2022 Career Thoughts: What I'm Ruminating On
Updated: Jan 13
There are three concepts I absolutely cannot get out of my mind as I consider what's important to job seekers right now and possibly throughout 2022.
I proudly put my out of office on December 17, 2021 and did not take it off until January 10, 2022. While I minimized email communications and took a complete hiatus from posting on social media, I did not shut down the content streams altogether. In fact, I had time to actually decide what I wanted to soak up and then learn more about those topics.
For 3 weeks everyone was recapping 2021 career highlights, making predictions for the world of work in 2022, and kicking off "New Year, New You" (not a fan of this phrase but more on this later) programs.
I read, digested, had some thoughts, and am still ruminating on the bits that really broke through the clutter:
The "Good Enough" Job (article by Lauren McGoodwin, Founder and CEO of Career Contessa)
Choose your hard (LinkedIn post by Dianna Conover, a fellow career coach)
The Great Resignation aka The Great Re-Shuffle aka The Great Re-Evaluation
Each of these concepts plays off the others yet also stands on its own. Here are my thoughts on each.
1. The "Good Enough" Job
I receive the Career Contessa email daily in my inbox and am guilty of thinking I'm going to come back to reading those emails and yet rarely getting to them.
However, this one particular tagline jumped out at me when I opened a buried email:The dream job doesn't exist. Make room for the "good enough" job in your life—and watch your career launch into unexpected and exciting places. Let's go.
Lauren McGoodwin, Founder and CEO of Career Contessa, published "5 Reasons You Should Consider the 'Good Enough' Job" and I immediately thought to myself, "Someone else out there is also debunking the idea of a 'dream job' and giving permission for others to give themselves grace and a paycheck - I MUST READ."
And I did. Every word. And then I read it again.
Lauren, oh wise one, thank you. You so clearly laid out how the idea of a dream job came about, why it doesn't work anymore, and how a good enough job can still check a lot of the boxes while giving you time and space to be more than your job.
Why did this article stick with me and why am I still thinking about it? Lots of reading and conversations with mentors plus a few therapy session here and there, brought me through these thoughts that were recurring for the first 10 years of my career and over to the other side:
I am guilty of tying my identity to my work in past roles
I am guilty of believing that if I was ambitious but not dedicating my life to work, I wasn't really working that hard
I am guilty of wanting my work to be an all encompassing provider of my needs
I came to terms with the fact that a job should not be the end all be all because there is so much more to life. And whatever percentage of your life you want to dedicate to your job is up to you. But take a moment to actively decide. Once you do, make sure everything aligns to achieve that split.
So what if this year is the year that we drop the "dream job" language and instead talk about jobs that do whatever it is we want our jobs to do for us?
2. Choose your hard
Oof, right to the gut. "Choose your hard." Three words that grabbed me.
Dianna Conover, a Denver-based career coach, posted this on LinkedIn and jogged an oddly emotional reaction from me. I've heard, "Choose your happy" but never "Choose your hard."
Why did it trigger something in me? Because the vulnerability that comes with admitting something is hard is not often something that's encouraged. Tons of people are out there making job searching, getting promotions, and living "the life" look easy. But it's not. Nothing's easy 100% of the time.
Choosing your hard is an acknowledgment that we are often faced with multiple paths, each with their own challenges. It's about which challenge you are up for, what outcome you're striving for, and whether that challenge leads to that outcome.
Which brings me back to the "good enough" job. Making that decision to pursue a "dream job" vs "good enough" job is hard. There's a lot of reflection involved as well as future thinking. Are you going to choose the hard that allows you to stay the course or are you going to choose the hard that requires you to make room for evaluating other "hards"? Before you judge someone for showing up to work for a paycheck, not wanting a leadership position, or taking a part-time job rather than a full-time job, know it was likely a hard choice, but might be the good enough choice for that person.
I will absolutely be adding "Choose your hard" to the list of quotes I keep around my workspace and use it as a gentle reminder for myself and for my clients that we all have to put in the work and push ourselves through the RIGHT hard to be able to look back and say, "that was easy."
(I might even put it right next to "Let it be easy"...just to mess with myself.)
3. The Great Resignation aka The Great Re-Shuffle aka The Great Re-Evaluation
I'm sure there are at least 5 more titles for the tidal wave of job changes we are amidst right now as a record $4.5M workers quit their jobs in November 2021, according to literally every major news outlet and emerging media company (siting: CNN).
The Great Resignation brings a lot of chatter - Is this primarily a low-wage sector movement? Are employers doing enough? Do employees have the opportunity to shape markets and policies?
When you zoom out past all the talking heads, we are reminded of a few driving forces:
It's never been easier to educate yourself, improve your skills, and access jobs,
It's never been easier to start your own business with little to no working capital, and
It's never been easier to remind yourself that there's more to life than work.
When everyone and their mother is talking about this concept, why am I ruminating on it instead of moving forward with what I'm being served? Because these three bullet points take me straight back to the "good enough" job and choosing your hard.
If we are living in a society where we can decide who we want to be, quickly build up any skills necessary to be that person, and then go for it, does that make it easier or harder to go after that "good enough" job?
If we are living in a society where anyone can start their own business doing almost whatever they choose, are we simplifying the "hard" that comes with this and glamorizing the "dream" job of owning your own business?
If we are living in a society where we are constantly reminded that we have passions, desires, and responsibilities outside of work, can we make time to stop and choose which hard makes the most sense for us - to either put those on the back burner or tap into them and honor them or some combination?
I don't have the answers. I know, I know. All that, just to have me say, "I don't know." But I'm excited to see what the year brings as I factor these thoughts into my everyday decisions and collaborate with clients on these concepts.
✨ Whether you are job searching, looking to grow your career, or happily working in a role and completely content, I'd love to hear if any of these ruminations made you pause or brought you a new perspective. Email me at email@example.com with your thoughts.
✨ P.S. I'm always here to help you get that "good enough" job - you deserve it!! You can start by uploading your resume and I'll send you actionable feedback.