Ecclesiastes tells us that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
After one year in the pandemic – with lockdowns and work/schooling at home – it’s become clear that we’re not going to return to the prior “normal”. Instead, people have been reevaluating what they did (e.g., why commute for hours when work at home and Zoom allow you to be productive?) and what they want to do going forward (e.g., why force taking care of yourself and family into a few hours before or after the full day at the office, when you can integrate both into a 12+ hours daily schedule with greater impact and pleasure?). Most important, why even stay in the same job or relationship you had before, now that you’ve re-evaluated your life’s passion and purposes?
In other words, the resignations from jobs, especially by early stage adults, are a healthy reflection of people’s growth mindset.
While the traditional 20thcentury model of adulthood focused on a “work-family” stage followed by the post-retirement “leisure”, that model increasingly becomes obsolete as we realize we may be living to 100+. People want to lead a fulfilling life for the entire 60-80 years of adulthood. So instead of one major pivot that transitions us from the work-family-stage to the “leisure stage”, we need a model that allows people to pivot as often as they want throughout the journey – and often take time off from the normal track to reconsider where they were headed and where they really want to go. We call these time-out breaks or sabbaticals for GROWTHH: Goal Re-Orientation With Time for Health and Happiness.
Krithika Varagur’s recent article These Millennials Are Dumping Their Jobs to Plot New Careers, reports that adults, especially emerging and early stage adults “are taking a breather to learn new skills, network and develop their creative potential before locking in another career path”. Until the pandemic, their work-life (e.g., large commutes forcing child-care, working on non-engaging activities, etc.) was taken as “normal”. The pandemic, with so many illnesses and death demonstrating our fragilities, has, for many people, led to reconsideration as to whether it is what we really want from life. With traditional dissatisfaction – including burnout and disappointment with pay – people would jump to another job. Instead, many are taking GROWTHH time to seriously reconsider their lives life and take charge of their future direction. They are taking courses to get new skills so their future selves can start new careers; they are moving to different cities so their future self can enjoy a different lifestyle.
She notes that a Prudential Financial survey of 2000 American workers found that workers between 25-40 were antsier than other generations to make a change. One third of this group versus a quarter of all workers “was not jumping into another role until they find one more aligned with their long term career goals”.
In other words, among workers of all ages, especially those who more recently entered the job market, there is a desire to “age brilliantly”: envision your future self and make decisions to lead a fulfilling life for as long as possible.
If you’re an “early adopters” of the “age-brilliantly” philosophy, remember that we’re here to help. That includes adults of all ages, researchers, experts and service/product providers who share information, inspiration and tools. Don’t react; instead respond by taking GROWTHH breaks to figure out who you want to be for the rest of your life and what you want to do. If you’re an employer, this is the time to reconsider the two part, “work-life- balance” model, and adopt for your staff the integrated,” life-long fulfillment” lifestyle model which encourages everyone to optimize all six of life’s essentials (i.e., health, finances, relationships, passion, purpose and time), as long as you can. Let’s Age Brilliantly to 100+!