I can’t take credit for the idea behind this post. A fella I follow on Twitter named Matt Lindner tweeted this earlier in the week:
He’s spot on. I’ve been hearing the same thing from so many friends and colleagues over the last 6-9 months.
And it’s not surprising at all. Not given what we’ve been through the last year: COVID, working at home, racial injustice, the election, etc. I mean, 2020 was HEAVY.
But, also: In the comms/PR/social arena, our jobs kinda sucked last year, too, right? March-May felt like a crisis blur. After that, it felt like one thing after another (see above). And, we were on the front lines. Every. Day.
Managing frustrated or outright angry and belligerent online communities. Meeting with execs. Developing comms strategies for communicating with our audiences more frequently.
Add to that: Our colleagues were more on edge. People were stressed, understandably so. But, that stress added up. It had a cumulative effect. And, work got tougher. Our jobs became thankless in many ways. And, we never got to see our colleagues face-to-face.
And so, people started questioning what the heck they were really doing at work.
Am I even making a difference? (yes, it just didn’t seem like it some days)
Am I appreciated? (again, yes, but your boss was too stressed/busy to say anything)
Am I working for a company that truly cares and wants to make the world a better place? (this is a new one, but a question more are asking given 2020)
Enter said “Come to Jesus” moment.
I think in 2021 we’re going to see A LOT of movement in the PR/comms/social space. Many people are going to change jobs, if for no other reason than they want to see if the grass is greener on the other side. But, more than that, people are fed up. They may want to work for an employer with a bigger purpose. They may be sick of their boss. Or, they may just be tired of being worked to death (almost literally in some cases).
I also think we’re going to see more people make complete career 180s in 2021. Like big career changes. You don’t see this happen all that often. But, given we just survived the dumpster fire that was 2020, this is the year you’ll see it more.
I’m thinking of people like Bianca Jones, who spent the last 5+ years at Best Buy in PR/comms. She’s a blossoming star in the PR world. She seems destined for a VP role. But, just recently, she made a big change and accepted a role as Foundations and Corporate Relations Officer with the Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis.
Translation: Bianca wanted a chance to make a difference for her community.
Here are her words in a LinkedIn post where she announced this change last week:
“The past year has not been easy. But it helped light a fire in me that I haven’t seen before. I’m more confident, passionate and thoughtful. I also know that I have a voice and a skill set that can be used to create change.”
Bianca certainly won’t be the last person to make this kind of career change in 2021.
Expect to see more 180s in the months ahead.
2020, you kicked our collective asses.
But, you also made us pause. You made us think. And, you made us realize many of us are destined for different things.
I’m looking forward to seeing what those things are for a lot of you out there.
Go change the world, people.