“No one wants to work anymore.”
It’s an oft-heard complaint from many employers (and, ironically, happily retired curmudgeons) these days.
Then again, the “laziness” of the current generation has been bemoaned for over a hundred years. As a Gen-Xer working in tech in 2000, I remember conversations with older generations about the slippery slope of flex time in office jobs – a few of my tenured coworkers still wandered around at 8 am doing “desk checks.” To them, a simple acknowledgment that maybe not everyone could arrive and leave at the exact same time seemed a fissure in the sacred “American work ethic.”
Fast forward 20+ years and a pandemic, and The Great Resignation just feels different, less like a baby step and more like a sea change. Why? What’s the difference?
Employers are actually doing something about it. The smart ones, anyway.
I’ve been watching developments with interest, as an erstwhile marketing director (and armchair sociologist) currently on year six as a stay-at-home mom. The myriad crises of the pandemic threw a wet blanket on any musings of returning to full-time work as I’d known it – not only did it sound unfeasible, it sounded miserable.
I was incredibly fortunate to be in a position where I could dial back, and I did. I could completely relate to friends and strangers who did the same. I’d marvel at those who didn’t. Call it an overabundance of perspective, but I was no longer willing to work in an environment like those where I built my career.
As it turns out, I’m not alone. As the Washington Post reported, over 4 million workers resigned each month during the second half of 2021. While they all had different reasons, better pay and benefits and flexibility were at the top.
For me, #1 was flexibility. I wanted to apply my brain power to meaningful work outside the home, but not at the cost of time with my family, our health, and my sanity. I would be working the oddest of hours: 10-minute spurts here and there, longer stretches after bedtime, or in a random, glorious window where my youngest is happily playing alone in the other room.
But what employers are going to take that on? Turns out, many are trying. They finally recognize that there is an enormous source of untapped talent who just requires or desires a different way of working. The pandemic forced employers’ hands – they had to adapt, and now they know that they can. So they are.
Guess what? It’s working.
Pew Research reports that at least half of workers who quit their job last year are now employed, and in jobs that meet many of their needs. Including me. I’m happily employed by Further Advisory on a part-time basis, performing back-office tasks, writing and editing marketing content, and managing our ad campaigns. It’s perfect for where I am in my life.
The model also works for subject matter experts looking to advise on a temporary basis, as well as tenured professionals with a large Rolodex who are happy to broker business-building introductions. Those who join the ranks of Further’s exceptional team of advisors are able to deliver top-notch work as a full-time employee, contractor, or interim leader for clients – however it is they want and need to work. You can even have time for a side gig.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go entertain and feed a 2-year-old. If you have ever done this, you know it’s also a really hard job. And if your current employer doesn’t get it and provide options to keep you on board, well… some people just don’t want to work (like that) anymore.
At Further Advisory, Respect for the Individual is one of our core values. We employ people, not just skills and experience. To that end, we’re committed to meeting you where you are, providing a variety of work options for our team of advisors. If you have great ideas, strong perspectives, and a desire to work differently, let’s get to know each other.