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The meaning behind the Great Resignation is meaning

What is being called the “Great Resignation” represents an historically epic movement.  For the first time in history, there is a massive migration of people moving away from their current work or studies. In the past, only wars have caused this type of labor—and academic—market tsunami wave.

Without deeply meaningful work, humans feel lost

All across the U.S., people are leaving their current academic path or job.  Statistics reveal many of these people do not have another job lined up and report being tired of their current academic studies or job.  Statistics indicate as many as 30% of these “resigners” will leave the field they are studying or working in and look for a very different path.  

Economists are scratching their heads, or offering what I consider to be superficial explanations for this unique and pervasive trend.  A recent CNN article suggested people are “trading up” and finding a better job.  There may be some truth to this, but I am not aware of any hard data to back this up.  Also, this does not explain why so many people are leaving the field they have been working in, and/or why so many students are taking gap years or discontinuing their current studies.  Something deeper is going on.

To me, the most relevant datasets to pay attention to are the ones that indicate that even before the pandemic began, most people reported feeling unfulfilled with their current work.  A mountain of corroborative statistics all point to the fact that people have often reported doing work they did not find deeply meaningful.  In fact, studies of job satisfaction over the last 30 years indicate the level of job satisfaction has not improved significantly, even over this long period of time. The pandemic simply created a catalyst that exacerbated a preexisting, society-wide epidemic of its own: lack of meaning at work.

Key Factors driving a need for deeper meaning

So what is really going on? In my recent blog entitled “Historically Epic student & worker revolt: A craving for deeper purpose” I clarified that we are at a point in history where the work you do matters more than it ever has in previous times. Life has become more stressful, not only due to the pandemic but also due to rising political tribalism, resource shortages, and environmental concerns. 

Early in my career as a clinical psychologist, I became aware that a major reason for mental health problems is lack of job satisfaction. When your work feels like drudgery, it easily leads to anxiety, depression, high substance abuse, and overall fatigue.  When I looked around to see what systematic career guidance was available for my mental health clients, there was nothing. And there is still no psychologically in-depth and methodologically rigorous process.  Until now. I have developed a systematic method called Precisely Engineered Career Guidance (TM)

More and more people are coming to me, a Tucson career counselor serving people around the world, so they can feel inspired instead of depressed on Monday morning. They value my experience gained from over a decade of conducting career guidance using advanced psychological assessment techniques.

I am publishing a book later this year entitled Freedom to Be, Career Guidance to find the Real Me, where I will outline my approach, as well as reveal the many problems with traditional career guidance. 

Today’s student, who stands a very good chance of being enslaved by student debt years into their adulthood, needs a systematic approach that draws from psychologically piercing techniques that go far beyond superficial personality code type assessment. 

Students and modern-day workers deserve to choose their work based on much more than a bar graph approach to personality trait assessment.  The only way you can find work that will remain sustainably fulfilling over decades is to go through a method focused on truly figuring out who you really are. You need a process that involves rigorous psychological assessment that finds where your personality’s most powerful factors—your values, passions, talents—fuse together. I call these areas of fusion your Sustainable Sweet Spots (SSS).

Sustainable Sweet Spots offer clues to what can be truly sustainable work

Too many people utilize what I call the “Lone Wolf” approach to finding an academic and/or career path. They believe that if they reflect enough, they will figure themselves out. Unfortunately, self-reflection used in isolation is shallow. This is because human thought patterns are infected by biases that make one person’s thoughts fatally subjective. In addition, our friends rarely give us the brutally honest truth about our weaknesses. For many of us, the first time we receive any real criticism is when we start our first job and have that first professional review. As a Tucson career counselor, I have seen this happen hundreds of times, where a person first becomes truly aware of who they are during their first job. And by then we have already invested thousands—or hundreds of thousands—of dollars into our training and education.

In short, humans are locked within a perceptual bubble that is rarely pierced unless they go through intensive psychological assessment. This is why those who are expected to perform at an elite level, including professional athletes, business leaders, and special operation military personnel all regularly undergo psychological assessment to optimize their performance. When a person is willing to make themselves vulnerable enough that they can “face up to” the reality of who they truly are, only then can they engage in what I consider to be credible educational and career planning.

The gale force winds of change

Before you enter into a contract with a higher education institution, or go through retraining as an adult worker who wants to leave their current field, you need to understand that gale force winds of change are now blowing away the traditional structures of higher education.  Credentials are the new and highly valuable post high school building blocks that are increasingly favored by employers.  

This is why so many schools are focusing on offering credential programs; they can see the writing on the wall.  But even before you enter into a credential program, you need to figure out who you really are so your path beyond high school is reliable and accurate.

Related Blogs:

2 Tables make it clear: Sending your Child to college with a precise career plan is no longer an option

Why many millenial college students are desperate, unemployed, and look like lost sheep

Moving from a unfulfilling pre-COVID job to a fulfilling vocation

Why most young adults are floundering on their parents’ couch even though higher education and technical options have exploded

Renewing our respect for “dirty jobs” that built civilization and are realistic careers

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Meet Doctor Brunner

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Brunner is a Tucson based psychologist and published expert who has a 20 year track record of clinical excellence, scientific research, teaching, publications, awards and podcast interviews.  He is the senior author of a psychological measure adapted into 14 languages worldwide, and has written over 250 blogs, many of them have gone viral.  He is revolutionizing the field of career guidance with his fresh and trademarked approach that is spreading like wildfire. Sign up here to be notified of soon to be published book, Find Your Real Me: Career Guidance Making You Truly Free.