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Navigating the Great Resignation of 2021

Cushman & Wakefield executive Brad Blankenship shares five “staying” principles that have propelled him and other leaders through the discord.

A recent article speculates that 30 percent of workers will quit their current job and either find another job or change careers altogether. The dynamic has coined this interesting but awkward year as the Great Resignation of 2021. The pandemic caused shifts in mindsets about the physical work environment, hybrid work schedules, work from home, vaccinations, and safety at the workplace. The resulting transitions were easier for some than others.

Brad Blankenship

Some of our problems are self-inflicted with government subsidies sent to workers, effectively incentivizing some of them not to return. I have had many conversations with friends in the business about the unprecedented pace of change. Dov Seidman, founder and chairman of LRN said, “When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings, they start — start to reflect, rethink assumptions, and reimagine a better path.”

If we would all admit it, change has always been uncomfortably beneficial to most of us. I believe we will look back on the past two to three years and forever remember how all our lives were impacted. Perhaps you, too, have been impacted but staying put or sticking around doesn’t seem likely. I, too, have considered all these things but am reminded of the “staying” principles that have propelled me and many others through the discord:

  1. Stay in your geographic market to build contacts and relationships that help you execute and develop more business. Longevity and reputation will build your “network net worth.”
  2. Stay in your field of business until you have maximized what you can learn. Then, give back to your peers and share your knowledge to their success.
  3. Stay with your current employer. I rarely hire an individual with more jobs than fingers.  If you are not happy – consider how you can be part of re-building
  4. Stay in your profession by being a student of the game and, ultimately, a subject matter expert.
  5. Stay calm focused on faith, family, and friends.

Change can be good and, in some cases, a must. Being mindful and deliberate about making a change provides the context for a better decision. However, we are all amazed and captivated at the staying power and tenacity that has fueled successful businesses, championship athletes, superb parents, awesome friends, and outstanding workers.

Brad Blankenship is the senior managing director, Texas area lead for Cushman & Wakefield.


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