The Great Resignation

#COVID has affected work culture and now more than ever our society faces changes in how we work and for what reason. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we value our lives and what we do with it. If we spend an average of 37% of our lives working, would we want to make it worthwhile? What is worthwhile to you? Is it monetary compensation, time, benefits, relationships, challenge, or growth? All these are dependent upon personal preference. However, where old work paradigms focus on monetary means to measure value in work, the new paradigm suggest that it no longer holds true. Money now lacks meaning if there is no passion with it. Thus, the coined term “the great resignation.”


Margaret Heffernan did a TED Talk on the “Super Chickens Model,” the old paradigm that only certain people with greater skills, talent, and education can be the driving force of work and productivity. The old paradigm is still present within our society. It was based on the premise that there were people with greater abilities and that competitiveness draws out star quality individuals that set them apart from others. Therefore, many believe that their success was contingent upon making the people around them less successful than they are. This is very true to professions in sports, #marketing and advertising, #technology, and so on. Even though money as an incentive can increase productivity or motivation, that theory has now been challenged in long-term #success.


Since the #pandemic, money became no factor to employee retention when it did not align with meaning or purpose. Shared experiences with others in the workplace helped to develop meaning in work. The work or the content itself is said to be meaningless. This does not necessarily mean that all work has no meaning or that only certain types of work have meaning, but that it does not matter about the work so much as the relationship part of work. The old paradigm believes in strong work ethic to the point of foregoing personal values, time, and physical health. That has changed and now people are leaving well-to-do jobs they have been at for many years for others that have more meaning, purpose, and align with their personal lifestyle. The work that lives in the old paradigm has lost its flare and we are now seeing a shift to new paradigm or work culture that appreciates their employees, adjusts to changing work environments, and emphasizes on wellness that have attracted employees.


Monetary incentives had become a false security of #work #satisfaction. This shift in thought has developed to view work as how it is meaningful or matters to them rather than a means to an end. If you find you are one of these people and are trying to figure out the next step then assess your sense of autonomy, flexibility, level of engagement, and creativity in your work. It would also be important to know if there are opportunities to gain knowledge or experience, progress into higher levels of work and leadership, and challenge. These components of work may help identify what areas of work are lacking value or meaning. It is said that people tend to find meaning in their work if they are able to connect their view of work to serving the community. This entails an individual to seek a deeper #purpose in their work on a systems level. This kind of thought also helps people find nobility in what they do and therefore attach their contributions to work as #meaningful.


If you still find yourself having difficulty exploring this on your own, then reach out to a professional that may help you to properly explore and assess your career goals.


Catherine Trinh, LPC Associate

Supervised by Cynthia Horwitz, LPC-S



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