The Great Resignation, an economic trend where many employees voluntarily quit their jobs, has become more prevalent in the US since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lack of opportunities for career advancement, low pay and feeling disrespected are the top reasons why Americans quit their jobs in 2021, a survey by Pew Research found. But many, like a number of my acquaintances, are riding the wave to pursue their passions, seeking more fulfilling work.
A friend told me once that you know you are in the right career when you feel excited about going to work every day, and I believe in this. I’ve been working in communications, marketing and brand-building for more than a decade now and love what I do.
As I look back, I remember the exact moment I fell in love with the field. As a child, I looked forward to every commercial break on television. I even had video tapes of commercials that I recorded and played for my own amusement. I was intrigued by advertisements and their ability to influence our choices. I’m grateful to have pursued that as my career.
But not all of us are fortunate enough to pursue our passion as our jobs. For example, my acquaintance works as a lawyer, but his passion is in baking and bringing people together over delicious meals. While his job pays him really well, he doesn’t find it joyful. To stop himself from feeling miserable, he opened a bakery and, as a result, found balance and the fulfilment he’s been searching for.
So, what do we do if our jobs aren’t as fulfilling as we want them to be? Do we quit? No. Quitting without having a Plan B to fall back to is not the wisest choice, especially if you have bills to pay and a lifestyle to sustain.
But what you can do is dedicate time to pursue your passion, something as little as an hour a day. If you enjoy writing, start a page on online publishing platform Medium, and build on it by contributing to publications.
When a relative of mine found her well-paying job to be miserable, she started a small business on the side. The joy she found from it reflected positively on her job. In fact, several studies reveal how pursuing something you are passionate about outside work is beneficial to both your personal and professional life.
To retain employees and increase job satisfaction, employers can also encourage their teams to pursue their passions.
For example, Adobe offers employees who have been with the company at least five years, four weeks of paid leave to pursue projects of passion. Other organisations like Google offer fellowships that allow employees paid leave to work for non-profit organisations. Some form of support no matter how small, like providing two-week paid leave every year for projects of passion, could resonate greatly with employees and reflect positively on their productivity and job satisfaction.
Another way an organisation could support their employees’ pursuit of their passion is by offering them mentorship and guidance. For example, if you have an employee in your IT department who loves baking, a member from your sales or social media team could mentor them on how to profit from their project. This could be in the form of an in-organisation mentorship programme, where knowledge is exchanged within the team members, and could be a place where management is inspired to execute new ideas that their employees could manage.
The perfect job can be made possible, and employers could help in offering it, so that they and their employees are fulfilled.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi.