It’s hard not to notice these days that we’re living through one of the biggest employment shifts of our lifetimes. It feels like everyone is changing jobs, retiring, relocating, or taking up new pursuits. In the wake of the pandemic and the changes it has brought to the nature of work itself, everyone is taking stock and reprioritizing—family, health and wellness, work-life balance, even pipe dreams, and bucket-list goals. The organizational psychologist and management professor Anthony Klotz called this movement “the Great Resignation” in a May 2021 Bloomberg Businessweek interview.
I must confess that I’m about to be part of this movement: I’ve been in my job, in communications at a national nonprofit based in Chicago, for a little over three years, more than two of them during the pandemic, and I’m preparing to leave this job and relocate to Seattle to reunite with my high school sweetheart.
Challenging? Most definitely.
First, I’ll admit that I’ve been experiencing some senioritis knowing I’m going to leave my current job in the next few months. And it’s always been hard to stay motivated and engaged through the various waves of the pandemic and working from home in a studio apartment, especially as my employer implemented a partial furlough policy in 2020 and 2021 that affected my income.
How can I stay motivated in the short and long term, in the day-to-day and week-to-week reality of working from home and anticipating a major life change?
Here are some tips that have helped me feel engaged at work:
- Remember the big picture. Something that helps me stay motivated in the long term is feeling connected to the mission of the nonprofit where I work, which is absolutely the case in my current job. Looking further ahead, I’m motivated by the prospect of exploring new opportunities in a new city with my partner. And I’m going to be looking for career opportunities with organizations with social or cultural missions that with my values.
- Find your groove. During the pandemic, I’ve sometimes found the silence of my apartment to be deafening, but sometimes I get distracted listening to music with lyrics to sing along to. I’m no great student of classical music but I’ve recently discovered that I really like to work with classical radio in the background (shoutout to WFMT in Chicago). Stephen Thompson of NPR has also compiled a great playlist of songs specifically for editing, though editing can stand in for any quiet, focused, independent task.
- Think about your teammates. Even if you work from home or largely independently, chances are there are still coworkers and bosses out there who depend on you and the work you do to serve the organization. As a writer and editor, I know that it inconveniences my colleagues if I don’t do my due diligence on an assignment before I give them something to read. That helps motivate me to not leave any loose ends untied.
Are you thinking of changing jobs, or has someone you know found themselves amid a work transition?
What are you prioritizing in your work as we move into the next phase of the pandemic?
Let us know what motivates you or helps keep you engaged.