surprising, because again and again, I dig into values of my clients and never do we find that money in itself is the driver. It’s money so that we can take care of our family. It’s money so that we can live the life and lifestyle you want. It’s not money in itself. And after a certain amount of money, getting an extra a hundred pounds to come up with a creative idea isn’t what motivates employees, says Dan Pink.
He says that actually it’s having the creativity, the autonomy in particular… You may have heard the example from years ago, that I don’t think they do anymore, unfortunately, but Google let their employees for 20% of the week, one day a week, let’s say Friday, every week, work on their own projects. And that then led them to come up with Gmail and all sorts of amazing things. So we want autonomy. Mastery is the second one from Dan Pink. 10,000 hours, says Malcolm Gladwell, to become the master of a particular skill. But mastery, feeling like we’re really good at something, so important to motivate ourselves. And working to get better is a big driver. And then purpose.
We talk about your ikigai. We talk about starting with why, Simon Sinek’s way of phrasing it, having that bigger purpose. Logotherapy and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. If you haven’t read that, it’s the importance of meaning rather than something like happiness, for example, that drives you, that pulls you out of depression and gives you a reason to live. So he survived the Holocaust. Very lucky in many ways, but he did a lot of research on the importance of meaning and those kinds of extreme circumstances to survive. So getting a bit serious here, but Dan Pink’s book, again, on motivation, autonomy, mastery, and purpose. So many different authors, so many experts, so much research focusing on these important drivers.
So it’s the Great Resignation. Again, millions of workers in the US, that statistic of four million is just one month, April, which is already quite some time ago. People all around the world in different industries, although perhaps overrepresented in some, that have particularly been hard hit, perhaps. But certainly there’s a big shift, which I’m loving seeing, I have to admit. I think it’s so important. It’s something, of course, that I’ve been, I don’t want to say pushing for it, but at least I’ve evangelised about for some time. Something I’ve done myself, something I see my clients doing. And it can only be a good thing. Whether you, whether they, whether we stay in, shift into different corporate jobs, we change organisations. Even better if employers and companies and cultures can evolve. That’s fantastic.
And I know I have other colleagues, although I don’t do that, who work with companies to help them do so, to help them support their employees in their companies. That’s one way of addressing it. I address it by helping you as an individual leave behind that particular environment, the so-called nine to five, and create an alternative for yourself. To design and build a business, a life outside of that rigid structure of the nine to five. So what can you do if you want to join all these millions of people in the Great Resignation? Very exciting trend in society. If you’re thinking about it, if you’re not perhaps yet sold, but you have been reassessing your priorities, you’ve been shifting, you’ve been thinking, “Hang on,” in a way this has been perhaps, then, a longer period in which you’ve been able to reflect. I always think holiday’s such a good time to go away and really think big picture, “What is it I want to do?”
Unfortunately, we come back then into the office, forget all about it, and go back into our hamster wheel. Let’s take this opportunity and run with it. I’m not saying quit your job today or tomorrow. If you’ve already quit it, don’t worry, I’ll help you there too.
But if you’re unsure, I’m not saying launch yourself into an unknown that’s putting your family at risk financially, that’s stressing you out and so on. What I’m saying is you need to get clear on what you might want to do instead. You need to look at your finances black on white, understand your situation with expenses and savings. You need to review your skills, your strengths, to see what you can do, what opportunities there might be. Look at business models and all sorts of things. Start networking, building relationships.
Now, if you’d like help doing that I have exciting news if you’re listening to this live, and if not, don’t worry, we do run this several times a year. I’d love for you to join me next week, if you’re listening live, in the latest round of a Nine to Five Escape Plan workshop. So this is a workshop I’ve been running the last few years. I have taken a little bit of a break as I’ve popped out a child or two in the meantime. It’s a live workshop, which gives us the energy and focus and interaction to really support you guys. It’s over five days. Now in the past I’ve run it quite long, intense, five sessions. I’m experimenting the shorter version this time, because I know that if you’re in a full-time job in particular, whether you have children or hobbies or fitness or projects or side hustles, full-time jobs, whatever it is, you don’t have huge amounts of time and energy. So I’m going to show you how much change, how much impact you can make, how far you can get in just a little period of time every day.
So I’m sure you can carve out 20 minutes 30 minutes every day. So we’re going to do that in five little mini sessions. There’ll be lunchtime UK time. Of course, I know you guys are all over the world. They’ll be live sessions, so do join me and we’ll be working through the process of working out what it is you want to do, all the steps you need to think about. And I know it sounds like a lot and it is a lot, but we’re going to be breaking it down into the most important steps. Again, make a big impact with as little effort as possible. That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? So this is all the Nine to Five Escape Plan workshop. You can register now at onestepoutside.com/escape. That’s onestepoutside.com/escape. I’ll be running that workshop with you next week live. So please do join us.
There’s a worksheet. There’s some exercises to do. But really it’s a little bit of time every day. Please give yourself this gift. At least you can give yourself these, what is it, two and a half hours in one week to give yourself the chance. If then you decide, “Hey, I don’t have time. I don’t have the energy. I don’t want to do this anymore.” Amazing. If you do want to do it, if you realise, “Oh my gosh, this is so exciting. I could do so much. I’ve got so many ideas. I know exactly what I want to do. I know how I want to move forwards. I don’t know yet, but I’m going to find out,” then, of course, we can look at what that looks like and support you through that process. So onestepoutside.com/escape.
If, by the way, you’re not available, you don’t yet want to do this proper workshop, you know that you’re not quite there yet, you’re just beginning to maybe think about it… Although if you listened to this, I think you’re maybe further on than you realise, but I do also have the roadmap which is a PDF resource, much more passive of course, but quite a comprehensive resource, a new resource for you that you can get onestepoutside.com/roadmap. So onestepoutside.com/roadmap. It’s a PDF taking you through the 10 steps of navigating that transition out of the nine to five, and that’s a good first step in any case. But I would love for you to join me in the interactive workshop to really take these sorts of vague ideas and thoughts and plans and so on and concretize them and really give you an actual plan and the confidence to start implementing it. So onestepoutside.com/escape to join us in the Nine to Five Escape Plan workshop next week. I’ll see you there. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate