Why The Great Resignation just might be the silver lining of the pandemic

A little over two years ago, we were thrust into a situation that was completely new and foreign to most of us. The pandemic has forced us to change the way we live, work, and interact with others. While this has been a challenging time for many people, it has also been an opportunity to step up and demonstrate our resilience. 

For those who have been able to maintain their jobs during this time, it has been a chance to show leadership and adaptability in the face of change. And for those who have lost their jobs or chose to change paths, it has been an opportunity to prove that they are change proof and can bounce forward from adversity. 

No matter what our individual circumstances have been over the past year, we have all had to face some challenges. Which brings me to a question… What did we do with the challenges?

Flip-Flopping the Workforce

Everybody is talking about The Great Resignation, which I’ve also now heard referred to as The Great Renegotiation. I prefer the latter much more because it reflects what we are seeing unfold – human adaptability renegotiating the terms of work and career options. 

The Great Renegotiation has put us face-to-face with human adaptability, and how resilient we are in the face of change.

Opportunities and hiring are at an all time high. Tens of millions of Americans have quit their jobs – not to lounge around – but to chase something new. We are seeing resilience in action!

  • 57-million people have left jobs, a 25% spike versus pre-pandemic numbers. 
  • 89-million people were hired over the past year. 
  • There are nearly two job openings for every one person who is searching. 
  • The unemployment rate sank to a 53-year low of 3.6%. It was 15% two-years ago. 

Mind you, this is all happening in the midst of a pandemic and during the global shutdowns. When we look at these numbers, The Great Resignation seems like a less than fitting title. And all of this points to a very simple truth: in the face of change, collectively, we found the silver lining, leaned into our resilience, and accepted the challenge, full speed ahead. 

Workers may be quitting in record numbers, but they are also being hired in record numbers – quickly. People are quitting to negotiate better terms, bigger opportunities, better conditions, more pay and flexibility. 

What Did We Learn?

There are several of these negotiations that we’ve seen across the board. Newfound leverage over employers has employees asking for:

  • Work from home, hybrid schedules
  • More pay (A study showed that 40% of people who switched jobs did it for a pay increase of 10% or higher.)

These top demands make it clear that after over a year of upheaval, people are looking for balance and they will go to new lengths to get it. 

Leaning Into Tech

Another huge change we got to witness was the heavy lean into technology by corporations who needed new, sustainable solutions. The pandemic has forced businesses to reevaluate their operations and make changes that will help them remain agile in the future, which is also creating new career opportunities. Another silver lining to this whole resignation/renegotiation topic. 

In business, we often talk about the need for resilience and the ability to lead change. The pandemic has certainly put that to the test – but it has also created opportunities for those who are adaptable and open to change. 

The past two years have been a rollercoaster ride, with businesses shutting down and people losing their jobs. Yet amidst all the chaos, there have been these silver linings, highlighting how adaptable and change proof humans truly are. 

Resilience is architecting a very different future before our eyes. How can we contribute to these growths in a Change Proof way?

One thing is for certain – we are required to be more adaptable to change than ever before. The routine built into our lives is being rapidly replaced by options that have the potential to offer us the ability to negotiate for what we want within our opportunities. Resilience will continue to be the baseline for all future momentum.