Have you heard about the Great Resignation?
According to research, 35 percent of 18 to 39-year-olds lost their jobs due to COVID-19. But that was almost two years ago.
Now, a massive, different shift is happening.
Although the job market is recovering, young people are leaving their roles in droves. In August alone, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs. Haven’t you noticed hiring signs and notices everywhere, especially in public-facing establishments like restaurants?
This upheaval is the Great Resignation.
And it’s being ignited by Gen Z and Millennials. The truth is that people everywhere (80 percent of 18 to 39-year-olds) have been feeling burned-out at work since the pandemic began.
Humans aren’t wired to deal with being in a state of “not knowing what’s going to happen next” for this amount of time. People need predictability to thrive, but nothing is predictable right now. From the recession in 2008 to the climate crisis to the structures being called into question everywhere, people are exhausted.
Workplaces are more hostile and some more dangerous. The cost of living in many areas has increased. Many of us are working from home, but between that and smartphones (not to mention kids), it’s like we never get a chance to shut off. As a result, many employees feel undervalued and overworked.
Thus, millions are taking a step back to reassess what they really want and what truly matters.
In her book Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason, Caroline Myss outlines the following as the second truth to healing: to do so, we must connect with our own meaning and purpose.
In essence, this external chaos has been a good thing. Without it, we wouldn’t have felt pushed to make a necessary change at all.
This quest is one of the oldest and most fundamental rituals in human history. Myss writes:
“It marks a transformation of consciousness from the self-centred ego to a Self that is empowered by inner or spiritual resources.”
I believe that we are on this earth and in these bodies to fulfill our own personal quest. We so badly want to escape a mundane, ordinary life, shed our limitations, and rise to the most incredible heights of our potential.
Yet, if we aren’t careful, we will quit one job, leave our partner, or move across the country, only to land back in another version of the same suffering somewhere else.
Because the more profound truth about our yearning for purpose is that it’s never found outside of us.
What we are actually craving is a deep, spiritual transformation.
And this isn’t found in the reasoning minds that convince us that all we need to feel better is to get a new job and replace our skinny jeans with a more modern cut.
If we really want to make the most of this upheaval, it’s going to take a willingness to surrender to the thoughts and ways of being that hold us back from our true power: to receive the love we deserve, to be open to the unknown without fear, and so on.
However, as impressive as this transformation sounds, many falter along the way.
Maintaining a high level of control, for example, may have gotten you the financial security and high-power career you have now. It’s hard to give that up, even if it’s making you miserable. So, most people give up because it takes courage to raise and maintain the bar on the quality of their personal choices moving forward.
Many of these choices mean discomfort, but the type of short-term discomfort will offer long-term fulfillment. This is because our brains have been hardwired to operate a certain way for so long. Most people would rather choose the safe, predictable option—even if it makes them sick and miserable—rather than follow their inner truth with no clear outcome.
This is where the irony lies.
The only safety we have is in the now. It’s in the liberation found in loving the process, not the end goal. It’s in the decision you make every moment to be the person who lights you up on the inside and then does things that align.
So, for everyone wondering what’s next, try not to worry so much about seeking the perfect answer. Just ask yourself who you want to be right now. The answers will come as you put one foot in front of the other one present moment at a time.
Don’t rush it.
Be willing to stay open and curious in those in-between times when things feel uncertain. That’s where the transformation happens if we let it.