The Great Resignation hasn’t been just about burnout. It’s about a “Great Awakening,” notably for many folks in middle management.
Obliged to stay in their homes during COVID, they’ve reevaluated their lives while cherishing the extra time with their families and engaging in other interests. Discussions of work-life balance came into renewed focus.
As part of this great rethink, people are unwilling to sacrifice as much for a work-life balance. Some middle managers are increasingly disinclined to take the next step in their careers because “onward and upward” isn’t as appealing as it used to be, and the price to climb the corporate ladder is too high. These people are keener on setting career paths based on their own values and definitions of success.
Not that their ambitions have changed, though. But they aren’t driving for the same things they were driving for ten years ago. But they’re reconsidering how they can keep contributing to their organizations—on their own terms. They’re willing to come to terms with “career plateauing,” unhooking from the pressure to pursue an upward path someone else has set.
They may still derive a certain sense of identity from their jobs, but they’re seeking other ways to seek a more fulfilling life. They’re no longer pushing for the more prestigious title, the broader responsibility, the bigger raise, and a larger team. Instead, they’re taking energy that had been directed primarily on goals defined by the employer and focusing it elsewhere.
Idea for Impact: As part of this great rethink, reassess your options. Set clear boundaries on your willingness to sacrifice to strike a better work-life balance. Think strategically not only about the work you enjoy but also about the life you want to lead.