By Danielle West.
A harsh statement, but stay with me…
We’re all very aware of what we can now call very precedented times plus the fatigue around talking about anything at all to do with it. However, there is one area that is worth still mentioning, and it comes with the title of ‘The Great Resignation’.
But what is that? Anthony Klotz, a psychologist and professor of business administration at Texas A&M University, coined the famous phrase in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek when he said “the great resignation is coming”.
And it certainly did. (At least someone did, hey?) There is research by NAB that indicates that one in five Australians quit their jobs in the past twelve months. But why?
Is it just Covid, or is there more to it? We all know and, I feel confident to say, have experienced the main ingredient, which is burnout. A recent study by the Australia and New Zealand Anatomy of Work Index found that one of the largest contributors to resignation was burnout, with 92% of serious mental health concerns in Australian workplaces attributed to work-related stressors.
This industry has its flaws, which definitely need attention but worth mentioning is that there are also still also many positives. There’s gotta be, right? Otherwise, why the hell are we all still here? But that is the very point. Why are we still “here” and why don’t we move on, move out or across, onwards and upwards? What stops us?
Jobs are important, titles are great; your big client and that award you won - these are all great things, but they are not the only things. Things like work-life balance, supportive bosses, business structure and training are also very important things, and often the very things that, when absent, lead to a sense of lacking in your workplace. Over time, the positives don’t add up to enough and ultimately these lackings result in workplaces losing out on great assets.
People aren't quitting jobs, they’re quitting bosses. They're quitting culture masked as free pizza and table tennis. They’re quitting things that serve only the employer and never the employee.
They’re quitting the feeling of being just a number. They're quitting 5 out of 7 days of their time making them feel sick and sad.
Let me say it again. 5 out of 7 days is the majority of your time.
How are YOU spending it? In a place that makes you feel dread as soon as your feet hit the floor, or in a place that makes you excited and creative - and happy?
It's out there, I promise you.
Whilst I don’t have all the solutions, can I tell you what worked for me? A gruelling time during Coivd led me to a place where I felt I needed some space from work (which is a privilege I am very grateful for) so I stopped and was deliberately slow.
I'll take a moment here to reiterate that I am grateful and very fortunate to be in a position to be able to do this. I am aware that being able to step away like that is indeed a privilege I acknowledge not everyone has, for various reasons, but without my understanding partner and my tax return as a buffer, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this.
I spent time thinking about what I really value in a workplace. This helped to develop a hierarchy of needs for work and with it, I was able to sift through all the roles and select the best ones to apply for, based on what I truly needed in a workplace and also the role.
Do you want blue-chip clients, Cannes Lions and big budgets? For me, that meant daily pressure and a pace that was not in line with my preferences. Do you want to be clientside with the ability to be single-focused? To me, that meant too many days that looked the same, which is also not my preference. The key word here is: me. These are my preferences, not bad preferences, just so I’m super clear.
So, what are the non-negotiables? Where is the room to move? Is it the salary, or the distance from home? Is it how creative we get to feel daily, or how big the team is? Or is it the new contender of how many days you can choose to WFH? Once you have worked this out, the roles that you can then shortlist make it all an experience in quality over quantity. Hashtag winning.
After what feels like 10,000 interviews and in over a year I found it, and through this, I also learnt another valuable lesson; do not equate your own personal value to your job.
Now say that again.
If you are unhappy, or feeling stuck and out of options then start looking, just take a peek, even if it’s slowly at first and then - take a chance. ‘Cause, what happens if it doesn't work out? You can do it all again, you’ve just done it! And if needed, you can do it again, and again - and again. And keep on doing it, until you get there.
Truly, it is out there, I promise you. So quit your job and go get it.
About Danielle West
💅 With nearly a decade of experience within content marketing and digital advertising, Dannii's career has gone through traditional adland to digital media and communications; she's an EGOT having been agency side, secondment, freelance and client-side.
When not online, you'll find her getting her nails done, quitting her job, getting a new job, building LEGO, playing #TS4, being a big sister, walking her Dalmatian and rereading Harry Potter (the best series to have ever been written by no author - isn't that amazing).