Sunél's Blog | Putting work in its place

Sunél Veldtman, | 29 October 2021

By now you have probably heard of the Great Resignation. People all over the world are either planning to or have left their jobs. Microsoft estimates that 40 percent of the global workforce plan to leave their employers this year and the evidence is stacking up that this is happening.

Workers are critically evaluating the role of work in their lives. They are considering what they are prepared to exchange in return for a salary. Throughout the last decades of the previous century and the first decades of this one, we have increasingly sacrificed aspects of our lives on the altar of work – our families, our health, our free time, and our communities. Like a giant python, work has swallowed our lives.

The same Microsoft survey suggests that nearly 40 percent of workers are exhausted. Lockdown and the demands of remote work have driven most people beyond their capacity for endurance. At first, fear drove us to work harder than ever and now we find ourselves just doing more. More Zoom calls, more Teams chats, more late-night e-mails. More.

But now, for the first time in decades, the people have had enough. Their rumblings are shaking up bosses all over the world. And money and flexitime are not enough to keep people, especially skilled people.

We are re-examining our priorities. We are reviewing what we want from work. We have possibly come to a point where we are no longer prepared to sacrifice our wellbeing on that altar. We need more. We need meaning from our work. And want a life beyond work and enough energy and wellbeing to pursue that life. We must put work in its place, as part of our lives and not life itself.

Where workers before have perhaps felt that they had no choice but to stay and grind away, the collective response of millions around the world, may now just give us the impetus to move ourselves.

It is about the belief that we have options and the power to make the changes we desire in our lives. And now millions of people are doing that at the same time.

Perhaps this is the nudge you need. You may not need to resign but you may need to re-examine your relationship with your work. How is work serving you? Or are you sacrificing your life at the altar of success?

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Kind regards,
//29 October 2021