“The Big Quit” is underway and has been through most of 2021. Early data shows no sign of it slowing down in 2022. In fact, it seems to be accelerating. The most recent data from November of 2021 shows over 4.5 million people quit– a new record.
There are lots of theories and emerging research on what is causing people to quit their jobs in droves. Many resignations are coming from the travel, retail and hospitality industries but the trend crosses into technology, manufacturing and more. Supply chains are severely compromised and prices of construction materials and consumer goods are rising as a result.
An early January 60 minutes interview with Karin Kimbrough, chief economist at LinkedIn, indicated demographically it is across the board from baby boomers retiring early to Gen Z workers- teens and early 20’s. And disproportionately more women than men. Dr. Kimbrough shared the most searched words on LinkedIn related to job searches are “remote work’ and “flexible." And strikingly, many are quitting without another job secured.
We will be sorting out the implications and experiencing its consequences for years to come. We will likely see many changes in workplace cultures, hiring practices and more. This is a complex problem, the likes of which we have no past reference points.
One of the refrains I hear over and over from many who either are considering resigning, or already have, sounds something like this: ”I want my work to have meaning and purpose” or “My work just isn’t very satisfying.”
But what if we are looking at our work wrongly? What if we have it backwards?
We believe that work is good. Early in the Genesis narrative, we see God himself working as He breathes into being the earth, sky and seas, the flora and fauna and the living creatures. And ultimately the creation of human beings, to whom He gave all of this to tend and to work in it. Yes, in a broken world, work has toilsome, even painful, aspects to it. But it is both good and part of God's created order for the world.
And He calls each of us to participate in work with Him every day, wherever we are placed.
In the coming months, CityGate will endeavor to unpack this idea that we have it backwards. That we bring our meaning and purpose to our work, not expect our work to provide it. That the crisis upon us is, in part, a crisis of calling. Not just work.
We are all called by God at several levels -- first and foremost into relationships with Him, and then into relationships with others. Our unique calling - who He made us to be - provides direction towards how we contribute to His economy in our everyday work (whether compensated or not). And while each of us share some common elements of that calling, we are also gifted and called in ways unique to us.
In our spring Labs series we are pleased to be partnering with the De Pree Center at Fuller Seminary to welcome friends and colleagues on this journey of calling, work, and purpose with us.
· February 17: Calling and Work Join Dr. Michaela O’Donnell Executive Director of the De Pree Center to dive into why we often confuse our work and career with calling and the dysfunctional beliefs that keep us stuck. We will examine why passion is a poor criteria for a job search, how to uncover our calling, and why taking the next ‘doable risk’ is vital to our growth and flourishing. Dr. O’Donnell, author of recently released Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World, is eminently practical and will offer valuable insight into navigating the choppy waters of our current work environment.
· March 17: Calling and Context Dr. Patrick Reyes, author of The Purpose Gap, brings much needed perspective on the ‘gap’ “between those who can achieve their dreams and find lives of meaning and purpose, and those who must overcome great adversity just to imagine a better life.” Where we come from, our context, is deeply connected to our ability to uncover our purpose and be a part of much needed change to aid dispossessed, marginalized, ignored, Chicano and broader Latinx/e/o/a community, Black, Indigenous, and people of color in realizing their potential and pursuing their purpose.
· April 21: Calling and Purpose With Dr. Nicholas Pearce we will discuss how discovering our ‘why’ and stewarding it well is core to our purpose path. We will also hear from Dr. Pearce on the role of courage in vocation. Dr. Pearce is the Professor of Management and Organization at Kellogg School of Management, the Founder of the Vocati Group, and author of The Purpose Path: A Guide to Pursuing Your Authentic Life Work.
· May 19: Calling and Coherence Dr. Steven Garber, Senior Fellow for Vocation and the Common Good, M.J. Murdock Trust, has been thinking, writing and teaching on the topic of vocation for most of 35 years. His oft quoted “Vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission of God” has informed hundreds on their own vocational journey. What does it mean to live coherently in a fallen world? How are we ‘implicated’ by our calling and what does it mean to steward vocation well? Dr. Garber will bring this series to a close as we integrate all that we have learned, and how we approach this crisis of calling for ourselves and for the people we lead and serve.
Check out our latest "What We Are Reading” selections.
And stay tuned for coming opportunities to dive more deeply into learning and growing together.