“The Great Resignation of the past year appears to still be in full swing: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 3% of the US workforce resigned in October, following a record-high in September. As often discussed, some resignations are people taking sabbaticals, early retirement or dropping out of the workforce for caring responsibilities. But that only tells part of the story. Workers – globally, in many instances – aren’t just leaving the workforce; millions of people are reconfiguring their careers. Some are leveraging the current hiring crisis to get into better positions. Others have decided to work for themselves – with the number of self-employed workers in the US rising by 500,000 since the pandemic.” – Alex Christian writing for the BBC
A significant amount of my coaching work in individual and organizational development has always been focused on onboarding and off-boarding leaders. With the onset of the COVID pandemic my transitional coaching has exploded. The dynamics of working during a pandemic have clearly prompted many to reflect on not only how but where they want to use their gifts and passions.
While popular culture likes to refer to this phenomenon as The Great Resignation, based on my work with clients I would suggest it is more accurate to call it The Great Discernment. As Jimmy Buffet sings, “It’s those changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same…Oh, yesterdays are over my shoulder, So I can’t look back for too long. There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me, and I know that I just can’t go wrong…”
Clearly the change in latitude in working at home and virtually changed a lot of individuals’ attitudes about how and where they want to use their gifts. Prior to the pandemic a consistent theme with clients in a variety of environments was a feeling of being in a job that was not a good fit. Underlying that perspective was a longing for greater utilization of their gifts. Specifically, many described their experience as “over worked and under utilized”.
The Great Discernment is manifesting a deep desire that all of us feel at our core – to not be just a cog in the machinery but rather be valued for our particular set of gifts. The pandemic has provided time and space for people to really reflect on what their gifts are and where those gifts might be valued and utilized. Each of us have our God-given gifts. Each of us are called to use our gifts to the fullest.
The Great Discernment clearly has awakened the yearning of millions to live more fully into who they are gifted to be. Hopefully it is also serving as a wake up call for leaders to the importance of fully valuing, fully utilizing the gifts of those they lead.