Saturday 10 June 2023

The Great Promotion

There is an idea that, from a young age, we have this expectation of a career. That is, the more we build our:

  • Work experience
  • Technical skills
  • Professional knowledge
Then we can expect the following to grow in the workplace:
  • Increased responsibility and decision-making
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Increased salary
This timeframe works alongside the assumption that, as we grow older, we have:
  • Increased financial burdens, such as mortgages or rents on growing families / households
  • More refined sense of a work-life balance, and what we want to do with our time
  • A developed sense of social responsibility and how we want our work to align with those values
The dream career is where we have a deeply satisfying job, utilising the best of our skills, that aligns with our personal values, and also adequately covers our living costs and affords a quality of life on top of the bare necessities.

Yep, I know, right? In this economy?

Two years ago, there was much talk of The Great Resignation. Interest rates were low and after a year of lockdown conditions, morale was precarious, so there was a tendency for people say, "Actually, I can probably afford to take a pay-cut to pursue something completely different and potentially better aligned with my personal goals and values." Or, alternately, take the opportunity to take a side-step into a different field with less experience - with an corresponding pay-cut at a step down - but use it as a launching pad into a new career path.

We then saw an all-time high industry on staffing - particularly in frontline service roles in hospitality, retail and health services. And who can blame them, really?

Now the tables have turned. Mortgage interest rates (but unsurprisingly not savings interest rates) and the cost of living have skyrocketed. We're told that we need to spend less to slow down inflation, which is apparently why we shouldn't get pay rises - not that those pay increases come anywhere near the rise in the cost of living that we're meant to cover! So much for the worker's right to a living wage.

So, what's the alternative? If we can't get a wage rise, then it's time to step up into a new job. Cue the Great Promotion - where all those people who left their previous jobs for a better quality of life or to explore new career options need to re-align with hustle culture and get that promotion in order to make ends meet.

At the risk of sounding like a raving socialist, I resent the fact that my career decisions are currently influenced by the changing economy. It feels suspiciously like I need to start behaving less like an idealist and more like an adult. 🙃

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