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Why It’s a Great Time to Be Talented

In other words, do your HR and Senior Leaders have tattoos and body piercings?

There are rumblings that the Great Resignation (large numbers of people quitting their jobs) is turning into the Great Regret (people realizing the grass isn’t always greener).

Notwithstanding that some people may find that their employment options weren’t as wonderful as they expected, it’s still a great time to be talented.

And why is that?

The Great Recession
During and following the Great Recession, companies laid off huge numbers of people as a result of the massive downturn in the economy.  Simultaneously, many remaining employees were told by their employers words to the effect of “You’re now in charge of managing your career.  You can’t look to us to be solely responsible for that.”

For those who weren’t talented, that was a threat to both their employment and a long career.
For those who were talented, it was the start of great opportunity and possibility.

The Message
For the talented ones, they got the message:  “Okay, so you can no longer guarantee me lifetime employment, and I can’t guarantee you lifetime loyalty.  Seems like a fair trade.  Essentially, work for hire.  Free agency………I’m good with that.”

When HR has Tattoos and Body Piercings
If you’re wondering what’s acceptable in your organization, look to HR and Senior Leadership.  Tattoos and body piercings will become acceptable in the workplace when HR and/or Senior Leaders have tattoos and body piercings.

Similarly, over time, HR and Senior Leaders began to look at resumes differently.  If you had changed jobs every two to four years, you were no longer viewed as a “job hopper”, assuming you had built up skills by changing jobs.  Thoughts from HR and Senior Leadership:  “Very interesting.  They did this for two years, and then did that for three years, and then went on to do X, Y, and Z the next two years.  What a great diversity of skills.  We can ‘plug and play’ them into so many different roles here.”

Putting It All Together
So in light of the above, the most talented today say:
“I get it.  I’m responsible for my career.  I can’t rely on my employer to do that for me.  So if they don’t provide me training and development, I’ll get it elsewhere.  And how do I do that?  By leaving.  And I’ll stay at my next job as long as I can build a portfolio of skills.  And once I can’t, it’ll be time to move on. 

“And no worries, because when they look at my resume, they won’t say ‘job hopper’; they’ll say ‘great diverse skillset’, ‘done a variety of things over the years’, ‘open to change’, ‘not afraid of a challenge’, ‘able to be plugged-and-played quickly and easily’  ‘When can they start?'”

Looking Ahead
In the recent jobs report, it was noted there were approximately two job openings for every person looking for a job.  And if we were able to know how many of those looking were actually qualified for the open positions, I would submit that the ratio of openings to those truly eligible would be notably higher than just 2:1.

For those who are talented, it’s among the best of times these days.
For those who are leading them, make sure to coach, develop, and challenge them.  And don’t ignore or lose sight of them.  They won’t cause you problems or drain you of your time.  But they are the ones most able to leave.

And Why Bother?
And for those who say, “Why then should I develop them, if they’ll only leave?”, I would say two things:
“What compels them to leave your organization in the first place?” and
“The only thing worse than developing your people and having them leave, is not developing them and having them stay.”