A bumpy re-entry

You’ve probably heard about the so-called Great Resignation era we are living through. People are leaving their jobs at significantly higher rates than previously. Some reports suggest up to half of employees are intending to move roles in the immediate future.

The pandemic has interrupted the normal flow of life. It feels like there are massive pressure points building up in the system of our working world. Something has to give.

Now that re-introductions to office buildings are picking up pace, we’re likely to see an acceleration in career movement. The disruption of lockdown era habits will trigger greater momentum in this process. In this otherwise uncertain world, you can be relatively certain that things are going to look a lot different when next spring comes around.

So, my question for you is how do you feel about this?

Are you excited? Does it fill you with dread? Are you bemused as you watch others fret and fuss? Are you feeling some FOMO and asking yourself if you should be looking to change too?

If you’re finding this period anxiety-inducing and perhaps even overwhelming, you’re far from alone. And there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you either. You’re responding in a human way.

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This month, I’m back working in physical spaces that were out of bounds since March 2020. I’m delivering workshops in actual rooms with actual breathing, living human beings present. I’m coaching in actual offices and I don’t have to remind people to ‘unmute’ themselves.

I’m surprised at how uncomfortable it is. I’m delighted to be out and about, thrilled to see people I haven’t seen in a long time and relieved to be able to work in a way that is more helpful for clients. But so much of it is weird. There are new rituals and new ways to screw up. There is awkwardness, tension and uncertainty.

And that’s before we get onto finding and fitting into ‘office appropriate clothes’…

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Re-entry can be bumpy.

When astronauts brace for impact as their spacecraft travels through the earth’s outer atmosphere, they’re not wondering if their reactions are appropriate. They’re focused on getting through the bumpy phase. They know it doesn’t last.

As we find our feet in this transition, it’s useful to remember that we’re readjusting. We would normally show patience to others in such circumstances and similarly need to give ourselves some leeway to handle the bumpiness.

You’ll get through this. And it will be worth it.

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This post was adapted from one of Aodan’s Sunday morning newsletters, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of readers. Give yourself the gift of that weekly wisdom by signing up here.

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