Karen has a great a job. She was a VP of a small publishing house in Cambridge just outside Boston. “I had a great apartment and Cambridge is a great town for nightlife” she told me. So why, then, did she decide to quit and take a year off from work?
More and more employees are looking for a better quality of life and want to work to live. Even employers that often great salaries are having a hard time recruiting top talent. Millennials are redefining what it means to have a “career” and employers had better wake up and listen.
When I talked to Karen she told me that she had quit after taking a walk by the St Charles River in Cambridge. “It was an early spring day and I just noticed how beautiful the path around the river really was” she told me. “When I got back to the office, I had the usual messages and meetings and decided at that minute that I had enough”. She quit her job and took a year off from work. “I was paying over $2800 a month in rent, parking for my car was $300 month and even though I was a VP I was having problems taking time off and saving money. I decided that I had had enough.”
Today Karen is working as an Assistant Editor and even though she has been offered two promotions she has turned them down. “I don’t have to worry about email on the weekend or at night and I walk to my office with plenty of time to stop and have a cup of coffee”.
Karen has found her space and it’s not about the title or money, it’s about inner peace she has found doing what she really wants to do. What employers don’t realize is that there are a lot of Karen’s out there and they are looking at their careers in a whole new way. More and more employees don’t really care about salaries or perks; what they care about is being able to have a life and not sitting in a bunch in meetings all day watching the world go by.
HR managers need to communicate to senior management the importance of company culture in attracting and retaining employees. If people are leaving there is a very good chance it’s because your work environment is not allowing them to grow and have a life. Giving someone a great title and with a good salary is no substitute for missing what life has to offer.