The last year-and-a-half has been a time of disruption that led to reflection.
Now, we’re seeing the result — defection. People have realized that life is too short to work for a bad boss, or earn a living that provides compensation but very little in terms of satisfaction.
Most of the headlines center on service industry and retail workers refusing to go back to low-paying jobs. And yet, highly-skilled knowledge workers got a taste of working remotely, and have been stockpiling savings due to largely hanging at home.
According to a recent FlexJobs survey:
When asked, respondents ranked “cost savings” as the number two benefit of remote work (75%), with “not having a commute” ranking number one (84%).
Thirty-eight percent estimate that they are saving at least $5,000 a year working remotely, while one out of five estimates that they save more than $200 per week, or $10,000 a year.
Many companies are now pushing people back to the office, and people are pushing back. The elimination of those expenses has suddenly become very tangible, and that’s in addition to the fact that people enjoy working remotely, are often more productive, and relish the time flexibility for family, exercise, and sleep.
The result? 58% of workers say they would look for another job if asked to go back to the office full-time. With the US savings rate jumping significantly during the pandemic, plenty of people have the cushion to walk away — and they are.
The number of people who quit jobs in April 2021 increased to 4 million according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last year we worried about people losing their jobs, and this year employers can’t get the people they need (at least not on the terms they used to, which is the point).
Of course, many aren’t looking for new jobs at all. Droves of people are starting their own thing instead:
Millions of Americans have started new businesses, pushing up the business formation rate last year to a 15-year high.
“Money is important, but to me I can’t even explain how much happiness freedom means. It’s so nice to just go away and take a few days,” says Albi Michelle, a New York-based fashion buyer of 15 years who always wanted to start her own business — so she has.
Hey, maybe that will finally cause them to notice … our absence, that is.
If you’re looking for business ideas, check out our free Future Freedom course. It’s all about the “personal enterprise” approach to doing your own thing.
The pandemic has left many people fried from trying to juggle work, parenting, caregiving and other responsibilities without enough support. That may have you in a place where you can’t even contemplate moving on to something else right now. Here’s how to regroup.
How to Beat Burnout — Without Quitting Your Job (New York Times)
The marketing myth that any amount of alcohol is good for you has been exposed as just that. This means more people are questioning whether alcohol deserves a place in their lives, even though they’re not worried that they have a serious drinking problem.
Sober-curious: Experimenting with Ditching Alcohol and Going Dry (Mark’s Daily Apple)
Flex Your Mind
Humankind’s greatest achievements have primarily arrived due to qualities such as creativity, imagination, curiosity, and empathy. These traits involve “cognitive flexibility” — a skill that enables us to switch between different concepts, or to adapt our behavior to achieve goals in a novel or changing environment.
Don’t Put This One Off
If you struggle with chronic procrastination, the long-term solution likely involves understanding the core psychology that drives it. In the meantime, here are some quick tricks you can use to outwit your procrastination and stay focused.
3 Tricks to Outsmart Procrastination and Stay Focused (Nick Wignall)
Down below, Trudi offers a spirited defense of Generation X (someone has to, and it has to be one of us, of course). And in the Flashback, the song that played while Principal Edward R. Rooney rode the school bus home after a very rough day.
P.S. Did someone forward this issue of Further to you? Join us here.
What Makes Generation X Rock
By Trudi Roth
Did you know Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture is 30-years-old?
Douglas Coupland’s idea was to come up with a way to say we’re not Boomers. Turns out he didn’t have to bother … because nobody mistakes us for our elders, the Millennials behind us, or even our Zoomer kids.
“Despite being at the prime of their careers and representing 60% of the workforce, Gen X is commonly overlooked and undervalued.”
And then, of course, there’s the inevitable laundry list of the football-yanking events of our Charlie Brown-esque existence: ’90s recession, dot-com bubble burst, The Great Recession, and COVID-19. (See our theme song by R.E.M. for everything else.)
And don’t get me started about the “we’ll never be able to retire” thing. Because the truth is, we’ve never marched to the beat of anyone else’s drum.
And we’re not about to start.
We Will Rock You
Throughout the pandemic, we got some good ink about how it was GenX’s time to shine. All that latchkey kid resilience and independent spirit finally paid off.
So, of course, our own “generational doula” Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters hosted the symbolic end of social distancing and return to joy playing to the first full-capacity, post-pandemic Madison Square Garden crowd. (Did you catch the not-at-all-odd show highlight Brian mentioned last week?)
Others of our generation were pandemic stand-outs, too. You’ve got market-maker/breaker Elon Musk. Then there’s democracy’s beard, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Or how about Oatly’s eccentric CEO, Toni Petersson.
The kids that wore the “Why be normal?” buttons in the ’80s continue to break societal and economic boundaries and run the show. That goes not only for marquee names but also for everyday entrepreneurs.
After all, the average age of a successful startup founder is 45 — and X currently marks that spot.
Oh Well, Whatever, Never Mind
Ok, fine, I’ll get started for a hot second on the “we’ll never be able to retire” thing.
Once and for all: good.
For us, a sometimes cynical, always pragmatic cohort, the ideal, then, is more about unretirement than anything else. Create income streams outside of traditional employment to live the life you want now, not in your hypothetical golden years.
Because in the end, we are living in an accelerated culture. And as a wise man once said:
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Let’s give that a great big ohhhh yeaaah.
Yello – Oh Yeah
Just in case you didn’t click the link at the close of Trudi’s article, here’s Oh Yeah — the song that kept us so transfixed during the credits of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that Ferris had to show up again at the end to tell us to go home. (YouTube)
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