Of course, you always learn something in a JLA+ event, but recently, when hosting a session on the future of work, I learned that I was a Covid cliché.
When talking about her research on the workplace, the brilliant Christine Armstrong mentioned the huge number of people quitting their jobs, giving it all up, moving out of the city, making huge changes and turning their lifestyles around completely – aka “The Great Resignation.” Well, that’s me.
Not just the job – leaving behind 16 years at the BBC and a decade at Newsnight – but all the other lifestyle cliches. You name it? I’ve done it. Had Covid? Check. Decided to turn around my fitness regime? Count me in. Ended a relationship that was lovely, but not lovely enough? First in the queue. Decided I want to throw it all in and write a book? Yep, that’s me too. The only thing I resisted was becoming a sourdough chef (my cooking is still as terrible as it was pre-pandemic…) Oh, a Covid pet you say? I almost forgot, Oreo the kitten says hello.
Well, it seems I am not alone. Vast swathes of us have stood still and asked ourselves a lot of fundamental questions about who we are, the type of workplace we want to be in, the home life we want and – most of all – “did I have it wrong all along?” For people like me – lucky enough to have survived Covid and lucky enough to have had income to feed my kid, this year gave me that Covid cliché — a once in a lifetime opportunity to stop, think and to reconsider. Without the commute, and the running the UN-like organisation skills that working and being a single parent entails, I got my opportunity to stop. And I decided I wanted to change it all.
Of course, people like me pose a huge challenge to organisations, who are losing experienced employees in huge swathes, and to a society that relies upon us paying our taxes and amassing our pensions.
But, oh god, it feels good. I’ve got my taste of freedom, I’m giving up the commute, and I am a fully paid up member of this Covid cliché. Consider me CEO of my own great resignation. Care to join me?