Re-thinking Something? Nearly Everyone Is Doing It.

In every single conversation that I am having, nearly everyone is re-thinking something. Everyone is doing it. Everyone.

Up to 40% of Americans working right now are re-thinking things about their job. They are thinking about quitting their job. Many liked the flexible work from home (WFH) model during the pandemic, and may now actually prefer a hybrid work week of WFH and in the office. Others are ready to re-educate themselves, and start a new career. This may be due to losing a loved one during the pandemic, and realizing that life is indeed, short. The phrase “do what you love, love what you do” is in high gear right now.

Up to 50% of Americans over the age of 55 are re-thinking how they want to live the next phase of their lives. My partner has owned not one, but three RV’s in the last three years. She sold one to a 65 year old entrepreneur who just sold his company, and has a sick wife. He said, “if we don’t travel now, when are we going to travel?” She sold her older RV to a confident millennial, who is trekking cross country in it, while working remotely.

Many veterinarians are re-thinking if they want to just be a vet, or really run and operate a vet clinic. A colleague of mine just bought three vet practices TODAY, yes, TODAY. And intends to buy 100 more vet practices by yearend 2021. Why? Vet practices are slammed, after many Americans bought a new pet or added a pet during the COVID pandemic. Families are re-thinking their own households, and adding pets.

Mothers, fathers, and couples are re-thinking when to have children, and how many, or if any at all. The US birth rate recently fell another four percent, to its lowest point since 1979. Countless couples are traveling locally and globally, working remotely, and living the life now, all while delaying and/or reducing the amount of child births….instead of the former thought of work, kids, work, and more work, then retire and die.

One of my work colleagues recently shared with me that his son, a professional baseball prospect and a high school student, is re-thinking how he gets his high school diploma. Instead of sitting in class or virtual classes from 8am to 3pm, his son will be improving his baseball skills from 9am to 4pm, and then do virtual learning in the evening via another state’s high school education program. Yes, another state.

Young adults are now re-thinking the cost vs. value of going to college. Enrollment has dropped, as young adults are making decisions to learn online, work full-time, hustle with a few gigs, etc. and employers are realizing that many entry level jobs no longer need a college degree as a pre-requirement.

A couple of our friends in Texas just sold their home, retired from teaching, and are going to travel and live in their travel trailer. They are completely re-thinking how to travel, how to live after retirement, and are taking their sweet time to figure out “where” they will retire.

The average size of home sold in the last 12-15 months is 33 sq. feet larger than the previous year. People are re-thinking their homes, how they use them, and are wanting more space for “flex”, i.e. work from home, exercise room, virtual learning area.

Google and YouTube have seen a 16X spike in “electric vehicles” searches in the last few months. Drivers and car owners are re-thinking their fuel costs, or maybe their own personal carbon footprint, or simply embracing the latest technology.

During the pandemic, millions who stayed home started reading “Reddit”, and learning how to invest on Robinhood. They now are re-thinking how they can invest, and increase their returns. Many of these millions of online investors had never been involved in investing just two years ago.

As a coach, an important question that I’ll be asking this summer: Leaders, what do you suppose your employees are re-thinking? Leaders, are you ready for a potential exit of some of your talent? Leaders, are you really ready to listen to your employees’ needs and wants, and then respond with a win – win solution? Leaders, are you ready to hire new talent that has different career aspirations? Leaders, are you ready for employees to want an EV plug-in dedicated area in your company’s parking garage? Bottom line: be ready, because everyone is re-thinking something. And if you think they aren’t, then you might just be out of touch.

Jen Wilfong, June 2021

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