• Coach Kate

The Great Career Regression

Over the last few years we have heard about the the Great Redundancy as certain companies laid of thousands of staff and then the Great Resignation was a looming threat as Covid died down and workers went looking for better jobs and ways of working.

Now we appear to be facing the Great Regression. This seems to be another knock-on effect of Covid and working from home which has been a huge wake up call to so many of us that there is more than the daily grind, that we can have life-work balance (and yes it is that way around - life comes first!)

reassess, reconfigure, reconsider

I've heard from so many people that the pandemic forced them to assess what they were doing in and with their lives, for the first time for many people they had time and space to fully focus on themselves, their health, happiness, working practices and how all of this affected their lives.

Life seemed much more rigid prior to the global pandemic and numerous lockdowns, however, as we enter yet another new way of working, many of us are considering a fresh start which invariably includes a career shake up.

Not everyone is desperate to climb the corporate ladder, in fact the majority of my clients are looking for more within their careers - they want purpose, to feel that they are doing something worthwhile and fulfilling. The demand from employees now is flexibility, hybrid working, having value at and gaining value from their work.

Many workers feel a disconnect with their jobs and their organisations so come career coaches like myself to reconsider what they are doing and reconfigure their career plans and paths.

For some people it is a change of organisations so that they find their work tribe and the best working culture for them.

With others, it is often small tweaks to what they are currently doing so they don't lost their experience, their expertise and their network.

And for many it is more of a career transformation so they take their core skills, strengths and expertise and find the role that fits them.

Needless to say, that for all of my coaching clients it takes courage to make changes, however, once they do they begin to see the positive influence they are making and the rewarding impact this has on their lives.

We are seeing a skills shortage in certain industries especially in workers who are over 50 as they choose to reduce their hours or even leave work entirely and take early retirement.

Purpose, Value Fulfilment

Once again Covid seems to have been the catalyst for this as it brought into stark contrast what we all valued from our careers. The older generation began to recognise what millennials and those younger workers were demanding from their companies:

  • Value

  • Purpose

  • Recognition (above & beyond a salary)

  • Acceptance

  • Support

  • Wellbeing

This is by no means an inexhaustible list and as we face an employee's market we are seeing job seekers demand more and more from businesses as people are choosing life over work more.

I'm not saying that job titles are no longer important, however, I do believe we are seeing a shift away from these to a more holistic demand from our job roles; employees want to see the impact they are making, they want a purpose with their careers, to be heard and seen for more than merely their role.

If these elements are not available to them then many workers are reconsidering what they do for work or taking a step back and placing their energies elsewhere.

Rather than leaping up the career ladder, we are much more focused on spending time with family, friends, pursuing hobbies we discovered or reconnected with during multiple lockdowns.

We all strive for a certain quality of life which now seems to include fulfilment and doing work which is worthwhile or has meaning. If our jobs don't provide that then employees will look elsewhere in their lives to attain this and for many workers this will mean they choose to work less.

After all, we are seeing the 4 day working week being trialled for the next 6 months; this is based on the 100:80:100 model – 100% of pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintain 100% productivity.

Before I went full time in my business I worked part time for 3 days a week which was draining as I was technically doing a full time position and half of someone else's role in just 24 hours per week.

I'm fascinated as to how this trial will pan out - will we be able to crack it and have 3 day weekends or at least more free time or will workers be under so much pressure to cram their work into 4 days that they will experience even higher levels of stress and anxiety?

Either way, it seems that job purpose and fulfilment are aims and maxims here to stay and will only grow as more and more workers strive for better ways of working. Even if that means taking a few steps back for a better life.


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