The pandemic has caused a lot of people to re-evaluate, particularly when it comes to working.

After spending more than a year at home, some don’t want to go back to commuting, preferring the flexibility of remote work at least a few days a week. Instead of heading back to the office in the wake of the Covid pandemic, employees may quit instead – this is called the “Great Resignation.”

Many employees are ready to see what else is out there.

This comes down to managing your risk and putting in place appropriate strategies.

The grass is not always greener on the other side – beware of herd mentality

First off, don’t resign just because others are doing it.

People read a headline or a statistic about a new trend and take that as validation to do the same.

If it is a fashion trend, no big deal. But what if it’s a really important decision –something that has long-term consequences or big risks like quitting your job?

Deciding to go along with the crowd based on a headline or seeming trend instead of using your data and your boundaries, lower your chances of making the best decision for your own life.

When you don’t think for yourself and just follow the herd, the blame or responsibility for a poor outcome gets deferred or diluted, but the consequences don’t.

You still must deal with the results of that decision in your own life.

The herd mentality does not help, especially if your actions are not congruent to your life and career plans – that’s assuming you have strategies, plans, or even goals in place.

What’s your strategy? Do your actions bring you closer to your goals?

In the whimsical world of Lewis Carroll’s famous tale Alice in Wonderland, the author paints mind-bending pictures of some of the most pressing questions in modern society.

A particularly poignant scene is set in the forest, where Alice finds the eccentric feline and asks him for directions.

Politely, she inquires, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The Cheshire Cat answers, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” When Alice answers back that she “doesn’t much care where,” the Cheshire Cat simply replies, “then it doesn’t matter which way you go!

The cat’s reply makes sense for what Alice is trying to accomplish (or the lack thereof) – but when it comes to you and your actions, you are not in a dream sequence!

As a CEO of your life with everything on the line, you do care where you go from here.

To master the navigation of your life, work/career, or even business/entrepreneurial challenges, what’s your roadmap to success?

Staying put where you are has its advantages – don’t abandon all that goodwill!

When you’re facing a position where you have a choice to leave an organisation you must keep in mind that if you leave your employer, you will be abandoning all the intellectual property, all the built-up goodwill, and all the relationships you developed since joining the organisation.

You have effectively abandoned all the hard work that you have sowed all these years in creating a name and brand for yourself, proving yourself as a capable and high performing employee.

While you may have accumulated all the transferable skills and experience that you can take to your next job, it is those softer sides of things like your brand and human relationships that have taken you years to build up, brick by brick, that will be lost in an instant.

While it may sound very exciting to start in a new organisation, but it’s not easy.

Unless you are lucky enough to start on good footing and build your name, presence, and relationships rapidly in the new organisation, you will always start with a major deficit.

You must build all the relationships from ground zero. Relationships take time and hard work to nurture.

In your current organisation, you likely don’t have a deficit. You only don’t know how to move forward. There’s a big difference.

Running away and leaving your current job may sound good at this point.

But it is better to deal with a difficult person or situation you know than to deal with a new person or situation that you don’t know in a new organisation. It could be worse than the current situation!

Your manager, like everyone else, has deep motivations. Knowing what these ‘true’ motivations are will be incredibly useful given that you’re working under them.

Speak to your manager as well, to help them understand your goals and see whether they can help you achieve those within the business.

Therefore, have you tried having a conversation with your manager about your current situation? Have you attempted to negotiate a positive outcome for yourself, rather than resigning for the sake of it?

Sometimes, if you want to progress your career, you need to work through the challenges you face, rather than simply quit, and move on. Of course, if you can’t work through those challenges, it’s time to carefully consider your options.

Are you creating value equal to your pay?

If you view your current job as work that pays the bills and nothing else, then all you need to do is to find a higher-paying job.

Do remember that the amount of pay you receive will be commensurate to the value you are creating for the organisation. If you are not able to create or produce the required or expected value at a higher paying job, then it is game over for you.

Putting this into perspective, if you are seeking a job that pays $100,000 per year, then the quantifiable output or value of your work must be more than $120,000 per year, factoring in other costs like employee benefits, leave, etc.

Don’t forget your competition! (Pay cuts will be inevitable)

With remote working gaining more traction, employers can have access to a greater pool of lower cost talented workers, who can be located anywhere in the world!

If you are living in a higher cost country, you are not going to compete with those talented workers who are living in many lower-cost locations.

In a fact, the ‘great resignation’ will reset the salaries paid to workers. It will effectively drive down salaries for many workers. This will be a rude shock for many!

As companies are desperately cutting costs, especially through salary costs, in hard times, hiring remote workers are a much lower salary becomes more appealing and more mainstream in the years to come.

Yet as tempting as those dollar signs are now, some leaving for greener pastures may find themselves later to be in an undesirable position of being let go because they’re overpaid once the market has stabilised – this will come sooner rather than later.

Are you prepared to take a voluntary pay cut to work from home?

Many studies like Goodhire have indicated that as much as 70 per cent of those surveyed said they would give up most or all their benefits, like health insurance and holidays, to be able to work remotely. Sixty-one per cent say they would take a pay cut to make it happen. Most said they may take a 10 per cent pay reduction, but some claimed they even accept half their current salary in exchange for remote work.

What impact or risk would these cuts have on your lifestyle and future? Are you able to sustain your current lifestyle on a lower pay? Are you able to cover future medical bills from your savings if you no longer have health insurance?

If you took a lower pay now, what impact would it have on future salary levels, especially when you are starting at a lower level?

Do you have a career growth strategy to guide your decision?

Generally, there are two key career growth strategies people will think about:

1. Staying at one organisation for many years and getting promoted from within regularly.

2. Constantly moving from one organisation to another organisation, gaining a more senior position or title with each organisation you join.

If moving to another organisation is aligned with your career growth strategy, then go for it.

But if you don’t have a strategy, develop one and then decide your next move.

Start by writing out the ideal resume you need when applying for your dream job in your dream employer three to five years from today. These are your career goals and objectives.

This forces you to create a critical path timeline of prioritised milestones and action steps to take to achieve your goals and objectives.

The next step is to execute your career plan achieve each goal in that ideal resume. Remove all non-necessities, costs, and time, and focus exclusively on the goals that are laid out in your resume. This may involve re-skilling and re-educating yourself, which will cost money and time.

Want to be an “entrepreneur”? (Think again)

There is a difference between a businessperson and an entrepreneur. And not all business owners are entrepreneurs.

A businessperson’s focus is not on innovation. It’s more on making sure their company is making a profit. They find existing ways to make money like being a gardener or freelance bookkeeper. There is an existing need (i.e., people wanting their lawns cut) where you focus on delivering great customer value at the lowest cost possible to make a greater profit.

Entrepreneurship on the contrary focus on generating new value, which could be social, emotional, aesthetic, or financial. It’s a person who takes risks to succeed like creating the next Google or Facebook.

Unless you have a lot of money in the bank to pay your daily bills, most workers will become small business owners instead if they want to become their boss.

Running a business and becoming a boss is not for the faint of heart

Successful business owners must possess the ability to mitigate company-specific risks while simultaneously bringing a product or service to market cost-effectively at a price point that meets consumer demand levels and makes a profit.

In the US, 20% of small businesses fail in the first year, 50% go belly up after five years, and only 33% make it to 10 years or longer, according to the Small Business Administration.

In Australia, more than 60 per cent of small businesses stop their operation within the first three years.

The most common reasons why small businesses fail to include a lack of capital or funding, retaining an inadequate management team, a faulty infrastructure or business model, and unsuccessful marketing initiatives.

Running out of money is a small business’s biggest risk. Owners often know what funds are needed day to day but are unclear as to how much revenue is being generated, and the disconnect can be disastrous.

Know your ‘Why’ and whether your actions align with your goals

If you don’t know where you’re going it’s going to be difficult to get anywhere. The more you know about where you’re going, the easier decision making is when you come to the fork in the road.

Whatever you do, it must take you closer to achieving your goals. If it does not, then stay where you are until your know where you are going.