In the movie ‘Network’ the main character played by Peter Finch, a brilliant actor, said, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” This could be the anthem for the wave of resignations that are taking place throughout many corporations today.
After almost two full years of a pandemic, and no end in sight for all the fear, uncertainty and disruption this has caused, a staggering 4.4 million people decided to take control of their lives by quitting their jobs. They are no longer settling for extreme hours, bad bosses, and uncaring organizations who are only interested in the bottom line. Sounds like a revolution, right?
But what if you are not part of the great resignation, but wish you were? What if you long to create a different work life reality but can’t take the risk of quitting an unfulfilling job for a more fulfilling life?
We know we must work to survive, to pay the bills, keep the roof over our heads, food on the table and gas in the car. We need money to pay for our kids’ education, to keep them clothed, and to keep them healthy. And we need health care for ourselves, and our family so we can sleep better at night knowing that all of this is taken care of. So instead of resigning, how about restructuring?
You’ve heard that people join a company and leave a boss! In hundreds of conversations over years working with Human Synergistics behavioral assessments and in coaching calls, I’ve heard many stories about bad behavior in organizations.
Unfortunately, this appears to be the norm. Behaviors that you would not tolerate at home, are tolerated in the workplace, and there is a price to be paid. Being constantly asked to do more with less, as well as micromanagement and micro-aggressions has resulted in higher levels of stress, worry, anxiety and despair, and ultimately, burnout.
Burnout is a serious issue and for those of us who have perfectionism as a big part of our lives, we need to learn how to say no, and start setting some clear parameters for our well-being.
There are three innate psychological needs of all people. They include the need for belonging. A sense of community that cares. The need for autonomy to feel you have control over your life and are motivated to change, and the need for competence, meaning and purpose so you can find satisfaction in your task and commit to its fulfillment. In short, we must feel motivated to make a difference in our own lives, and in the lives of others.
To redesign healthy workplaces CEO’s down must figure out how to engage employees more meaningfully, and with greater humanity. It’s time to focus on employee’s well-being and give them the tools they need for growth so they stay motivated to bring their best authentic self to work and will participate fully in the overall vision for the company.
As individuals, we must have the courage to make the right decisions for ourselves. To use our voices to speak up to the inequities. To ask for what we want (and deserve). We must learn how to get honest with ourselves, face the uncertainty and know that while we may feel that we don’t have control of many facets of life, the truth is, we do. The power is in your hands if you are willing to challenge the status quo.
We can make different choices, even if that choice is not easy. We can choose to think differently. We can choose where we want to work, and we can choose how we want to engage by setting clear boundaries and raising our expectations of what we are willing to tolerate.
In my world, being fearless is not the absence of fear, but the courage to take the next step, and if that means identifying and asking for that which meets your needs more effectively then it is essential to do so.
The future of work is changing, and we are rewriting the rules and regulations on how work is performed. We dreamed about the four-day work week many years ago. It is here now.
You have a choice to tolerate toxic work conditions and untenable life choices, or you can be part of the solution to redesign our work lives. COVID has given us the space for reflection and a reset of priorities. But quitting doesn’t have to be the result of that introspection.
Let’s build a future of work that we can contribute to with joy or at least with some degree of satisfaction.