The Great Resignation is a Good Thing (I Think)
Greg Foster, March 22, 2022
The current global pandemic has been a time of struggle for most people. However, one of the few silver linings is the time it gave us to finally prioritize mental health in our professional lives. The “Great Resignation” has workers across generations reconsidering where and how they want to work. For Gen Z, the most pragmatic and socially motivated of all generations, the shift seemed inevitable. How many Gen Z people do you know that would have stuck at one job for 30+ years, that would have continued to deal with shitty bosses and burnout? Long term tenures were always going to be scarce among young people based on their interests, their networks and the rapidly evolving job market. The tides have turned, long before COVID. Do not get me wrong, COVID and the switch to remote work has definitely accelerated the trajectory and shined a light on the mental health struggles of many professional workers. It is empowering to finally see people willing to risk short term financial insecurity, to maximize long term happiness. The fact of the matter is that the job market is hot right now, people have more options than ever, and more and more services are becoming available to help make career transitions possible! This is the perfect time to take a step back, so you can take two steps forward. The media has mostly painted the great reset in a negative light, but it is something that should be celebrated. Young people all over the world are finally taking time to think about what truly makes them happy and are willing to take more risks to achieve their ultimate goals. Sure, some of these people will ultimately be disappointed. Maybe their TikTok influencer career doesn’t take off or the Monkey NFT they bought will go to $0 but failure does not justify the naysayers. People are finally embracing other passions, creativity, and joining more communities. Best of all, the resignation movement is single handedly lowering corporate burnout, stress-induced health issues, and negative associations with work. The tech industry has been trying to do this for years and have been largely successful. They have tried to prioritize employee happiness, perks, balance, etc. so they can 1) attract and retain top talent and 2) keep employees engaged and focused. I look back on my own career and remember the optimism I had starting my career in consulting and how the fire slowly burned out over the ensuing 6 years. It was not because the work was particularly bad, the people were particularly hard to work with, or because I was working too much. It was because it was monotonous and sometimes too easy. I wanted to be challenged, to be surprised, to be inspired by the work I was doing. Instead, I felt like a factory worker, clocking in and out (except it was not 9 to 5). Like so many others my age (I am 29), I wanted something different and was ready to make a change. Sure, I was paid well, I had a good network of smart people, and I was generally happy. I feel like at some point in your career, you hit a crossroads, you know it is now or never. Do you stay in the safe job or do you take the cliched “leap of faith”? COVID has made more people willing to jump, parachute or not. And funny enough, they seem to be landing on their feet, oftentimes in better paying, more balanced jobs. If that is not the case, they simply jump again until they find the safe landing spot, they so desperately desire. I think back to my parents and the generation of baby boomers who never took risks in their career, who had company loyalty even when the companies didn’t have employee loyalty. Most of these baby boomers did well, got the suburban house with the white picket fence but did they ever really achieve their potential? Did they ever find something that made them truly happy? The job you get as a 22-year-old after college is likely not the job that will fulfill and sustain you as a 29-year-old or a 35-year-old or a 50-year-old. There is a sense of optimism that people have turned this terrible pandemic into something good and have started to reassess their options and focus on health and happiness. As companies start to adapt, I am hopeful that this will be good for everyone - happy, motivated employees are an asset to companies and will propel them into their next phase of growth. Unlike the media’s position, this Great Reset should be viewed as a positive movement to adapt and sustain the next generation of American workers. Learn how to make the jump, at theprofesh.com.
Open vs. Closed Networks
Greg Foster, April 2, 2022
No, this isn’t a blog about Web3 and the decentralization of the internet. This blog is meant to discuss the beauty of an open network and how traditionally, closed networks like LinkedIn, the Yale Club, or your Rutgers consulting club need to rethink their membership. When you think about a network, you are probably thinking about how you know people. I went to college here, I worked there, I joined this club, I played this sport with this team…I could go on. There’s a finite amount of people in that “club” and that limits your ability to network. Some might argue that having shared backgrounds or experiences enhances your networking, “you always have something to talk about”. My argument is that shared interests are the key driver, not shared history. Stop looking backwards and start looking forward. It’s true, diverse backgrounds and opinions are critical to growth. Yet, staying in closed networks of like-minded people will hinder your ability to make meaningful change. Living in that echo chamber, does not lead to growth and makes it very hard to pivot in your life, whether it’s personal or professional. Let’s start with an example, to highlight the hinderance of progress when using a closed network. Let's say you are a community college graduate, employed as a call center operator. Your network (Offline & LinkedIn) are all friends and colleagues from that call center, community college, and high school. Now, picture you want to explore software development. Your network is no longer useful for you - no one you know is in software development. Maybe some connections of connections are in software development, but you don’t know those people. What do you do? More and more people are turning to open communities of people that share similar passions or career aspirations. There are large communities of people looking to get into software development and willing to connect, mentor, and befriend. The backgrounds of these people are diverse, and each person offers different insights into their journey and strategies. No exclusive requirement of graduating from a prestigious school or history of working at some uppity company. Everyone wants to help. Everyone has the same goal. Everyone is welcome. Reflecting on my own experience leaving consulting, everyone on my LinkedIn is in consulting or is someone I met while consulting; a client, a banker I worked with, etc. I look through my network and I ask myself “who can help me make the next jump? Who can help me find what I want to do?” My next move was to speak with people who left consulting and they all seemed to have the same two stories. One was that they got lucky and two was that they intentionally picked jobs similar to consulting to make the transition easier. Everyone talks about the importance of networking and always recommends networking when looking for a new job or thinking about other opportunities. No one ever talks about what network to look to. As someone who went to a decent college, who worked for a large company, I still continued to struggle finding anyone in my network that could be of help. Imagine not coming from that background, not having some pre-established network. What do you do? We need to normalize joining open networks of people and finding where we fit professionally. Stop looking to your closed networks of people that are similar to you and start looking to expand to the types of people you want to know.
The Short-Form Revolution
James Howell, April 8, 2022
The average person spends almost SIX HOURS on their phone, every day. That is not even including work-related use. Did our headline get your attention? Now, we have only another 15 or so seconds to keep it, or you'll head off searching for content in another direction. This is the world we live in now - there's a near infinite amount of content out there, and nowhere near the attention span nor time in the day needed to consume even a fraction (although we're willing to throw six hours at it). It's fine. More content means more opportunities to learn something new and develop. It also means we have to make snap judgments about whether this blog, or news article, or YouTube video will be worth the remaining 5 minutes it needs from us. It's a fundamental change in our psychology that has been at work since the introduction of the internet. Is it really any wonder that more and more of us are questioning having attention disorders? ADHD or not, I struggle to concentrate on anything I’m looking at for more than 5 minutes. Why? Because I don't have to. I can keep jumping to new pages, and googling new things to learn what I want, very easily. Ironically, like most, I'll end up in an internet search wormhole, seeing something related or even entirely new that interests me, look that up, and the cycle continues on for much longer than 5 minutes. Throw in the addictiveness of social media, and you've got your six hours. Companies have been responding to this change in how we consume content in order to grow and get their products and services reaching the masses. The answer has become increasingly clear, and surprisingly simple when you think about it - give people short-form content. Look at the rise of e-mail newsletters over the past few years. Companies like Morning Brew do a fantastic job of delivering a complete view of key news and opinions from around the web in a sub-5-minute morning read. You can of course, click the links provided and dig deeper when something piques your interest. But the simple goal is to get you the best overview of news in the shortest time possible, so you can get on with your busy day. Most publications are catching on. They'll make you a promise of being ‘only a 3-minute read' right at the start. Many have introduced some sort of progress bar to show how close to the end you are. But, we're even moving away from written communication. Be honest, if you are presented with a two minute read, vs a two minute video with the same content, with an engaging, likable person delivering it - which are you choosing? We can see it in what social media companies have been doing to keep up with each other over the last few years:
- Snapchat introduce our stories
- LinkedIn introduce LinkedIn Video
- Instagram introduce Instagram stories (a.k.a Snapchat 2.0)
- Youtube Shorts is introduced
- Tiktok, the short-form video platform reaches 1 billion annual users
- Instagram follow up with 'Reels' (a.k.a Tiktok 2.0)
Videos, when made correctly, can be hugely addictive, and give users more of a personal connection to the media they’re consuming. Crucially, they help creators and marketers get ahead of the competition. Just look at these statistics from 2020:
- 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. (Wyzowl)
- Viewers claim they retain 95% of a message when obtained via video. (Social Media Week)
- 93% of brands got a new customer because of a video on social media. (Animoto)
It is all too clear - short-form content, in particular video, is how most people, especially Millennials and Gen-Z, like to stay informed and be entertained. It is therefore the best way to engage with and sell to those people, if you're trying to get your product or service out there.
In-keeping with the short-form theme, I'll close out with this last thought (15 seconds more, I promise). If you're trying to educate, market, or just share your opinion with the world - keep it short. Consider distributing it as a video if it'll work.
Your audience’s attention spans will thank you, and they'll be much more likely to reward you with a follow or a share to help spread your voice even further.
Long-form content isn't dead. It just needs a commitment that people are increasingly not willing to offer to new creators straight away. Earn their trust with excellent short-form content, and they'll spend more of their six hours engaging with all forms of your content soon enough.
My Experience Trying to Job Switch
Kendahl Nester, April 12, 2022
Sometimes the idea of something, turns out to be much more appealing than the reality. Like reading a novel, we motion through our lives waiting for all our hard work to pay off and all our struggles to make sense and what we are left with is painful disappointment. Most people in their younger years fantasize about their dream career, their passion, their reason for being. However, I personally have never met someone who continues to speak about their everyday lives and regular 9-5 like they’ve hit the lottery. We continue to phrase our adult lives like the marketing campaign from the 1950s. However, we are in 2022 and most people are starting to wake up a realize they don’t want to work, doing the same monotonous thing every day until they die. Growing up, I only really had one career in mind for my future, teaching. I completed high school internships and excelled throughout my college preparation program. Not once was I questioned, did I question, if this is definitely what I wanted to do. I spent hours studying and devoting time in the classroom with children (unpaid I might add) and not once did my mentor teachers mention the hoops I may have to jump through when I entered into the career full time. My mentors did a great job fine tuning my teaching skills and aided me in excelling in the world of education. However, they were not transparent in all aspects of the career. Finally, the day came for me to begin working full time. On my first day of work, I remember spending hours cleaning and straightening up my very own classroom. By 12:30pm, my very trendy teacher fit was ruined with sweat and I thought to myself “It can only go up from here.” Little did I know that wasn’t a fraction of how bad it could get. Days passed, weeks passed, months passed, and I continued to wait for the day where I felt happy, fulfilled even. I remember people saying the first year of teaching was hard, that you basically were in survival mode the entire time. I thought since I did so well in school that, “that possibly couldn’t happen to me.” By year two, I was completely miserable. Yes, I did begin my teaching career at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that had absolutely nothing to do with the way that I was feeling. If only I had conversations with other professionals that really explained what it was like to be a teacher while I was still in school. If only I had access to information that explained other career paths that may interest me. Now, I find myself here. 25-years-old and beginning a whole new career as a marketing professional. Is it scary to start over? Yes. Is it difficult to find other people like me? No. There are entire communities of people looking to completely change fields, just like I have. I’m sure we’ve all heard about the great resignation. Young people are beginning to realize their worth and finding a path that best suits them. Upon my extensive research and job hunting, I came across Profesh. Profesh is an EdTech platform that helps young professionals learn about new careers, develop new skill sets, and connect with new mentors and communities. They’ve already collected all the information I spend hours a day trying to gather myself. All in one place. All my hours of TikTok scrolling, all my hours of google searching careers paths, all together on one platform. Better still, it’s free! Let’s face it, life is not like a perfectly curated novel. Life is much messier than that. But, from my time in education, I do believe that with the right knowledge, we can make the best decisions. I’ve always found it hard to gain that knowledge for my career hunting decisions, so it’s great to find in Profesh a tool that makes it a little easier.