I recently read a truly great piece by Lisa Barone on a new phrase: “The Great Reassessment.” Lisa is the Chief Marketing Officer at OverIT, which is a spectacular national creative firm based here in Albany, NY.
At first, I thought I would summarize the piece or recast it to address the specific related trends within the payments community. Certainly, there are aspects of the Great Reassessment that speak to our industry and which present us with some unique considerations associated with actors who might take advantage of this disruption. I could also speak to how the piece conveys the importance of organizations like MAC – organizations led and operated by volunteers who provide opportunities for professional development and peer support around a common mission.
However, the original piece is both humorous and insightful, with useful perspective for both employees and managers. With permission from Lisa Barone, I have included it in its entirety for you here.
There's a reason everyone is quitting their job right now...
by Lisa Barone, OverIt
I learned a new phrase this week: The Great Reassessment.
Now say it with dramatic hand gestures and a twinge of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in your voice.
(Fine, fine, you don’t have to do that.)
I picked up the phrase during an episode of Pivot, a tech- and business-focused podcast by Recode’s Kara Swisher and NYU Professor Scott Galloway. Maybe you heard the phrase months ago (Google shows it is not new), but for me, those words just became permanently lodged in my brain--sticky in a way that important and delicious things often are.
What it does well, I think, is reframe the COVID-created power shift that's developed between employers and employees, emphasizing the right parts while steering us away from the elements that distract us.
We’re not resigning in mass willy-nilly from our jobs.
We are reassessing our life and making new choices.
See, there are those dramatic hand gestures again.
There are A LOT of articles written to dissect how COVID-19 has changed how we work. Most of them focus on what we’ve lost--physical offices, human contact, childcare, our sanity. Others herald the advancements we’ve seen in technology.
The Great Reassessment tells the employee narrative.
COVID-19 didn’t just change how we work. It changed how we measure our work.
Not how my boss measures it. But how I, the employee, do.
Why the change? Simple.
The pandemic removed the noise and fluff of the office.
- The mid-day coffee breaks with coworkers
- The laughter that would break out on the production floor
- The after-work get-togethers
Here, now, I measure my job by how fulfilled I feel by the work itself, not the social interactions. Here, now, more complex questions are louder in my head:
- Does my job matter?
- Am I contributing to something larger than myself?
- Am I supported here?
- If I collapsed on the floor, would anyone notice?
Change happens when it is forced upon us or when we have an opportunity to do so. The past 20 months have certainly provided that.
Spoiler: Reassess your job without lighting it on fire.
People, not corporations, are driving this moment. You can fight for evolution in your career path without quitting your job. Your boss is more likely than ever to support a role renewal--especially if the alternative is losing you.
How can we capitalize on this moment as individuals and managers?
If you’re the one reassessing:
- Know where you bring value & what fills your cup.
We are all motivated by different things. I’m a task hound. I start my day with a To-Do list of my creation and end with key items crossed off. I’m the 3% (made up statistic) of the work population who enjoys timesheets.
I look at others on my team, and it’s clear they are motivated by being mentors and through coaching. They are never as fulfilled as when they witness a lightbulb going off for someone else.
Some team members are motivated by falling into the deepest, darkest rabbit holes and pulling out a gem to share with the rest of us. They are inspired by unearthing knowledge.
There are different types of work. Identify the sweet spot of what brings you the most fulfillment AND offers your company the most value. If you see a hole you are compelled to fill, start filling it.
- Identify where you can be replaced.
Being visible and attending all the critical meetings was a significant success metric in pre-COVID times. It was a sign you were a key employee whose opinion was vital to the organization’s success.
Since COVID, there’s a greater appreciation of owning’s one time. Having the autonomy to say, “I’m not going to attend this meeting” or “I will let go of this project” to free up more time for something else. This can be difficult, but our coins matter.
Take yourself out of what does not provide value.
I’m doing it, removing myself from projects where, honestly, there are more competent people in the room who offer greater value. They are best suited there, and I am best suited to be somewhere else.
A few months back, Overit VP Paul Fahey reminded me that there are many positions on a team. It’s not my job to play all of them. Pick the ones you play best—what a freeing concept!
Is there a recurring meeting or task you dread? Like you’d rather go to the dentist than tackle it? Help it find a new owner.
- Log Your Successes
It’s easy to feel “meh” about your job when you’re in the thick of it. We see the struggle, not the wins. Making your successes more visible can help you extract more meaning from your job without quitting it.
Do you keep To-Do lists? Many of us do.
How about a Got-Done list?
At the end of each day, with my To-Do list items crossed off, I write a second list. My Got-Done list tallies my accomplishments of the day--the projects I moved forward, the Big Ideas I had, the impact I helped create. It might sound hokey, but sometimes when you’ve spent 87 billion hours in meetings, you need a reminder that work got done that day. Not “work.” But work.
Try it. You might like it.
If you’re managing the team:
- Check-in and care deeply.
This is a difficult time to manage people. Teams are feeling unrest and looking for ways to bring more meaning into their lives and work. You can help by asking how they’re doing and caring about the response.
Identify minor, systematic frustrations that add up over time and fix them. It could be a process that doesn’t work, lousy tech, resources lacking, etc.
Offer meaningful perks. Help with daycare and eldercare. Give stipends to help people create suitable WFH setups. Offer flexibility where you can.
Instill recognition programs. At Overit, The Stu Award recognizes a team member each quarter for going above and beyond. Two weeks ago, Caitlin Perry, Overit’s Director of Media & Paid Strategy, took home the prize. It was wonderful, and she’s wonderful.
Create mentorship opportunities. Have a buddy system for new employees to welcome them into your organization and show them a career path.
- Prioritize learning & upskilling
Offering professional development opportunities creates a values-based culture and motivates employees to expand their skillset, follow new areas of interest, and feel more in control of their career path.
It, of course, also benefits the company who now has happier employees who will continue to advance within the organization.
- Develop outcome-based success metrics
I think (I hope?) we’re beyond the days where we judge results by a perfect attendance record and a pleasant demeanor?
Help employees feel more ownership and pride in their work by establishing outcome-based metrics that allow them to measure performance by what they actually accomplish.
Be specific about what these goals are, and the metrics used to measure them. This will help your team know what’s expected of them and how they’re doing, and it will also help the organization meet these goals.
We're all seeking more meaning as we dive into our third winter of COVID. Maybe that means chasing new opportunities. Or, it might mean getting more from the one you already have.
If you liked this piece or have additional suggestions to share with MAC, please contact us. We are also looking for volunteers to help us develop educational content in a range of formats, in addition to other opportunities. Please let us know what you are interested in doing, or watch our volunteer page to see formal volunteer requests as they get posted.