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The Great Resignation and the Global Shortage of Clarity

In the past several months Australia, and the rest of the world, has seen a sharp increase in resignations – causing a phenomenon that’s been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. It’s no coincidence that this has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. During COVID, we have seen many people at home with plenty more time to contemplate what has been bringing them joy in their lives, and what is causing them to feel burnt out. At the same time, we have seen people increasingly working from home. Along with the rise of Zoom, we have been faced with a new concept of work/life balance that we can play and explore with. It’s important to note that women in particular exited their jobs at twice the rate that men have (women’s participation in the labour force is currently the lowest it’s been in 30 years).

At what point does this become not the “The Great Resignation” but instead an era of “The Great Contemplation”? Forbes notes that we have seen a dramatic rise in people asking the emotional questions of:

  1. Does my boss treat me with kindness?

  2. Do I care about my teammates’ well-being? Do they care about mine?

  3. Does my company/organisation stand for something? Does it align with my values?

  4. Am I paid fairly? Does this reflect my level of respect and value?

  5. Do I feel supported by the company’s culture?

  6. Can I work flexibly when I need to?

  7. Am I fulfilled in my role?

However, it’s important to have clarity when considering these questions. Many people have simply thought their solution to feeling exhausted, enthusiastic, or burnt out, is simply a new job – when in reality the problem isn’t the job we have. Instead, it’s that something is missing from the work we’re doing and the way we’re doing it. If we don’t take the time to find out what the missing pieces are, we run the risk of finding a new job and having the cringe return when the allure wears off. We’re finding ourselves confused, unfilled, and disappointed because we’re not clear about what we truly want and why we want it.

As our world has been tipped upside down, and we have realised what we value the most – many of us have found that our careers are no longer suiting the lives we have been striving to create. The key is to work out what exactly isn’t working and achieve clarity about what we want moving forward. This is the difference.

In 2022, I suspect we will see this contemplation continue as people transition back into working at offices. With that in mind, I hope you keep this quote by Rebecca Fraser-Thill in mind “People assume you have to go somewhere new to make your job wonderful and that’s actually not true at all”.


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