Transitioning Jobs in the Great Resignation

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By DeVry University

January 31, 2021
7 min read

If you keep up with today’s news, you’ve probably seen numerous articles reporting on the Great Resignation. It’s a movement that’s impacting businesses large and small – but what is it and what does it mean for the future of work?

What is the Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation refers to the millions of people who left their jobs in 2021, following the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people took the time during the 2020 lockdown to reevaluate their careers, noting that the level of commitment they were expected to bring to their jobs, coupled with long hours, inadequate benefits and low wages were their primary reasons for dissatisfaction.

In some cases, the Great Resignation has made employers realize they have to offer more for their employees, including more flexible schedules, better employee support and more wellness resources. For others, there continues to be resistance and increased pressure on employees tasked with picking up the slack from coworkers that have left.

Many people are taking advantage of the Great Resignation, transitioning jobs to pursue roles with higher pay, better benefits and employers who understand that their employees’ wellbeing is the most important thing in building a productive and dedicated workforce.

Tips on Transitioning Jobs During the Great Resignation

For some, burnout in the workplace is caused by the amount of work they are expected to complete for too little pay, too few benefits or too little support. For others, burnout may be a result of bad habits and poor boundaries in their current position.

The old advice used to be to wait until you had your next job lined up before you quit your current job, but sacrificing your mental health for longer than you need to, especially while simultaneously looking for another job, feels like too much to take on for many people.

If you’re planning on transitioning jobs during the Great Resignation, take some time to plan your next steps into a new career, doing your best to make the process as smooth as possible.

Some things to keep in mind when transitioning jobs are:

Evaluate what you want

Take time to decompress and evaluate what you’re looking for in your next role. Think about what fulfills or excites you, and what your goals and aspirations are. What steps do you need to take to get a job you want, and what are you not willing to compromise on in your next position? Having a clear idea of what you want will help you narrow in on jobs that will work for you.

Know your worth

If you’re unsure what you should looking for in terms of pay or benefits, do some research. Look up the average salaries for jobs you’re interested in and compare them. What perks or benefits are the leading companies in your field offering? What do current employees say about the company culture, their experience with the organization’s leadership or the company’s turnover rate? Use these insights as a guide for your job search and focus on companies that have a positive employee response.

Organize your finances

If you’re thinking about stepping away from your current role to start your own business or simply take some time off, be realistic about your finances and what your obligations are. Create a list of how much money you’ll need to cover rent, food and other expenses for at least a few months, and make a budget to help keep yourself on track.

List your deal breakers and stick to them

Do you want a fully remote position? Do you need paid parental leave so you can plan for a family? A more inclusive work culture? Make a list of what you’re willing to flex on in your next job, as well as areas you’re not willing to compromise.

Identify your next steps

Make sure your next job helps you get where you want to go. Are you looking to move up in your current field, or perhaps you want to move into a different industry? What additional training or education do you need, if any, to get there? Whatever your goals are, try and get at least one step further than where you began.

Brush up on your skills

If you’ve been working for some time, there may be new developments in your field that recent graduates or younger applicants may know about that you’re not as familiar with. Enroll in an online class to keep your skills sharp and bring them up to date. If you’re moving between industries, there may be knowledge gaps you need to close before making the switch. Earning a degree or certificate online can be one way of reskilling and preparing yourself to enter a new field.

Finding the Right Organization for You

Whatever their goals, the Great Resignation is driving people to look for companies that treat their employees as people. When it’s time to begin your job search, take the time to evaluate the position. If you feel excited about it, that’s usually a good sign, but be wary that sometimes a job description can sound more enticing than it actually is.

Take the time to investigate the company itself. Here are a few questions you might ask:

  • Is the company transparent about what they offer their employees?
  • Do they talk about giving back or value inclusivity or community growth? Do they encourage their employees to volunteer and provide paid volunteer time?
  • Do they provide health benefits beyond the basics, such as reimbursement for gym memberships or other wellness perks?
  • Do they encourage employees to further their education or provide tuition reimbursement?

When you land an interview, ask questions there, too. Ask about time off, schedule flexibility and expectations. Treat any indirect answers as red flags. If they’re not willing to tell you about their policies in a transparent way, move on. A good company will have no issue talking at length about the support and benefits they provide for their workforce.

Advancing Your Career During the Great Resignation

While many are leaving their jobs to pursue other options, others are using the Great Resignation as leverage in the positions they already have. This is an opportunity for you to sit down with your manager and discuss how you can make your work experience better. Maybe you’re looking to add more responsibility to your role or address the expectations of your tasks. Use this time to negotiate more flexibility to your schedule – or even a raise.

If you’ve outgrown your current role, consider talking to your manager about applying for another role or advancing to the next level of the company ladder. Many companies will look at their internal candidates first and may prioritize current employees’ applications for open positions before looking elsewhere.

Explore how these types of moves have been done at your company in the past. When planning your conversation with your manager, think about what concerns they may have. Showing that you’ve looked at this from their perspective can help you explain how this move can benefit them as a company, as well as what value you can bring to them in your new role.

What Does the Great Resignation Mean for New Grads?

In many ways, new grads looking for their first job should approach the Great Resignation the same way as anyone else.

Focus on finding a job that fulfills your must-haves in terms of work-life balance, flexibility and benefits. While your first job can help you get to where you want to go in your future, remain open to the possibility of new experiences that may shift your focus. The deeper you get into your career, the more opportunity you’ll have to figure out what you do and don’t like. Be patient and allow yourself the time to find something that works for you and your goals.

As you prepare to enter the workforce, focus on identifying your values and highlighting your soft skills as well as your technical abilities. Consider finding a mentor or reach out to someone who is working in the industry you’re interested in and talk about their experience breaking into the field. The more insights you can gain, the easier it will be to home in on your goals and expectations for your first job.

Prepare for Your Future at DeVry

If you’re looking to develop your skills or change your career, our undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs can help you pursue your goals. Learn from experienced faculty and earn your degree on your schedule with flexible online courses. Classes start every 8 weeks.

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