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Redefining Resignation

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The Search for Meaningful Work Post-Pandemic Can Lead to Your Own Backyard


By Paul Mantell, Vice President of Human Resources, YMCA of Metro North


PEABODY – During the pandemic, many American workers took a collective pause to reevaluate what their work means to them. Millions decided that life is too short to risk their safety or their sanity for thankless work and wages. For them, this moment has led to a desire for more meaningful employment that positively impacts the world.


Resignation frames this mass exodus as a giving up or quitting, but there is much more to it. Let’s redefine the Great Resignation to the Great Redefinition and put its participants in a positive and purpose-driven light.


During the Great “Redefinition,” more than 20 million people quit their jobs in the second half of 2021 alone. Much of the layoffs and resignations were driven by women, who disproportionately work in industries that were affected most by the lockdowns, like service, hospitality, and childcare positions. As the pandemic dragged on, workers continued to quit their jobs in large numbers. This despite continued high labor and worker shortages, increasing pay and benefits, and now, very low unemployment. Many businesses are stuck. With pandemic restriction easing, they have high demand but not enough staff to re-open businesses to their pre-pandemic levels safely and effectively. Labor shortages and skills shortages will be the top issue holding us back from a full recovery.


People are burnt out and stressed out from the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, after nearly a year or more of working remotely, spending long hours in traffic commuting has lost its appeal—at any price. Especially now, with gas prices soaring.


The search for meaningful work could be closer than many people think. As American workers think about ‘what’s next’ for their careers, or even part-time jobs, they need look no further than their communities and neighborhoods. As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “I’ll never look further than my own backyard.”


Local nonprofits like the YMCA of Metro North are hiring and offer competitive pay, great benefits, and even signing or retention bonuses for highly specialized positions like early education teachers and lifeguards.


YMCA’s have incredibly broad and robust programming. If you are a retired, semi-retired person, or someone that is still trying to figure out what your passion is, or where you can put your unique talents to work, look no further than the YMCA. We have careers in early education, sports, aquatics, fitness, and other health-related programs, all with a focus on the communities we are a part of. Come explore what the YMCA has to offer!


At the Y, you can make a big impact on the health and well-being of people right in your own neighborhood. We operate in Lynn, Peabody, Saugus, Melrose, Nahant, Revere, Lynnfield and Stoneham communities, and we’re a leading employer in these respective communities.


Our workforce is evolving. Today’s workers highly value organizations that offer meaningful work, a work-life balance, and livable wages. If you are redefining yourself and your career during the Great Resignation, come to make your impact at the YMCA of Metro North or another great local nonprofit working toward the betterment of our local communities. 

Find careers at: www.ymcametronorth.org/careers

About the YMCA of Metro North
The YMCA of Metro North is a leading Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization providing health, fitness, and youth development programs to the nearly 60,000 community members it serves annually. The association awards more than $1,200,000 in financial assistance to members to attend Y Academy early learning and after school programs, summer camps, life-saving swim lessons, and evidence-based health programs such as LiveSTRONG at the Y, Enhance Fitness for Seniors, Cardiac Rehab Maintenance, and more. Learn more:  www.ymcametronorth.org

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