Nearly every week for the past year, I’ve had conversations with my clients about resignations. Whether the discussions were with leaders having unexpected gaps to fill or with women who decided to take a break, move on in their careers or start a business, the topic of women changing careers or leaving the workplace altogether is top of mind in many organizations. The “great resignation” is real, and companies impacted by the loss of key team members will feel the impacts on productivity and efficiency in the coming year.
One in 3 women considered downshifting their career or leaving the workforce entirely last year, according to McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org’s 2021 report. This data doesn’t surprise me. The women I talk with are no longer willing to tolerate a dysfunctional workplace, deal with a toxic boss, or be constrained by a glass ceiling. More surprising and unsettling are recent conversations I’ve had with women who describe inequities in the workplace, feeling marginalized and even being fired for speaking up about injustices. These types of situations are motivating women to find a new way to make a living by starting new careers or becoming entrepreneurs – on their terms, frequently for more pay, all while living a more meaningful life.
Navigating a career change requires an intentional re-evaluation of what motivates and inspires you. It is crucial to take a step back and consider your priorities and values. If you’re in the midst of a career transition – whether you’ve chosen to make a move or the change is unexpected, consider these three must-reads. These books provide inspiration and guidance for finding what fuels your passion and can help identify actionable next steps that will lead you to more fulfilling and meaningful work.
The Power of Purpose by Richard Leider. A dozen years ago, when I was burned out and feeling very unfulfilled about my career, my life coach recommended this book to me and I genuinely believe that I wouldn’t be where I am today (energized and fulfilled by the work I do) if I had not read this book and gotten connected to my purpose of helping others grow and realize their full potential in purposeful and balanced ways. A couple of years after I read this book, I quit my executive-level job – without a plan – and made the commitment to myself to live and work in alignment with my purpose and core values. It was the best career decision I have ever made. If you feel the need to get clear about the role of work in your life and what matters most to you, buy a new journal and take a deep dive into this book. Give yourself plenty of time to explore the renewed perspectives that will emerge – and permission to dream about what’s possible for you.
The Second Mountain by David Brooks is a book I snapped up and read upon its release in 2020. It completely validated the radical career decision I mentioned above. It describes our first career “mountain” as one that is full of should dos and have tos that lead to a lack of meaning and satisfaction. I spent 20 years of my career climbing that first mountain – which was an incredible journey in many ways. Yet, when I finally paused at the peak of that mountain to look around, access my situation, and be really honest with myself about how I was feeling about my career, I realized that I had never aspired to be where I was, and it was time to climb off that mountain and look for another one to climb that would lead to greater meaning and contentment. The Second Mountain is a must-read if you’re stuck on your first mountain or trying to find your way to your second.
Play Your Bigger Game by Rick Tamlyn. Ten years ago, as I was starting my business and networking with the professional coaching community, I was introduced to this book. It offers a very compelling and action-oriented framework for understanding where you are as it relates to the career, life, or business game you’re playing – and helps you see your best next move on the gameboard. While exploring this book, I got connected to the why behind my business, who I wanted to serve, and the role I wanted to play in my community. If you’re feeling compelled to step up your game and need some motivation and focus, grab a copy of this book and start mapping out your game.
As you embark on the New Year and a new chapter in your career, my hope for you is that the work you do intertwines with the kind of life you want to live by providing a source of energy, meaning, and purpose for you, your family, your colleagues, and the community you serve.
Emily Rogers, Founder & CEO of Emily Rogers Consulting + Coaching, is an executive coach, business consultant, and retreat facilitator. She strategically advises and supports individuals and organizations in growing and realizing their full potential in purposeful and balanced ways. You can connect with her at emilyrogers.com. Want to strengthen your capacity to lead with excellence and grow with purpose? Consider enrolling in Emily’s Mastering Leadership Program.