There’s a revolution going on in the world of work, and it’s impacting all of us, self-employed professionals included. The Great Resignation, AKA the Big Quit, began in the spring of 2021, as significant numbers of employees began leaving their jobs. Surveys indicate that from 40-65% of the U.S. workforce is either considering quitting or already looking for a new job.
But it’s not just minimum wage employees rebelling against their ever-dwindling earning power, or retail, restaurant, and health care workers fed up with serving on the high-risk front lines during the pandemic. The CEOs of Microsoft and LinkedIn, plus many other industry leaders, agree that it’s a much broader swath of the workforce feeling dissatisfied enough to seek greener pastures.
These leaders are calling this wave of quitting and job changing the Great Reshuffle. An unexpected result of pandemic-era turmoil is that literally millions of people are reassessing their personal priorities and goals. They are rethinking not only where and how they work, but why they work. Workers want to feel as if the jobs they are doing allow them to honor their values.
We self-employed professionals aren’t immune from this epidemic of job-changing. Every day, I hear from professionals who are making big changes in their business. The same forces that are causing employees everywhere to seek out new places and ways to work are catalyzing us self-employed folks to reinvent what we do.
Marissa Badgley of ReLoveUtion describes what’s going on as more than resignations, or even a reshuffle. She calls it the Great Reclamation: “human beings deliberately choosing themselves and working to reclaim their time, energy, identities, autonomy, and passions.” That’s exactly the kind of reinventions I’m hearing about.
Self-employed professionals like you are reclaiming their time. They’re saying no to 60-hour weeks, to working seven days without a break, to being on call 24/7. Instead of scheduling appointments whenever clients want them, they’re accepting clients only when the professional’s carefully designed schedule permits. They’re refusing to offer free consultations to people who aren’t serious prospects, or prepare multiple detailed proposals for prospective clients who won’t commit.
Professionals are reclaiming their autonomy. They’re refusing impossible deadlines, and declining to bend over backwards to satisfy clients who can’t make up their minds. Instead of doing whatever work clients ask of them, they’re specifying the type of work they do, and seeking out clients who fit. They’re switching from working by the hour, under a client’s direction, to offering packages, courses, and products of their own design.
Is it time for you to reclaim your professional passions? This could be the ideal moment for you to begin doing more of the work you enjoy and less of the work you thought you had to. Or, if your business is still just a side hustle, to begin doing the work you’ve been dreaming of. You don’t have to run your business the way you have in the past, or the way others run theirs. You can make it all up anew, if that’s what it takes.
You can reinvent your business as your own business — designed for you, by you, and in support of your unique talents and aspirations.
For self-employed professionals, I’m giving this time a new name — it’s the Great Reinvention. You have an open invitation to join in.