Chapter Ten: The Great Reevaluation
This time of year, people tend to become reflective about what they accomplished in the previous year and what they hope to accomplish in the next. With a new year looming ahead, people are sharing their goals and resolutions for what life might look like in the future. Another topic of widespread discussion around the country has been what is referred to as The Great Resignation, or the drastic changes in the American workforce that have seemingly left employers without laborers.
For nearly two years, the world has been reconciling our typical way of life with the harsh realities forced upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic. So many changes have taken place that are overwhelming to consider, both in our daily lives and in our long-term planning. It’s only natural that this had led to what we at Noteworthy Communications instead refer to as The Great Reevaluation, because these reckonings brought on by the pandemic go far beyond the workforce, rather affecting every aspect of our lives and the changes we want to make for improvement.
What is often left out of discussions about hiring and employee retention is that most people aren't just up and quitting their jobs with no plan on how they are going to provide for themselves. They aren't leaving jobs to languish on the couch and watch television all day, as plenty of abandoned employers might want us to believe. Most people are finding better opportunities elsewhere or have even created their own opportunities where none previously existed. There are countless reasons why employers might be losing workers. Over the past two years, the death count and the retirement count across the entire workforce were above average due to the pandemic, not to mention those that used the pandemic to go back to school or switch careers altogether.
A business is not entitled to employees. Staff must be enticed to join a company and they must continually be enticed to stay. If a certain business is having drastic retention difficulties, perhaps the answer lies with them. Making broad claims that everyone is lazy and no one wants to work anymore is an easy out, but ultimately false and useless. Maybe people just don't want to work under poor leadership or in a toxic environment anymore. Writing people off as lazy won't solve any of the issues at the heart of this problem, but could result in even further loss of skilled workers.
When people are given time to evaluate their priorities and how they may or not align with their reality, they will make the changes necessary to realign their lives to reflect those priorities. So many of us had become accustomed to being unhappy or unfulfilled because our time was accounted for and our ends were meeting. The daily grind had worn us down so much so that only the ramifications of a global pandemic could make us pause long enough to reevaluate our circumstances.
The pandemic has a way of highlighting the worst that our society has to offer, on the individual level and within our longstanding societal and governmental systems. When we evaluate how this affects our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and the direction our lives are taking because of it, why would anyone want to lean into that negativity? If employees do not feel valued by their employers, either in their paycheck or in their overall treatment, the natural next step is to make a plan to make a change.
Here and Now
If we must spend a certain amount of time every day, which adds up to years of our lives, away from our loved ones in service of someone else's bottom line, demanding more in terms of compensation, work-life balance, and overall workplace culture should not even be a question. As an example, if employees don't feel protected by their employers when working with the public during a global pandemic, of course they will find other employers who will make their safety a top priority.
Those who choose to embrace this reevaluation can become excited by the opportunities and the changes ahead, and even feel a sense of empowerment at the various news roads before them. Those who cross their arms, dig in their heels, and demand for things to get back to normal will forever be disappointed. There is no going back, only forward.
As previously discussed in Chapter Nine: Disconnect to Reconnect, taking a break from online spaces can be beneficial to our mental health. Similarly, choosing to remove oneself from real-world negative spaces can do wonders for a person’s overall wellbeing. If an employee dreads going to sleep at night because they know they’re going to have to wake up in the morning only to go to a toxic work environment with poor leadership, soon enough that employee will face their own Great Reevaluation, and they might just realize that their values are not being met.
The world has been irrevocably transformed and so have our priorities. Noteworthy Communications itself was born as a direct result of The Great Reevaluation, as have many other small businesses and creative ventures. There is a liberation in deciding to choose yourself, invest in yourself, and leave behind that which does not value or uplift you. The Great Reevaluation has arrived, and it has been a long time coming.