Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers advice on handling the Great Resignation.
Q: It seems like many of my claims coworkers are resigning, and I am being asked to take on roles I don’t want. I feel like if I don’t, though, I will be passed up for future promotions. Can you help?
A: It doesn’t matter what industry you are in right now—the Great Resignation is a real thing. The nation has never seen a time where it has 1 million more open jobs than people looking. On top of that, the “quit rate” is the highest in over 20 years. The situation you are experiencing is happening everywhere, and the real reason behind it is rare: The pandemic has forced employers to implement new strategies that, in many cases, are more hopeful than helpful to their workforce.
Unprecedented times thankfully come with silver linings. As an employee or job seeker, understanding that your employer needs you now more than ever can be a catapult for your career. Until the pandemic is over, you may be asked to take on extra work or a different role. My advice would be to embrace these roles as long as you work with a company and management staff that genuinely recognizes your effort and contribution. The high quit rate tells the story. Workers who wanted to quit their job before COVID-19 were stuck in their careers while we flattened the curve in March 2020. This year, the opposite happened. Jobs are everywhere, and the Great Resignation is in full force.
The best news I can give you is that you have more career leverage power today than ever before. The most iconic quote from Spider-Man ever is, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Take this power and excel in your career! Here are some things to consider.
Decide what your “must-haves” are in your current or future job. This is the hardest thing to understand, especially since employers are still trying to figure out what their post-COVID-19 workforce will look like. One thing we know is that you have more options today than ever before. Maybe you want to work from home. How about a flexible work schedule, better management, more money, a job closer to home, a manageable caseload, or a clear path to upward mobility? If your current company can meet most of your must-haves, you have your answer.
Do a “stay interview” with your manager. Request a stay interview with your manager before you decide to quit or take on a role that you don’t want in the short term. In this meeting, ask the manager how they feel you are doing, what the future looks like post-COVID-19, and how realistic most of your “must-haves” are in the future. This is also a great time to ask for a pay increase. While money is no antidote for an unstable work environment, companies do whatever it takes to keep their top employees.
Flexibility is the key. Once COVID-19 becomes a lesser concern, companies will take inventory of who is left standing, what changes they will adopt moving forward, how they will engage their post-COVID-19 workforce, and what they will do to attract new talent to their organizations. Your flexibility (doing things to help the team even if you don’t want to) and production over the last 20 months is your golden ticket. It shows your current employer that you are a team player who can make unprecedented changes to accomplish corporate goals. Great companies will recognize these accomplishments and do whatever it takes to make sure you are part of their post-COVID-19 workforce in the career you really want. If you don’t currently feel this, then it may be time for another job.