The Great Resignation  

2021 saw resignations at their record highest level, COVID, furlough and lockdowns sparked a fundamental change in the employment market and the psychological contract between employers and employees. This significant change creates an increased need for coaching, as coaches can help people through this change.  

Economist Lawrence Katz called this “a once-in-a-generation ‘take this job and shove it’ moment.” Ian Cook of the Harvard Business Review found that resignation rates were highest among mid-career employees, increasing 20% since 2020. Whereas resignations decreased for employees aged 20 to 25 and aged 60 to 70.  

This ‘great resignation’ has been seen in the USA, UK and Europe. Mid-level employees may have delayed transitioning out of their roles due to the uncertainty caused initially by the pandemic. However, overtime the pandemic has caused people to re-evaluate what is important in life, to seek a more purposeful life, with greater work-life balance. Lock down demonstrated that the daily commute was an unnecessary requirement of the past. Furlough encouraged people to reflect on their purpose in the world. Many workers may have reached breaking point after years of inflation and stagnant wages, with ‘suck-it-up’ high workloads. All of this combined to cause people to rethink their work and life goals. 

As a result, mid-career employees have decided to leave their jobs in record numbers. The Guardian newspaper stated that these people are choosing to slow down, which can improve quality of life. The objective is to uphold the ideal that everyone deserves a life of dignity, which includes rest and distance from work. 

Coaching has an important role to play in helping people through this time of change. Coaches can work with individuals to help clarify and confirm personal values and motivators. Confirming what is important in life and how these can be aligned with a career which is both fulfilling and rewarding. Coaches can ask “what if” questions, such as “what if you had all the money in the world, what would you do?” or “what if you were able to create an ideal life, what would it look like?” Alternatively, a coach can ask, “what would purposeful life look like for you?” Some onlookers may consider these to be ‘pie in the sky’ questions, but these questions aim to find deep purpose, free from constraints. Once the ideal is identified, then a step-by-step plan to achieve this can be implemented.   

If you would like to help people find their true purpose through coaching, find out more about the part-time coaching courses at Warwick by clicking here …. 

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