Recently there has been a focus on the ‘Great Resignation’, but although this identifies the behaviour of employees leaving their jobs it doesn’t look at motive. Rather than focus on what people are doing we should instead explore why? The change in perspective from what people are doing to why is succinctly captured by the concept of the ‘Great Reconsideration’.

Over the last two years we have been in a curiously active but suspended status. The natural breakers of our days and lives like commuting, home and work were put on hold. Although employers have generally seen high productivity it hasn’t been without cost. Office perks, colleagues and travel tend to dilute work. But without these distractions work becomes distilled to its purest form and for many it isn’t as palatable. Purpose has now become increasingly important as a motivator. Working harder to drive sales or stock prices for someone else might no longer be a priority for some.

Compounding the quest for purpose is the accentuation and appreciation for quality of life and the factors that contribute to this known as vitality or intangible assets. The intangible assets like health, family, friends and meaningful experiences have moved up the hierarchy of needs. For those early in their career facing another 40 or 50 years working the race to the top becomes more of a marathon than a sprint. The longevity enables people to try different things, take more time and experiment.

More financially comfortable people mid-career are now questioning if they take on more work and stress for the sake of extra money or status. The balance between the tangible and intangible assets is now more nuanced. In the third age there is a more holistic range of issues ranging from health and legacy to social and family networks. Work is part of the picture rather than the entirety. So although our circumstances in the last two years have made us more aware of both the tangible and intangible assets, we haven’t had the corresponding space to process the implications. Trying to find the optimal solution to this asset balance has resulted in some people leaving their jobs. We are entering a generational time of reflection to find perspective and reconsider.