Choosing Work While Prioritizing Wellbeing
Anne-Marie Strasenburgh was in an interesting spot. As a vice president at a large national corporation, she had a long, successful career in staffing and was at a crossroads. She could retire, but she didn’t feel like she was quite ready for that. She was an industry expert with just under four decades of experience who was good at what she did and knew she had more to offer.
She was searching for something different. Something more.
Tonya Lain was in a similar situation. While not near retirement quite yet, she was searching as well. Tonya was also an industry veteran with a wealth of leadership experience at large corporations. She had spent 20 years as a vice president leading global teams and managing a $150 million division. But she had been bogged down by a corporate culture that no longer matched her own personality or goals.
Both Anne-Marie and Tonya knew they could take another prestigious job with a big title. But they had been there, done that; it wasn’t what they wanted anymore. They still wanted success and they wanted to make money – they certainly earned the ability to do both – but now they wanted their next move to be one that let them reach for great heights on their own terms.
“I took the opportunity to think through what I really needed from my career,” Tonya says. “I was lucky because I felt like I was in a position to truly prioritize what mattered to me in the next career move I made. I wanted the next job to be about being happy.”
Anne-Marie and Tonya were not the only ones participating in “The Great Re-Think.” The 2020 pandemic changed many workers’ relationship with their careers, and we’re still seeing the effect in 2022. A recent survey by Deloitte of 2,100 employees and executives across the US, UK, Canada, and Australia indicates that even C-level employees are struggling to balance wellbeing with career demands. When it comes down to the wire, many say they will choose wellbeing.
The survey found that 57% of employees and nearly 70% of C-suite executives are considering quitting for a job that better supports their well-being. Other key findings include around one in three workers and executives “always” or “often” feels exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, lonely or depressed. The don’t feel that they’re allowed to disconnect from work and replenish themselves. Only about half of workers surveyed (56%) believed their executives care about their employees’ health.
These findings are dismal, but perhaps not surprising after a stressful couple of years. But what has changed since the pandemic is that workers feel empowered to explore other options.
Success used to be defined by moving in a single direction: up. If you weren’t taking on more responsibility and more significant roles, your career was generally considered to be in decline. There have always been exceptions, but for the most part, the career path was a one-way street.
Considering a role that has less responsibility was at one time stigmatized, but some workers’ priorities are changing. And greater respect is being given to individuals who are finding a way to have it all.
It is also how power players like Anne-Marie and Tonya ended up at a relatively new company like XPG Recruit where the restrictions of a large corporation were abandoned for values like relationships, rewards, connection, respect, transparency, support, autonomy, flexibility, celebration, fun, friendship, and trust. Those may seem like a smattering of words thrown out for posterity, but it is something XPG Recruit takes great pride in proving out and a benefit that both Anne-Marie and Tonya recognized immediately in their first week.
Both women have also been able to go back to their core purpose: helping others find fulfilling careers. Both have walked away from big leadership roles to return to recruiting, which can be just as lucrative when positioned for success. With their connections and wealth of knowledge and experience, they are able to provide a depth of knowledge within the recruiting and staffing space that outperforms others.
Anne-Marie says, “My job had been about putting out fires for so many years that I had forgotten how much I could enjoy my work. Every single day I am having positive interactions with people and feel like I am making a difference. Retirement is fun – but this is more fun!”
Having celebrated her one-year anniversary with XPG Recruit, Tonya appreciates her autonomy (both she and Anne-Marie work from their homes in other states) and the ability to get back to what she loved about recruiting in the first place. “If someone is unhappy in their careers, they should know they have options,” she says. “Some of those opportunities might even be inside their current company if they’re willing to ask. If not, planning and preparing to make a change may take some time. But it might be the best career move you can make. In fact, it might change your life.”