A plea for The Great Reignition

MADMADE founder Tim Harvey wants to move away from the negative connotations of The Great Resignation and look instead towards the opportunity for positive change.

The Great Resignation is no longer a surprise to most, a wave of change that has rippled across the world, with Australia the latest victim.

I say victim because that tends to be how this is reported on – a threat to the workplace. Earlier this month, the former US treasury secretary stated how this trend should scare investors. But what if Australia (or any other country for that matter) wasn’t a victim? What if they were a beneficiary of this huge shift in the workplace, after all this is a moment of positive change. 

One of the hardest hit industries has been marketing. I left my role at a US-based advertising agency at the end of May for a change in country, focus and time out. I work three days a week now, and am going it alone for a year in a bold experiment that will challenge the model most of my career was exposed to. I’m one of so very many that has made a significant shift, but for me it wasn’t about resigning or finishing something (I loved my job) so much as starting something new and now being the right time for that. And so, it saddens me that we talk so much about this on behalf of companies losing something, versus people gaining something. 

A plea. What if we stopped talking about The Great Resignation and started talking about The Great Reignition.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of The Great Resignation too, but unlike when people retire, people don’t resign simply to end something but to start something new. Call it what you will, “The Great Resignation or “The Turnover Tsunami”, the only way for employers and employees to make something of this is to stop focusing on “leaving somewhere” and shift to focusing on “starting something”. And this can work for companies too, to offer people a pivot and moment of change.  

Argue for the start of The Great Reignition. In a year from now, it’s what I want to be reading about – the moment in time that ideas sparked, the revolution started and the madness of the corporate world got turned upside down. This doesn’t require everyone to give a big middle finger to their current employer, but it does require us to shift, share and celebrate the pivots people are making and learn from a reignition in the corporate world, versus report weekly on the statistics of resignation from the corporate world. Resigning is a defeatist term rid with negative connotations – this is not that time. It’s a time for opportunity, for experimentation, for genuinely doing things differently.  

It requires businesses to stop trying to retain people, and start trying to reignite them. And it requires the media to shed fame on the stories of success, those who are genuinely challenging the old way, versus shedding shame on the businesses stuck in their way.   

Many great moments in business are coined after the fact, and I would hope in a year from now “The Great Reignition” is a compendium of the many learnings of change. But this moment is already happening. We’re just (typically) focusing on the negative inputs, versus the brilliant possible outputs. Surely, as marketers, it’s on us to change the narrative. 

Alternatively, you can resign to the fact that we don’t need another term at all, but how would I reignite your perspective if that was the case? 

Tim Harvey is the founder of MADMADE.


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