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Great Resignation, its not. Great realization, it is ! ~Inner yoda

The high churn of employees across the global workforce has been called the “Great Resignation”. Prof. Adam Klotz who came up with the term calls it an economic trend in which employees voluntarily resign from their jobs. The reason quoted is lack of worker protection and wage stagnation. In my view there are more seminal reasons that are subterranean that are driving this wave of change across the industries. Below are some in my view that are not being understood and talked about much but are leading to this trend.

  1. Financial Security : The pandemic forced most of the white collar workforce to be sequestered in their homes and drove savings up significantly for more than a year. The impulsive purchases, the adhoc spends reduced significantly and increased savings to record levels. This led to a sense of financial security for most people and that has translated into a courage to take risks. Most folks have realized that they can take the risk for the wind is at their back.

  2. Personal space : The forced WFH paradigm provided extra 2-4 hours of free time and coupled with the smaller moveable space forced people to invest in their relationships and personal passions. Both elements provide significant lift to a human soul at a deeper level and lend happiness. There are enough studies out there that corroborate these linkages. This has led people to rethink and realize their priorities in life. Of course this is not true for all relationships. But even the difficult ones have had to realize the importance of the change.

  3. Common enemy: For the first time in many decades humanity came together to fight a common enemy C-19 collectively and everyone set aside their differences whether it was in their neighborhoods or countries to collectively tackle this challenge. A common threat always brings out the most positive emotions and response from humanity and that itself lifts people to think about their purpose of life. More and more corporate professionals are questioning and realizing life has more to it than just endless pursuit of narrow profits.

  4. Less is enough: One common theme you hear from most people is how they realized they can survive on so little. So if one can sustain on very little, the realization dawns on most as to why I am running this hard to collect things that I do not need. The realization is can I be happy with less ?

  5. Independence : Pre pandemic the most common rhythm for an employee was driven by their managers. These so called leaders defined and almost were the curators of daily life experiences for 8-10 hours in a day. Life was dependent on these endless streams of meetings with managers/leaders who defined all guardrails. If anything almost every myth around people management has been destroyed. People can govern themselves well (largely) and almost everyone does the right thing in the right environment. People have stepped up to the challenge in more ways than ever before and proven they can be the leaders in their own right. So it is easy now to decipher a great working environment from a claustrophobic, political and controlling environment. So people have realized they don’t have to be chained to their working environments rather seek the ones they thrive in the most.

There are exceptions I am sure to my assertions above and not every movement is right. Although there are large sets of people taking risks, going independent or trying to realize their potential in new ways, there are many that are not. We can understand these through the lens of personas. In my view generally most employees fall into 4 personas when it comes to the IT and ITeS world - Explorers, Dwellers, Sailors and the Rebels. I will cover these in my subsequent blog. I would love to know which persona you fall into and if there are others that I am missing. The names sort of allude to the types but there is more to it and no one persona is good or bad, it's just how we are wired in our own journeys.

My hope is, through this pandemic journey, of almost 2 years that most people should have realized something deep about themselves and reflected on their life’s direction. And hopefully have course corrected in better ways to be happy. Having said that I do sometimes encounter people who seem to have drifted into the world of ultraconsumption through bingeing on media, food and other aspects that not necessarily are going to be healthy in the long term. In two years we all have now developed lots of new habits that will stay with us for long. Are they the best for us we will only know in the long term. I am an eternal optimist and hope that we will all come out of this with stronger self, family and communities. The silver lining of the pandemic for most was the ability to turn inward and go deep. It gave us countless days of stillness and silence and hopefully we found a lot in those voids in ourselves. I will leave with you a wonderful quote from

Blaise Pascal "All of humanity’s problems stem from his/her inability to sit quietly in a room, alone"

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Viswanadha Aditya
Viswanadha Aditya
Jan 11, 2022

Quite the astute observations Arshad. As always, loved reading it.

Another observation from my side on the recent trends is that the pandemic has shown people the transient nature of life itself, and that has led to a lot of feelings of FOMO (Fear of missing out) and YOLO (You only live once), which has spurred the people to experiment and try new things and figure themselves out.

Its a new and exciting world out there after all :).

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