In this week’s episode, Billy talks with Brian Aquart, an attorney, consultant, and multifaceted healthcare leader with over 12 years of experience in advising executives & teams, fostering growth & innovation, public speaking, and managing conflict. He is also the Creator and Host of the Why I Left Podcast, a show chronicling real stories from real people about why they left their jobs during the pandemic.
Billy and Brian discuss:
–How Brian took an interest in understanding why people are leaving their jobs
–How his experience as an attorney focused on employee discrimination shape his understanding as to why people leave their jobs
–His learnings about the psychology around organizational behavior
–The reasons behind the failure or success of employee retention/satisfaction
–How access to resources play a role in people leaving their jobs
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Check out his YouTube channel, Instagram and website, or you can email him at: email@example.com
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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Brian: He mentions how he was one of my first executives in the tech space and he mentioned the commute and now the commute. And I had another all talked about this, too. If we're commuting hour, hour and a half front and back. Right. So that's 3 hours. Let's just say 2 hours in the day. And now you have that extra 2 hours to yourself.
What can you now do with that time? And people started to recognize like, oh, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Even these 2 hours that compound. Right. So that's 10 hours a week. Well, I got this side hustle or side project I was doing that I could really now focus on or potentially even scale. And so people started to see that.
And, you know, you talk about compounding interest with this compound of time now, because what people started to do is say, all right, so I don't have the commute. I'm not just going to sleep in. I'm going to actually treat it like I'm working. And then I'll go to my actual job at eight or nine. But from 7 to 9, here's what I'm doing for eight tonight.
Here's what I'm doing. And so was it a reshuffle? Yeah, a bit of a reshuffle. But I think it was really when we talk about mentally what it did for folks, it was an awakening 9 to 5. I may be able to leave that. And if I could, here's what it could look like.
Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life second half. I'm your host, Billy Lahr and educator and personal trainer, meditation teacher and Overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning, mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating and parenting all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn and grow.
So we can live a more purpose filled life. Take a deep breath, embrace the present and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy Lahr. Thank you for tuning in wherever you are. The purpose of the show is to provide a platform that gives people the space and permission to share their expertise and life experiences in order to help others navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half.
And remember, this free and useful information is helpful to people of all ages. Wisdom is not about one's age. Wisdom comes from our ability to reflect, learn and grow from our own life experiences, while also learning from the experiences of others, regardless of what stage of life we are in. Because you just never know what life is going to throw at you.
So there just might be a conversation or two from past episodes that help you feel better prepared for the challenges you might face in life or that you're facing right now. Whether those challenges be your emotional, mental and or physical health, your relationships with others, including your partner and children, your career, your finances, whatever curveballs life is throwing your way right now, just know that you are not alone in your experience.
And the conversations I'm having here are with people who have been there before or have done the research to help you navigate these situations with more awareness, openness, curiosity and compassion so you can live a more purpose filled life. And trust me, I take all of these conversations. I'm having the heart as well, and I try to apply what I'm learning from these conversations, which is why I do solo episodes the first Wednesday of every month, because I think of the show as a running dialog between me and you, the listener, because my hope is that you can see and hear the growth I'm making of my own life.
So that inspires you to seek out the connections between our shared experiences so that you too can take intentional and inspired action. So if you're looking for some ways to help, you better navigate whatever you've got going on in your life from someone who's been through it before, check out some of the other episodes at WW Mindful Midlife Crisis dot com or wherever you get your podcasts.
Today's episode focuses on switching careers and making moves professionally. So if you want more episodes like that, be sure to check out episode 28 with Dr. Dawn Graham about how to successfully switch careers. Episode 31 with John Wessinger, where we talk about re-imagining your relationship with risk. Episode 64 with Jessica Fiesta George about making your LinkedIn profile work for you during your job search, or if you're looking to escape the 9 to 5 grind, listen to Episode 63 with the Simple Man Guide, Brian Gallagher.
So with that, let's meet today's guest. Today's guest is Brian Aquart. Brian is an attorney, consultant and multifaceted healthcare leader. With over 12 years of experience and advising executives and teams fostering growth and innovation, public speaking and managing conflict. He is also the creator and host of the Why I Left podcast, a show chronicling real stories from real people about why they left their jobs during the pandemic.
And guess what? Yours truly is going to be a guest on that show, so be sure you subscribe wherever you get your podcasts as well as on YouTube. Brian is a naturally curious person whose passion for knowing the Y has led him to experience many of life's joys. Brian focuses on a lifelong learning, executing strategies that save lives, connecting people to mission, developing leaders and advocating for inclusive and equitable work environments.
Brian's professional journey took the scenic route, but he is thankful for the insights gained through the process. He is here today to share what he has learned from other people's journey through the great resignation. So welcome to the show Brian Aquart!
Brian: Billy How's it going? And I'm excited. I'm excited to have you on my show, too. I'm looking forward to it.
Billy: It was a blast having that conversation. And like, we've just been sitting here talking for the first 10 minutes, so you just have a very easygoing, personal loyalty. And when I was on the show, it just felt very comfortable chatting with And I've listened to a couple of the episodes that you have as well. It's a great show.
I think people really need to check it out because I like that you're getting this perspective as to why people left their jobs. And we're going to talk a little bit more about that, too. But I want to dive into your ten roles here because we always ask our guests what their ten roles are. So what are your ten roles?
Brian: So my ten are father, husband, son, brother, friend, confidant, mentor, creator, Hooper and adrenaline seeker Hooper.
Billy: Let's just talk about that here right off the bat. Are you still taking people to the hole?
Brian: I'm in it. I'm still in the game after the game. I mean, a few steps slower than what I used to be, but I'm still in the game. Thankfully, I have a good Saturday run that I check out my knees, tell me to slow down a little bit on Sunday. Right. But long. But I'm still there having fun.
Billy: I'm guessing the guys that you're playing ball with, though, are probably a little bit older too. So as long as you're a little bit faster than what they are, even though you're a little slower, they may are a lot slower. And you can just do, you know, do what you got to do.
Brian: Yeah, it's a really good run, guys. That mixture of ages, what is always helpful, what is never left alone. But if we don't get a chance to get to the whole these are staying around by the three and just kind of, kind of knock a few of those down. And I'm happy to do that.
Billy: You're also an adrenaline seeker. Tell me more about that.
Brian: A lot of this, I mean, it's still in me, don't get me wrong, but a lot of this really was pre-kids. I've jumped off of mountains before in Brazil, you know, hang gliding before I you know, skydiving is still on the list, but love ziplining through the rainforests and any type of thing that kind of gets the blood pumping.
I've always been a fan of that. I'll admit, like I said, kids kind of slow that down a little bit. But even when I'm out, I'm always looking for some type of thrill.
Billy: Well, you listed Father as one of the three roles that you're most looking forward to in the second half of life. I imagine that your kids get your blood pumping every now and then.
Brian: Yeah, sometimes in the wrong ways, Right? But yes, they do. You know, I have two little guys, you know, seven and four, you know, obviously, like I love them to death. But yeah, it is very interesting time. You know, in elementary pre-K, you know, all the parents out there can just keep me in your thoughts. You know, it's oh.
Billy: Listen, that's why I didn't sign up for that role, because I worked in education. And so I was taking care of everybody else's kids. But my favorite part about being an educator was, at the end of the day, going home by myself.
Brian: And not.
Billy: Having to worry about it.
Brian: Absolutely. And I give you folks a lot of credit. We may get into this, but the whole you know, especially during these past couple of years, teachers don't get paid enough. They don't you know, you really start to see that. And you're so thankful about what they do when you have to spend more time with your little rugrats than you normally have.
But yeah, it was a good thing because a good thing.
Billy: And you're also looking forward to being a husband in the second half of life. Talk about what are you looking forward to in the second half of life, especially as your kids get older?
Brian: As I was thinking about this and one I think it's a great exercise right? But I think about, well, what is we go through, you know, these stages of parenting, right? And these first few stages with my wife and I, you know, a lot of it is just, you know, trying to figure a lot of things out. We were obviously, both of us in career mode or in parent mode.
And as they get older, they get easier. And so now hopefully that then frees up some more time for us to do some of the things that we like to do. And so I'm just really looking looking forward to that. You know, my wife, it may sound this may be cheesy, but but, you know, my wife is like my best friend.
And so kids kind of put a damper on that a little bit. No, not to them. Love them dearly. But, you know, we don't get a chance to do some of the things that we used to do pre kids as I was thinking about these ten roles and think about, well, second half a life. And by the way, that made me feel like, oh damn, getting up there.
But, but, but when I, when I feel about what does that look like We yeah, they're getting older, they're getting easier, they're going to start doing their own things. Well, good. That gives me some time Back with my friend, with my wife.
Billy: You know, the one way to look at that second half of life, though, is that you actually have more years of independence moving forward then you had when you were looking back. So you had a lot to look forward to you. So you're all good still. You're still good. Don't you worry about that second half life. I mean, if you're still taking people to the hole at 70 years old and practicing yoga and jumping off of cliffs, you did life right all the way up to that point.
So you also are looking forward to being a mentor and you have a lot of roles here. And you have you know, you said that your career path has taken a scenic route. How have you used that then, to be a mentor? Because you're an attorney, you're a consultant, you're a multifaceted health care leader. In what way are you mentoring others in those roles?
Brian: Yeah, so people are really interested in my background because it's been so varied. I can start with the attorney route in that I'm an employment attorney by trade, and so a lot of us, we kind of get pigeonholed into some of the things that we're doing right, whether it's employment, space, criminal space, whatever it is. And it's not to say that we don't love what we do, but sometimes there are folks who really know that they want to do more but don't know how.
And so oftentimes I get I mentor folks who are like, Well, I'm trying to do something different and I'm intrigued by how you've kind of bounced around. How did you do that? Right? What are some of the things that you did? And I've talked with folks about being flexible, being open, being vulnerable, being realistic with yourself about, well, what are the other options that are available to me?
Right. So that's kind of one option. One route, I should say. Another is now that I'm let's say in or I moved into like internal investigations eventually into h.r. Folks are then asked, well, what was that like and how do i then progress in whatever my career is, whatever my career is now? How do you go about moving towards the next step?
And that kind of gets into my advisory capacity that I've done either for clients and leaders that I support directly or even indirectly, or even folks who may reach out from different organizations or even in my current organizations about, well, what does that look like and what should I do here? Or maybe I'm elsewhere. How do I go about navigating this?
So I'm always all for that. And then on the third route is more so Well, now I'm in a much different role now, and it's this kind of strategy ops role. I'm in the health care space for a very large organization. How do I navigate this place? You know, how do I navigate where we're at now? Because we're in a highly matrixed organization.
Who do I need to speak to about X? Why do I need to speak to her about this? What type of insight can you give me? And so I find myself in all of these different areas. People want to reach out. I'm always open to that and part of that is really a part of my fabric because someone was there for me, right?
To say if I had a question about when I talk about scenic route is because this wasn't easy for me. You know, I came here, I was volunteering. I was an extra when I came to New York, like I was doing all types of random stuff. But people along the way really helped me out. I just had questions.
I wasn't asking for anything, but I just wanted some advice. And there were folks who who genuinely gave me that. And so I'll never forget those types of things. I can only hope to be that source of advice for somebody else.
Billy: Well, it sounds like your experiences have certainly prepared you well for the conversations that you have in your podcast. So what we're going to do is we're going to take a quick break, and when we come back, we're going to learn more about why people are leaving and what Brian is learning when he's having these conversations with his guests.
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Welcome back to the Mindful Midlife Crisis. We're here with Brian, a car he is the host of the Why I Left podcast. You can find him on LinkedIn. You can go to www.whyileft.co. We'll put all of that in the show notes. Brian How did this interest in understanding why people are leaving their jobs come about now?
Brian: It's a great question. So as I mentioned I am like I said I'm an employment attorney by background have been very heavily involved in that space. And then eventually I transitioned into the or I should say I pivoted into the human resource space. And so I've supported clients helping leaders and team members do whatever they need to do to move either strategies forward or unfortunately maybe manage folks out or whatever the case may be, always being in that support mode.
And last year, so 2021, I'm an article junkie. I wish I read more books and I try, but I'm really an article junkie. But I started seeing all these articles about folks leaving their jobs and I started to just get really intrigued by that, right, given my background. And I wanted to know, okay, well, what's going on? And, you know, the flow of articles, you get like a, you know, a stat about something that's happening, right?
Throw in a couple information there in there, and then there'd be like one or two lines from one or two people. Oh, I left my job and, you know, this is one of the best decisions I made. Okay. And then the article then finishes with some other stats and maybe some other fluff, and then it's done. I kept seeing this over and over and over again, and I was getting frustrated because I was like, Well, let's say you were in that Billy's got more of a story to tell.
I want to know. I really want like, what's going on here? And it spat in the face of what I truthfully, I was thinking, right. And so I was heavily involved in some of the redeployment efforts in covered for my health care system. And so I wasn't really, you know, in my mind, I'm thinking it's crazy right now.
You would want stability. People are looking for stability. So why are people leaving their jobs right now? You think if if you have a bird in the hand, why are you going to lose that? And so I read more and more about these things, and I had this thought in my mind. And then these articles kept going and going and going.
And then one night and apparently, you know, I'm not into this, but someone had told me I had this 3 a.m. idea that I couldn't shake about. I was like, What if these people wanted to tell their own story? I woke up, I was on the couch, I was doing some work. I happened to fall asleep and I couldn't go to sleep.
And next thing you know, it was like, Oh, you know why I left? Cool. Let me go back to bed and I couldn't. And so I wrote out the intro episode in like the next hour and a half because I couldn't shake it. And it was like, Oh, well, what if people wanted to tell their stories? And then I kind of gave you a little a little bit of the intro with some of the things that I mentioned.
And then I was like, Okay, wow, what's going on here? This is weird. I've got a bunch of ideas for a lot of different things. Some get some traction, some don't. But this one stuck. And so what I did was, you know, going back to, you know, my wife ran a by her ran by a couple of close friends, like, do you think I have something here that would like, yeah, I think it'd be good.
And then what is my wife do? She buys me this How to start a podcast book from NPR.
Billy: Oh, that's total support right there.
Brian: Oh, absolutely. And so then I devour this book. You know, normally it may take me four months to read one book. I finished this thing in, like, a week, and it's a step by step process. What to do, how you get the idea, all the, you know, all these Venn diagrams and all this. And I did all the exercises.
And then at the end I was like, I think I got something. This was January, right? So then I plan for like January, February, March. It's all planning mode. And so if you recall, there's a whole flow with this. I reach out to you or if someone reaches out to me, I have process that, I reach out. I tell you why it's nothing can obviously the links are canned, but if I see you or you reach out to me, here's why I think you would be interested.
So I'm almost cold calling or cold messaging people either on LinkedIn, mostly on LinkedIn, but maybe matchmaker or whatever. And so I started doing all these things. So planning about what I would say to you, how I would say it in the flow of the episode. And then it got to a point vaguely So what good is this idea if no one wants to do it? And so now you got to put yourself out there. And so I did. And look, I got ghosted often. I was troll an articles the great resignation thread, finding everything I'd reach out to folks. And then people started saying yes. And I got to give her credit on this woman named Chelsea Kid.
You know, I found her and CNBC article. What was the first person who was like, Yeah, I'm interested. You know, we did an intro call. Like I said, we had the whole set up. She was supportive of the vision, and then she was like, Yeah, let's do it. And her episode, I mean, it gave me so much fire because I was like, Oh, wow, yeah, perfect.
Cause she was one of the first people I actually saw, and she said, yes, I was, I was in another show and I was like, Movement begets movement, right? So she said, Yes. I put a little thing out there and said, Hey, you're interested. Some other folks expressed some interest. Yes. And I got more yeses. And so in my mind it was what I want to get to 20 episode. I don't know why 28 was a nice round number. I was like, Let me get to 20. And so I started recording and I got to ten and I was like, Oh, this is nice. I think this is going somewhere. And then I got to 15 and I was like, Okay, I think I can release this now because I think I'm going to get to 20.
And then eventually I got to 20. And it was such a sense of accomplishment that I did it. You know, it was like idea to actually that's been my kind of phrase of idea to action and just just really helped me kick it off. And so I'm really indebted to her because, look, I've never met any of these people.
We've never met in person. I'm a random guy reaching out to you on LinkedIn or elsewhere. And so I give a lot of love and a lot of respect for those folks who really believed enough in the vision. But the vision was really aided by my planning, and that's what helped in those first few months. So that's why I started it.
It's been great.
Billy: And I got a compliment. Your production value is top of the line. The organization that you put into it. Like there are systems in place as a systems man who prides himself on being organized and making sure everybody has what they need, your organizational system is envious. It is absolutely fantastic. Your production is envious. It's great. Your guests have been great.
Favorite guest, I think in almost podcast history is Jennifer Walton. If anybody wants to start with an episode, start with Jennifer Walton, because I developed a crush on Jennifer Walter, because she is fantastic. She is absolutely amazing. I was really, really impressed with her story. You talked about reaching out to someone that you saw in a CNBC article, and I think it's just so important that we once again emphasize this idea of networking because we always see and hear your network equals your net worth and you never know what's going to happen.
My dad always used to tell me the worst anyone can ever say is no. So just ask the question. It's interesting how many people are willing to help you if you just ask that question I wanted to ask you here. You do some work here in diversity and equity. How did your experience as attorney focused on employee discrimination shape your understanding as to why people leave their jobs.
Brian: When it comes to, I guess, background for your audiences as an employment in many sectors of employment law, mine was really focused on the investigation side and in the discrimination, harassment, retaliation and even reasonable accommodation space. And so you either like to see me or you don't more often than you don't. Right. But but I'm comfortable with that.
But what that area helped me with is it helped me understand the ease with which people can be can become dissatisfied with things that are happening at work, whether that's a policy that's being implemented or a practice or even a management style of a leader. And so knowing that now you start to say, well, okay, folks are going to be, you know, what is causing some of these issues, right?
Why people are leaving, you know, and you hear about burnout, you hear about unfair treatment, and that could be a loaded term. What does that mean? And, you know, you could delving deeper there. Right. But then you have folks when you talk about overall dissatisfaction. Well, now organizations are laying off people. But what about and you know, this is not a focus of my show, but I'm intrigued by this at times.
But what about the people who didn't get let go, who now have the jobs of like three and four people with very little to no increase in pay? That's a huge dissatisfied. Right. And so the employment space and it was funny, my dad ever listen to this? It'd be funny because I always say like the law is like all encompassing, right?
But employment law, it touches everything. Just think about how often we are at work, fortunately or unfortunately. Right. And everything that is involved in that relationship you can think about, well, hey, folks can have you know, when we talk about investigations in this realm, it's actual or perceived discrimination, harass or retaliation or whatever. And so when you have that, now you can start to say, well, are these factors really associated with now?
Why people are leaving their job? Sometimes, yes, sometimes no. It depends. But it's always something that I at least try to think about because there's always some type of underlying issue that people may or may not be talking to you about. And so I guess that's the natural investigator in me. I hear responses, but then I'm thinking, okay, let's go a little deeper.
Well, let's go a little deeper than that. And it's not that I'm trying to pull anything out that doesn't exist. It's just more about trying to better understand the wholeness of the situation.
Billy: And I imagine that your experience as an attorney served you well in h.r. Two. So what was the relationship there? What were the transferable skills? How did your experience as an attorney help you in h.r. How did it contrast to what you were doing in h.r.
Brian: There are a lot of folks in h.r. Don't necessarily have a legal background, and so i think it was one of the things, at least in the organization i'm in, where i was in that space, it helped out because i've now seen what happens on the other side where issues with leaders or with team members, they run afoul something that didn't go well in the front end.
We're now to this point where someone's now filing a suit, right? Whether it's with an external agency or something else is going on. And so I'm able to then hear from the person about where the breakdowns were here from the organization, about where the breakdowns were. And now you can coach and advise on how they could have mitigated those risks or depending on what side I'm on coaching through.
Well, how we can try to to poke holes in their story because here are some of the facts that aren't lining up, that aren't aligning. So that's on the I guess on the legal side and now where it was helpful. So my bridge in h.R. Was going the employee relations route and that is basically internal investigations, issues happening between either team members or leaders and team members.
How we can coach through that. All this stuff falls through. I can go be an investigator pretty much anywhere right now. I'm on the h.r. side, and what I'm able to see is okay for those who may not have been involved in it, here's what I know can happen on the back end. So what are the things that we can do to mitigate that right now?
And I think that was helpful with leaders. I mean, when I came in, other than putting in the sweat equity. Right. And just, you know, always be in there trying to support it really being that that true partner for them, I was able to share with them because some leaders were driving a hard line on I'll use the reasonable accommodation example driving a hard line on when people should come back because they didn't believe in their injury or whatever the case may be.
And so I'm able to coach them and say, Well, let's wait a second here. You may not believe that that's well within your right, but you should not act the way you're acting in that regard. And here's why. Here's what I've seen and here's how you could be one, personally liable to have the organization should be held liable.
But there are ways that I can coach you through on how we can get a response that respects the employees rights, respects the organization's right, and respects your right as a leader, and the fact that you have a business to run or a department to run. And now let's work together and sharing that with them. It kind of takes people down a notch because they know I'm coming at it from a good place and they know I'm coming at it from a place of experience.
And so the legal back room mixed with the arm being that true partner really helped me then develop my relationships now on the strategy and because, you know, I'm coming at it from a good place, you know, I have your best interest in mind and I have the organization's best interests in mind, along with the employees. Right. Because I want to make sure, you know, a lot of times H.R. gets a bad rap, that we're only for the management side.
Look, that some cases that could be true. But I truly believe, having been on both sides, I mean, employees have rights, too. So it's not that I'm siding with management or. SIMON know, there are parallel rights here. Let's make sure we're adhering to them. But look, if there are times where someone needs to be managed out, they need to be managed out.
We can go about doing that in a respectful way.
Billy: So through the conversations that you've been having through your podcast and your experience as an investigator, I'm curious, what have you learned about the psychology around organizational behavior and how it pertains to why people are leaving their jobs?
Brian: As I was saying earlier, you know, my initial presumption during the pandemic of it was wrong that the world is kind of burning down outside of you. People should stay where they're at until this kind of blows over. Right. And I thought that people will kind of just stay in those roles. But what I didn't realize is that, you know, and I guess this is for like like I didn't have much time or space during the pandemic, but the opposite happened in that folks really started to they got more time.
You know, they got more time to themselves sometimes with the kids, sometimes with that. But what that did that time, that space, that solitude, it really started clearing people's minds about, well, maybe there is something different. And if the world is burning down around me, what better time to then throw this job into that fire and figure out something else for me and do that for me and I thought it was.
It was great. You know, it was it's great to hear this and, you know, look and sometimes I get the question of, well, did you leave your job during the pandemic? Why did you start this? And truthfully, I didn't you know, I did not leave my job. I had a and still have a job happy in my role.
Look, I'm just a nerd in this space, I guess, you know, just wanting to I got really intrigued with something and I'm like a dog with a bone. But I really started to better understand folks like, well, you know, look, here's what was happening, right? Let's take Jennifer, for example. It's episode four. And with her, it was all of these things were happening around her socially, politically.
Her husband was very involved in a lot of issues that were happening in Ohio where she's from. And now she started to get more work and her day to day not much pay, though. And it was like, well, what's what's going on here? And maybe there is something different. And, you know, a lot of folks let me know if you have one of these when you were teaching.
But a lot of folks have side hustles like we all have creative things that we're involved with. We do a little bit on the side. We may or may not make a ton of money with it, but it's something that we're passionate about. And she had that thing. And so now seeing this and realizing, well, maybe I could do this thing and let's figure that out, and then just jumping in and doing it, what better time?
What better time than now? And so that's what I'm really learning. The show, as it notes, is is about why people left their jobs. But truthfully, and I'm starting to you know, I've recorded season one already, but truthfully, it's really a show about self-actualization and self awareness. And that is the beauty of it. Like, I didn't know, you know, like I said, I had my questions and all those things.
I didn't know where it was going to go. It is really about that. When you start hearing these stories of folks, it's more you've gone through the flow. So it's more than the job that you worked at and left. It's really about you and what that meant to you and now what's happening and you hear these beautiful beauty and yes, I'm biased, right?
But these beautiful stories about what now has happened and what it's meant to these folks to now then leave. And not everybody is leaving their job with nothing. They either take some time to themselves, really figure out what's next. That woman Valeria talked about vision boarding. Right? And I aspire to actually do a vision board one day, but really taking that time back to figure out what do you want to do?
And, you know, we do get open and honest, too, about mental health as well, because that played a huge part in the pandemic. And I appreciate all the guests who really talk about that because, look, I'm building my platform now, right? But, you know, we have that. We have a platform. I'm happy to talk about these things because it's important.
We're at work more often than not. You know, it's interesting. I saw an interesting stat recently. It was around 87% of employees said the impact of their work had an impact on their mental health. Right. So if their employers did something better or different that it would drastically improve their mental health. That's a staggering stat.
Billy: I was going to ask you to then. You know, what are you seeing corporations who are succeeding in the corporations were failing when it comes to employee retention and satisfaction doing. We had Kristen Brown on the show. I think it's episode 27 and she likes to refer to herself as the corporate hippie, right? So she likes to bring all the woo woo stuff into a corporate feel.
Our company is that are successful in retaining their employees, embracing this, or are they have they just created a meaningful, more positive work experience, a purpose filled work experience? And people are like, I don't want to leave this job. This is a good job. Or are you finding that people are are stuck? Like what your original assumption was, is like like people are are just weathering the storm and they feel stuck because they've got to pay the bills during this pandemic because who knows what's going to happen.
One may come out of it. And what are companies who are failing, not recognizing, or is it kind of out of the company's hands because it is about this self-actualization?
Brian: Yeah, that's a great question, because I think the the dress purposeful work. I think that comes from within having a purpose for what you do. You can find that where you're at, but sometimes that may not be it, right? You may not have that wherever you're working, you may not be driven to do retail, you know what I mean?
Like that may not be your thing. You know, you do have to take some accountability for what is it really that drives you Now, moving to the aspect around, Well, what companies who may not doing it right, what are they doing? What are they not doing? I think as we kind of come out of the pandemic now and I say that lightly because it's you know, it's still going on in other places and that type of thing.
But companies who are unwilling to be flexible on how work is now, and that means how people work, where people work, the style of work, right, whether it's in office, hybrid or fully remote, whatever the case may be. Those companies who are drawing that hard line, they're playing with fire a little bit. Yes, some people have to work and will need may not be able to move from those roles.
But more and more and, you know, you see articles, you know, tons of articles around this. I've had a couple of posts and conversations with folks about this. The future of work is really kind of this hybrid model, and I think it offers some flexibility. And now we can argue about what that means and should people be in the office, whether they shouldn't be, I think for certain aspects, yeah, there should be some in office work, but to have it be fully in office for roles that truthfully may not need to do that, I think you got to be flexible in that regard.
Now, for the companies who are doing it right, it's more than free lunch and ping pong tables, right? You know it's definitely more than that. What you're seeing now. And kind of going back to the mental health piece, what you're seeing now is when we talk about benefits, you're seeing companies truly invest more in the types of mental health benefits that really can help their team members and families.
Yes, the free lunches and beanbag couches may be good and open office space. I'm not a fan of that personally, but organizations who have done that, you know, there started to be some backlash on open office working environments. But companies who are understanding and really listening to their team members through the engagement surveys or whatever types of meetings that you get feedback, those folks are doing it right in every organization's different.
You want to be at a place where your executive leadership is visible. You know, my current boss calls it walking the factory floor, and I think that is admirable and is something that should be done for large organizations that are spread out across the nation, potentially world. That could be a little difficult, But there's got to be some connection there with leadership and frontline and middle management in those companies who find a way to do that will be and are successful.
Billy: Well, let's do this. We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to dive a little bit more into this idea of the great resignation and get some more information about these stories that Brian is hearing in his podcast. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
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And while you're at it, remember to show yourself some love every now and then, too. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to the Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with Brian, a car. He is the host of the Why I Left podcast. You can get that wherever you get your podcast. You can also go to www.whyileft.co follow Brian, a message him on LinkedIn as well. Brian you have been collecting these stories from people throughout their. The great resignation right now when we talk to Jessica Fiesta George in episode 64 she described it as less of a great resignation and more of a great reshuffling. So what's your take on what's happening regarding why people are leaving their jobs?
Yeah, I've seen that too. You know, the great reshuffle, all of those things, the Great Awakening. I saw a couple of those as well. And what I will say, especially towards the Awakening piece, is that I think, Yes. Was it a bit of a reshuffle? Absolutely. People now had, as I mentioned earlier, had more time on their hands and it led them to really question, well, am I happy in the in these current circumstances and what can I do?
Brian: Right. And so, yes, there's been bit of a reshuffle, but there's also been truthfully an exodus from the formal 9 to 5. And so I agree somewhat. Yeah, it's been of a reshuffle. I guess it depends on how you want to phrase reshuffle. I mean, people are reshuffling their lives when they realize, now I have all this time back, you know, and I'll give you an example when this happens.
I was actually coming out next week talk with a gentleman named Keith, and he mentions how he was one of my first executives in the tech space. And he mentioned the commute and now the commute. And I had another all talked about this, too, if we're commuting hour, hour and a half. Front and back. Right. So that's 3 hours.
Let's just say 2 hours in the day. And now you have that extra 2 hours to yourself. What can you now do with that time? And people started to recognize like, oh, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Even these 2 hours, that compound's right. So that's 10 hours a week. Well, I got to decide Hustle or side project.
I was doing that I could really now focus on or potentially even scale. And so people started to see that. And, you know, you talk about compounding interest. Well, this compound of time now, because what people started to do is say, all right, so I don't have the commute. I'm not just going to sleep in. I'm going to actually treat it like I'm working.
And then I'll go to my actual job at eight or nine. But from 7 to 9, here's what I'm doing. Eight Tonight. Here's what I'm doing. And so was it a reshuffle? Yeah, a bit of a reshuffle. But I think it was really when we talk about mentally what it did for folks, it was an awakening 9 to 5.
I may be able to leave that. And if I could, here's what it could look like. And that was really powerful for folks. So I say all that to say yes. Was it a bit of a reshuffle? Absolutely. But I do think that the resignation phrase of it, I think is also very well, because there are folks who left the workforce completely who were like, now I'm doing this.
And now I'm not saying they'll never go back, but they're definitely taking a hiatus.
Billy: That's where I am right now. Like we're recording this from Seoul, South Korea, because I don't know if people can hear the subway behind me, but I was just thinking about that transit. And when you're in the United States, you're driving all the time. Now, I know you're in New York, so I don't know if you commute via Subway or what, but a lot of the commuting that I do here in Seoul is via Subway.
And I hope I never have to have a car again because even though, like everything is so spread out here, it's 30 minutes to an hour to get to wherever you're going to go here. Even on the subway, at least I can close my eyes or at least I can. Like if I need to take notes on my phone because I'm thinking about something, or if I want to listen to a podcast and not have to worry about some dude side swiping me because it's blowing snow and there's ice on the road like that alone has honestly decreased.
My level of stress is just eliminating that commute. So I like that idea of reshuffling your life because like I still get up early and do my little mobility routine and then I work out and then, you know, I get to work on whatever it is I have outline for the day. So I'm not just sleeping in till 10:00.
My body wouldn't let me do that anyway. So it's not that people are doing that. It's I think some people are taking back, like you said, that time for themselves and probably finding that eight hour a day job. I could probably do a lot of this stuff in 5 to 6 hours if I had time to just do me whenever I needed to.
Like if I needed a fix, a snack from my kitchen, hey, that would be great, you know, that sort of thing. And I know that that doesn't necessarily pertain to the resignation, but I think it's given me an awareness of what is it that I want more of professionally so that I can produce and function at my highest level.
And this is, you know, you're doing the podcast, I'm doing the podcast as sort of a side hustle. Are you finding that people who are choosing to leave are doing so more and more without a new job in place already, or are people more strategic about their departures than that?
Brian: I think people have been more right now. Yes, there are a few folks who I've talked to who have said they didn't have anything lined up. They decided to resign and just wanted to kind of do themselves for a little bit. But then, you know, a vast majority of folks already had some kind of side hustle that they were working on that they actually decided to scale.
And one gentleman, you know, all this was episode nine who talked a little bit about, well, now you'd you could do your eight hour job in maybe 4 hours. Right. So think about him now. No commute. And also and I don't think people they may not fully appreciate this but is the water cooler talk or the walking around the office talk that a quick hey, you got a sec is a 30 minute conversation.
You have three of those a day. That's an hour and a half. And so those things started adding up time back. Seems like everything. It's like, you know, your bank of time, everything that wasn't happening in or was happening in the office wasn't a time suck. Now it was genuinely just about the work. So now when you got the work done, it's like, Oh, well, now I have all this extra time.
There's actually four more hours in the day that truthfully, I could just work on something else. And people decided to do that. Also, too, I think people were more strategic in their side hustle because what they decided to do was they would take opportunities at their work, at their 9 to 5 that benefited whatever their side hustle was.
People either volunteering in a space that they were interested in getting that experience to then figure out how you can then flip that and how can it improve your side hustle.
Billy: Just to play devil's advocate, though, on the water cooler, talk, Adam Grant, who people can follow. Adam Grant He's very insightful. Very well. You follow. He actually talked about how water cooler talk isn't such a bad thing because it promotes social interaction and that we do need that. That that's one of the things that I know Malcolm Gladwell took a lot of heat because he talked about remote jobs.
Remote working is isolating people. And he got emotional about it because he thought that it was just a detriment to our mental health and that we do need to get back to the office. When you actually listen to that whole clip, he says that this hybrid idea and we do need to stress more interaction, face to face, that sort of thing, that that is crucial.
Do you see the value in those face to faces, even though they might just be kind of superficial? Or is it nice to just kind of cut that stuff out and make it more business?
Brian: But my job is not remote at all, right? But I'm actually team hybrid, like I'm for a hybrid working environment. I do think that having that in-person connection with folks is important. I do think there can be time wasted in the office on some watercooler talk. But I also think that some of the most impactful discussions I've had, maybe a quick 3 to 5 minute after a meeting, I happened to catch an exec in the hall.
I'm thinking about this. What do you think about X, Y and Z? They give me their insight. I take that away, right? You know, I don't need a meeting for this. We don't need a set up time to talk about this. We can walk and talk and boom, I got what I need. I'm a big proponent of that.
And so you will find me saying, like needs to all be remote. We can all do that. Look, I think that there's got to be a balance. There's some type of like harmony that exists there. And so to your point, yeah, I think that there is value, you know, to Adam. But yeah, there is value to some of the either water cooler or potentially kind of in the gap type of conversations.
I think there's a lot of value to that. There could also run the risk of sometimes those conversations may not be about depending on what it's about and how you use it.
Billy: If I could find a job where I got three weeks where I can work remotely and then the fourth week I need to be in-person, sign me up for that, because that would be ideal, because then I'd spend three weeks in a different state or a different city every month and then come back to wherever home base is and then work there.
Like, I would love that. But this whole, you know, every other day thing.
Brian: Oh, wait.
Billy: Why don't you understand that I want to be in Costa Rica for.
Brian: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And it's a great point. I maybe she's a I'm a and proponent of a reasonable hybrid model because I've seen things are like, oh, Tuesday through Thursday. You need to be in the office yet Tuesday Thursday you need to be in the office all but Friday and Monday you can work remotely. I mean, you got to do what works best for you.
But I think one of the things that I we did actually during the pandemic and a lot of this was because, you know, we wanted to make sure that groups of our team, if someone got exposed to COVID, it didn't take out the whole team. And so what we did was one week on one week remote rotations, and that was beautiful.
It was a beautiful thing. You want to talk about engagement that time was really hectic from a COVID standpoint in some of the work that we were doing. And kudos definitely are deserved for the frontline staff workers, right? Nurses, doctors, all those folks. And again, my own bias here, what's often not paid close attention to is what about the administrative folks?
What about some of the h.r. Folks? And how about folks who are getting slammed and getting issued on all the time? It's a thankless job. And who is keeping kind of things running in the background. You got, you know, h.r. Folks, ops folks who are keeping things moving. No one really kind of cares about that. You know, sadly, but i would say we like, we were going through it at the time and it's no, not too truthfully, the frontline workers who were dealing with the patients.
But you got to remember there were folks who kind of put folks in the right places to make sure that they could deliver that that care and that support. And it takes a whole team. It takes a whole team to do that.
Billy: Yeah. Listen, I was a dean, and when during the pandemic, we brought kids back and a lot of them would be doing their distance, learning from the cafeteria and guess who had to supervise all that mess. So, no, I completely understand all of that. You know, one thing that you mentioned here, statistics wise, is that stats point to 18 to 29 year olds are being more likely to resign than any other demographic pick in that women are more likely to resign than men.
So, you know, considering we're sort of in this midlife right here, going back to what you talked about, you know, maybe if you're working in the service industry, you don't have a lot of purpose right there. How are you seeing then? Because when we talk about the great resignation, is is it skewed because those 18 to 29 year old numbers are so high because they're working jobs and they're not necessarily resigning from a career?
Brian: Yeah, I think maybe potentially. I think especially with that cohort, I believe that's like Gen Z cut it off in Gen Z, maybe 27, 28 cutoff. But with them, I think one of the things that you kind of read and see this a lot is they're putting life first and they are adamant about that. Can I commend them?
I do think, you know, millennials are kind of like that as well. But you really see Gen Z kind of embodying that piece. And so they may be in jobs per se, but they are also saying even if they are in a career, if you are going to support some of the things like we talked about a flexible work environment or some type of development or whatever the case may be, I'm going to leave now.
I'm not going to have any qualms about it. I'm going to leave. And they are doing that. Organizations have to recognize that. So, yeah, I think they may skew it a bit, especially maybe the younger ones. There's not that much commitment there. You know, 18 to 21. You may not be committed to whatever you work in at that time.
So great. Yeah, I think the numbers may be skewed a bit, but I do think there are some good learnings to pick up from that demographic given some of the things that are happening.
Billy: Well, this kind of brings me to my last point here is when we talk about that demographic and we talk about guys midlife, how much do you think access to resources, whether those resources is B financial or social networks plays a role in why people choose to leave their jobs?
Brian: Yeah, one of the things that is very interesting about that demographic, I do think the access to those resources can play a role, but I also think the flexibility we talk about making a living. There are many ways for folks, regardless of age, but especially in this demographic, to make a living and make sure they a lot of money quickly online.
And so the Internet kind of levels the playing field in that regard. And look, not everyone can be influence or creator or things like that. You get enough followers on YouTube and monetize it through AdSense. Those numbers, they can start adding up. I mean, to the point where it could be a part time job for you and the folks in the younger generation.
They understand that there are many ways to make money online doing things that you actually like to do. You get someone with a twitch account and call it duty streak. They can monetize that and make thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in a month or so. Now, granted, you're going to be online often, but you get paid money to play video games and stay up all night.
And you have parents who are like, Well, what do you do here? Little Johnny's bringing in three K in the back six months playing Call of Duty or Minecraft or whatever the case may be. And people are watching online. And so folks are like, Well, wait a minute, I could play video games for a living. Then you got whole full on gaming competitions where you grow your skills enough and you become good enough, or that can become a true skill.
The other thing too is when we think about, you know, the traditional ways of working and this in your you as an educator may appreciate this in that education is something that really got flipped on its head during the pandemic and is still getting flipped on its head. You see the numbers for college are going down. How are they scrambling to bring more folks in?
Because people are starting to recognize, you know, this is the pipeline for work, right? College work, all those things. But they're starting to recognize, well, I can go and get this coding certificate from Google Online in, what, six months? Eight months? If I get at this, then I can go get a coder job and be fine. I don't need to go to four years of school, waste time and nothing against the liberal arts background.
Right. You know, having some of those fill their classes before you get into your major. Nothing wrong with that. But people are like, Let's just get to the money, right? Let's get to it. Let me get this coding. I'm good. Java, C++, whatever the case may be, I can go get a job at a tech place making 80 to 90, potentially starting and then have a way to grow.
And you know what happens when they end up, you know, downsizing or let me guess, are there other organizations who need someone who knows how to code? Absolutely. Boom. Let me go to the next one. And you know what? Now I'm two X in my income and we're good to go. And so now you get a certificate and you can do this.
The folks in this demographic are recognizing this and they're seeing this hell. Some older people are recognizing this and seeing this and figuring out, well, there's got to be another way. And I think that you'll continue to see that.
Billy: We have Ed Lattimore coming on before too long here, and he's going to share many opinions because Ed has a lot of opinions. But Ed is definitely going to break down why he thinks college is a waste of time unless you're going for science or math. So everybody, make sure that you stay tuned to that episode and make sure you dial into Brian's show Why I Left wherever you get your podcast, you can go to YouTube and find it there. Brian, thanks for being on the show today. I really appreciate it. It was great catching up with you again.
Brian: Absolutely. Thanks for having me on.
Billy: Hey, if you enjoyed this week's episode, be sure to look in the show notes for all of Brian's contact information. Don't forget to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. If you're an Apple listener, you can do that by clicking the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner. Also, please do me a favor and leave a five-star review with a few kind words.
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Finally, I know Brian and I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may benefit from Brian's expertise and life experiences. Remember, the purpose of the show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. And I hope this conversation provides some insight that will help you reflect, learn and grow so you can live a more purpose-filled life.
So for Brian, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved.
Take care, friends.