I remember chatting with a SVP at a major Financial Institution in Philadelphia many years ago. He and I were walking through the resume of a candidate I presented for the General Counsel (in-house legal department). The education was primo, the caliber of experience steller, except for the fact that her last experience only had a tenure of about 3 years. I will never forget what he said, “there is something askew here that she would only have lasted 3 years at XYZ company. I will pass”. Shocked, I asked him why. Basically, back then, companies wanted to see 5-10 years of active tenure at a company. In turn, the company would provide career training, movement, compensation adjustments that made an impact, and a pension. Today’s career landscape looks so much different. I would argue that careers have been shaking-up over the last 10-15 years as companies started making decision to outsource, off shore, and add multiple layers to job descriptions (putting the work of 3-people under one person and title). Now, careers are going into a new shift or shakeup with a new set of reasons. Why are so many considering a shift in 2021?

2020 brought with it not only Covid-19, but also a pandemic of uncertainty. This wave of uncertainty infiltrated every aspect of everyday life; will I have a job? Will we be able to make payroll? Will I be able to get toilet paper? How companies handled people, the human side of the business, mattered. Overarchingly, look at the Glass Door ratings for organizations during March/April 2020. This uncertainty has played into a new shift for the human worker. This shift is what is going to change everything moving forward. Companies that are not planning for this shift will be left behind when it comes to attracting talent. It is happening now. The Great Career Shift is upon us.

People are no longer willing to accept a culture that does not align with their needs. The need for certainty, variety, growth, contribution, belonging, and significance are vital to a person’s assessment of satisfaction at a corporate entity. The level of acceptance or tolerance for poor corporate behavior and decisions is very low. Trust in a corporate HR department to protect people versus the company is non-existent. People are turning to career coaches to act as their own personal HR representative that they can trust and receive guidance that is applicable to them versus the company. A LinkedIn survey that was conducted by the EDRM just last month, demonstrated that greater than 50% of people in jobs today are seeking to make a move in 2021/2022. People are taking their careers back and it is becoming personal.

The resources available today are causing a shift in the mindset of continuing education. Major disruption is happening now within education. Last summer my children were able to take college credit courses at Harvard University, online from their home. They are pursuing careers in fields that do require advanced education and degrees. But, what about those who are choosing entrepreneurship or vocations that do not require a four-plus year investment in advanced education? Many are choosing alternative routes and becoming very successful. The tools and the ability to run a business from one’s home or through renting a temporary office space, plays into the ease of starting a business. Therefore, stipulations or mandates by Companies for college degrees are on the low versus rise in the future of work (unless specialization is needed). People are finding greater certainty is starting their own business than working at a corporate job. This is quite a shift.

The buzz on the street of corporate is to return to the office or not. Some large organizations have made their decision very public, “Come back to the office or else”. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out with turnover numbers, etc. I know I will be watching. Rest assured, many want to get back to some normalization, but the definition for normal is varied. I would love to see come comments on this as the data pull is just starting.

The pivot is making a huge comeback. Education and flexibility opened the door for people to learn new skills and start new businesses, while excelling and collecting a paycheck at their corporate job.

What are you going to do? How will you embrace this new world of work that is upon us? What is important to you as you discern a job offer? How quick will you leave a company and what are the reason why you would leave? These are the questions that are pivotal to the new mindset around work. The leadership books of the past will be making their way to the garbage as they become irrelevant, while the new way of work is now being written. Never lose sight that you are in control of your career. Are you staying or are you going?


  • Laureen

    Laureen Kautt - Live Your Life With Volition - BCC, NLP-CP

    Volitionary Movement

    Laureen is the Principal Coach and founder of The Volitionary Movement. Her practice grew out of her passion for helping people embrace life's changes. Her process and road map assists thousands in understanding their core purpose and how to translate that to a successful life. Laureen's consultative and strategic approach to individual and group coaching is embraced around the globe. She is solicited by recruiters and talent leaders for coaching and guidance. Laureen is sought after by universities such as the University of Colorado, Denver graduate program in international business, to speak on topics such as talent acquisition, interviewing skills, and the war for talent. Laureen’s philanthropic endeavors include faith-based education for children and adults. She is affiliated with organizations that care for orphans in São Tomé and Príncipe in Africa. Laureen also volunteers her time to assist veterans re-entering the civilian workforce.