By Josie Cox September 9, 2021 We want to be successful professionally - but our understanding of ambition evolves into something more personal.I
If you had told Faruk Menguç seven years ago that he would become a goat expert, he probably would have laughed at you.
At the time, Menguç, now 39, was working as the senior post-production coordinator at Harpo Studios in Chicago, where Oprah's show takes place Winfrey. It was a tiring but above all satisfying life for the father of two children, whose famille is originally from Turkey. Then in 2015, he lost his job, and everything changed.
“We lived in a big house in the suburbs. My wife, who used to work in finance, was retraining to be a teacher and we had to make a living, so I started to take any job I could get. I often worked seven days a week and rarely saw my family, ”he says. "I was unhappy.
Menguç 's wife, Holly, had grown up in Vermont, so in late 2016 the family packed their bags and moved about 950 miles to Burlington, a small town in Vermont on the east shore of Lake Champlain, about 60 miles from the Canadian . Initially, Menguç found work for a local TV talk show, but soon realized that he wanted to make major changes in her life for her well-being and that of her family, they might have to be more dramaticks. "I just didn't feel like I was doing a job that really fulfilled my goals in life," he recalls.
Around the middle of 2017, after trying to milk an acquaintance's cows on a nearby farm, he had a sort of epiphany. “After a day of work, every part of my body ached. I was only making $ 10 an hour, but it was so amazing and I had never been happier, ”he says. “For the first time in my life, I was doing meaningful work.
Holly also began to live in the countryside and the couple began working as farm laborers. They quickly adapted to a new routine of getting up early, working in the elements, and learning the weather challenges of each season. Their experience with a totally different lifestyle was a success; later this year, the couple hope to buy their own farm in a town just in the sud from Burlington. It will be a home for them, their daughters and a thriving goat herd that currently numbers around 230 goats. “The goat milk market is extremely strong,” explains Menguç. "These are exciting times for all of us.
The seismic change in Menguç's life may be more extreme than most will ever experience, but it is nonetheless representative of a trend that engulfs at least one generation of the workforce. Priorities are changing. The idealized ideal course might once have looked like a staircase, a linear course with intermittent pay increases and regular promotions that signify career progression.
But that is changing quickly. We don't necessarily become less professionally ambitious, experts say, but our collective understanding of ambition - as a concept in the context of work - is shifting towards more.Something less standardized, more subtle, more and more personal and often quite complex for employers loyal to tradition. understand.
A generation that reconsiders
Perhaps one of the most obvious manifestations of this trend is the extent to which whole sections of the hand -today workers prioritize their well-being over big salaries and titles.
A recent and high profile example is gymnast Simone Biles wi withdrawing several Olympic finals in July to prioritize his sanity. But it's a broader shift that is becoming increasingly evident in a plethora of industries, and one that the Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly catalyzed.
Faruk Menguç says he has no regrets about his decision to rethink his career and his professional life (Credit: Peter Cirilli)
More than half of employees polled in a recent survey from Australian software company Atlassian and PwC, for example, said they would consider changing jobs to access remotely - work opportunities , considered mores beneficial for work-life balance. An even larger proportion said they would forgo a promotion if it meant protecting their mental health.
"Career goals have taken a back seat as employees grapple with the need to balance work with family life, mental health and well-being," said wrote the researchers of the accompanying report. "The pressures of high power roles and the exhaustion that comes from " always being active "no longer seem to be worth it.
This trend seems particularly pronounced among young workers. A Prudential Financial survey of 2,000 Americans conducted earlier in 2021 showed that more than a third of people aged 25 to 40 said they planned to look for a new job afterafter the pandemic , against about a quarter of workers in total. A previous survey, conducted in 2019, found that 75% of millennials in the past had quit their jobs to preserve their sanity.
Because such a large contingent of the workforce seems reconsidering priorities in life and work, our collective attitude towards the stereotype of professional success also seems to be changing. It has become more socially acceptable to admit that he wants more from life than a lot of money and status.
"It is increasingly recognized that radical change is something to applaud," says Victoria Bryan, a former journalist and editor who quit her job in Berlin in 2018 at the age 37 to qualify. as a commercial airline pilot, with part of his training in Newshe Zealand. “Everyone I spoke to was extremely supportive and many said they marveled at my courage to try something new and follow my dream, even if it meant less money and a lot of short-term uncertainty.
'More on the paycheck '
Gian Power sees himself as part of a cohort of young people - broadly defined like millennials and younger, or those born after the early 1980s - whose interpretation of career ambition has evolved in recent years.
Having started his career at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt in 2012, he left corporate life and founded his own company in November 2017, in part to give himself autonomy over his professional life. His London-based company, TLC Lions, partners with leading companies to support their inclusion, mental health and talent development programs. It vise to help businesses meet the changing needs of the workforce and their changing definition of success and professional growth.
"[The job] isn't just about the paycheck anymore," says Power. “Professional success for many now is about finding happiness in their lives. When asked if he believed a culture of presenteeism has diminished the appeal of promotions among members of his generation, Power acknowledges vehemently. “100%. I have had friends who quit their corporate jobs without a future job planned. Why? Because they can't take it anymore, ”he says. "They are not inspired by their leaders and they don 't aspire to be at the top if it only means financial gain and real loss of happiness.
Nicholas Pearce, professor at the Kellogg School of Management from Northwestern University in the United States echoes this. "I 've seen more of my students over the past decade going for what I call ' the path of the goal '. They are willing to sacrifice the mega-payday in order to Engage in work that contributes to human flourishing - including their own, "he says." Many choose not to move up the career ladder that could significantly harm their spiritual, mental and physical well-being . ”
Some young workers are willing to negotiate long hours, pay roles for the job that 'they find more significant, according to experts (Credit:)
The target " Great Resignation ", a term coined by Anthony Klotz of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University in May of this year, s " 'has been ramping up in recent months, culminating in what some have called a full-blown labor market retention crisis . The lockdown has given people the opportunity to reflect on themselves and many have concluded that the well-marked path to the top of a pyramidbusiness no longer seems desirable; that career success may be different.
"The pandemic has reinforced the fact that life is short and that life is more than work," says Pearce. This accelerated a trend that was already rapidly taking shape long before Covid-19, he adds.
As such, he adds, in order to retain talent, employers need to radically rethink what Pearce calls the employee value proposition. Businesses need to consider what value an employee can get from their work for that particular business beyond their pay and benefits.
"So many organizations are so focused on goals, strategies and actions that they fail to step back and ask 'why do we exist ? ", He said. "Organizations that are able to answer the question of the objective in a clear mannerre and compelling will be better able to attract and retain a goal-motivated workforce. "
A Long-Term Compromise
While many workplace experts applaud the collective quest for a better work-life balance and privacy, as well as the widespread change in how we think about success, Anat Lechner, clinical associate professor of management and organizations at the NYU Stern School of Business, explains that there is a complexity to the discussion that does not exist. can be ignored.
"It's important to understand that most people can't afford to step back like this because they have to worry about putting food on the table and paying for them. bills "she said.
Lechner says it is critical that individuals be aware of the long-term and short-term consequences of the business decisions they make. There is a risk, he saidthe, that someone who is extremely focused on their short-term well-being not understand that nothing can replace hard work when it comes to living comfortably into old age, and maybe to support a family.
Indeed, the evidence suggests that young workers are falling behind on their finances. A research report published in the United States in 2020 showed that the proportion of young adults with unpaid student loan debt fell from 34% in 2012 to 43% in 2018 . More than half said they feared they might not be able to pay off their student loan debt and 37% said they would not be able to find $ 2,000 in 30 days.
In the UK, a study by financial services firm Royal London found that 40% of 18 to 34 year olds cut their pension contributions during the pandemic or stopped contributing altogether, even as life expectancy continues to rise in much of the western world.
Lechner says there is a risk of being too short-term. "In particular, these young workers need to understand that they are going to have to live with the long-term consequences of the choices they make today hui when it comes to working hard and making money, "she says.
In essence, it is a balancing act. Recalibrating our understanding of what ambition and care is and success means in favor of safeguarding mental health and well-being can undoubtedly be beneficial, but every decision we make must be practical and grounded in an understanding of our commitmentspersonal and financial ts throughout our lives.
Faruk Menguç, for his part, is unfazed.
"As farmers we now have everything that was lacking in our former lives as very busy career professionals," he says. “Money and promotions can be great, but they can never really sum up success. Maybe some people will say that I have become less ambitious professionally, ”admits Menguç. "But I've certainly never been happier than I am today, and in the end, you can't put a price on it. "