It has been awhile since my last blurbs post. This latest one is my work edition where I will share my thoughts that nobody asked about a bunch of relevant work / career related topics from WFH, The Great Resignation, Simon Biles and my Lockdown Fatigue.
Work From Home Wars: Who will win?
As a lurker on LinkedIn feeds, I keep seeing two conflicting narratives. Employers are now requiring their staff to either go back to the office full-time or commit to a few days a week in the office for facetime. Employers say that it is best to work in the office to have more time for collaboration, etc. On the other hand, I also keep seeing a lot of employees standing their ground not wanting to return to the office full-time, or ever, citing all the advantages of WFH.
Employer-employee relationships nowadays are very similar to long-distance relationships. The majority of the time, LDR is borne out of necessity and can be difficult to sustain because out of sight = out of mind, and distance puts a lot of opportunities for temptation and misuse of trust. You can say employers are the doubtful ones in this LDR setup between employers and employees. We are visual beings who trust what we can see more than any other sense. Not seeing employees give employers the heebee-jeebees because they don’t know if they are doing our jobs or not.
I feel like this is a war with two sides fighting. The ones that will win are the adaptable ones: the employers who do not set their rules in stone and allow for flexibility in working locations and hours. WFH options and working hour flexibility benefits will now equate to variable bonus/stock options / medical benefits. Whoever can provide these to their employees will retain their employees longer and will elevate them as an employer of choice. It is an employee market right now; employees are no longer intimidated by tight ship orders to return to work. Employees will go where flexibility is offered and where their personal needs are met alongside the company’s business goals.
The Great Resignation: Sure or not?
I read a commentary a few weeks ago that predicted that there will be an exodus of employees due to pent-up plans of resignation this year. Is that really the case? As far as the industry I recruit for, it is becoming a challenging market because candidates are getting snapped up for jobs real fast, and the real good ones are difficult to lure unless you have a fantastic offer and assurance of job security.
I suppose these are both sides of the same coin. The prediction I read from 2020 has come true, a shift will happen and the power will shift to the candidates. That power comes from having the courage to resign from jobs that have kept them miserable pre-pandemic, to take a break or do their own thing. Meanwhile, if the candidates are headhunted, they want more from potential employers by very carefully choosing the offers that tick all their boxes. Employers who are unable to realize this will continue to miss out on great hires.
Simone Biles tapping out and the stigma of quitting
When I first read about Simone Biles withdrawing from the team gymnastics competition of Tokyo 2020 Olympics, I was surprised as most people. I was wondering, did she get COVID-19? This is a team event, what about her teammates? Did she inform them ahead of time or were they also surprised? If not, that seems inconsiderate.
Her withdrawal reminded me of Susan May Pratt’s character Maureen in one of my favorite movies, Center Stage. Among the cohort trying to get into the American Ballet Academy (ABA), she was the top seed, best of the best, having been training there since young. On the night of their recital, the show that will decide their fates, she was nowhere in sight. It was her groupmate Eva (the beautiful Zoe Saldana) who was dancing her part so perfectly. Upset, Maureen’s mom walks out and finds her in the lobby.
It was finally revealed that she was under pressure her whole life, that she was only doing ballet to fulfill her mother’s dream, that she was unhappy, isolated, and sick (throughout the movie she was showing signs of bulimia). All these signs her mother dismissed. Unfortunately, the only way she can make her mother understand was to quit. At the end of the movie, it was shown that she quit ballet altogether and enrolled in a university/college, living a normal student life.
I’ve never been comfortable with the phrases like winners never quit, never give up, never stop until you reach your goals, quitting is for losers, etc. It’s as if every single “battle” needs to be fought, that if you quit you were never that great in the first place, that you are inconsiderate, unable to perform under pressure. It really needs to be heard more that we need to choose our battles wisely. Human beings can only do so much as we have limited resources. If Simone had continued competing not being in the right state of mind, she could have put her life in danger, affecting not just herself but her team and her loved ones. Or she could end up self-destructing in other ways, which will also affect her team and her loved ones. In similar ways as Maureen, maybe she felt the only way for her to be heard in this situation is to quit.
While it’s ok not to be ok, let’s also remember to choose our battles wisely, and Simone did just that. She has chosen to preserve her peace over the battle for gold by choosing herself first, so she can give to others again when she’s healed.
Much of the west has been “getting back to normal” recently. After driving vaccinations, countries have opened up to take advantage of summertime to go on much-anticipated vacations and mass gatherings. Meanwhile, in the East, it seems the end is nowhere in sight as the delta variant ravages countries whose vaccine supplies are limited. Where I live, we were supposed to have further easing of restrictions in the July – Aug period. However, we are back to lockdown lite due to the formation of large clusters, in addition to a
significant number of seniors who remain unvaccinated.
I will spare you the details of my complaints. At first, I was upset about getting back to lockdown again, which is surprising for me because I am a nester. But the back and forth opening and restrictions are taking a toll on my mind. Now, as with many other residents here, we are not hopeful or feeling assured anymore even with a new set of promises of re-opening in a few weeks. There is a general feeling of resignation to our fates until we really see actual re-opening and more decisive actions from authorities.
* There have been some changes, the Government here has started to ease movement restrictions. But I still want to share my actual thoughts at the time of lockdown as this was new to me at that time.