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Concept of the "Big Resignation" & Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of the Fence?

A current trend-worthy consideration is the concept of the Big Resignation and as we emerge from the pandemic, is it time for this paradigm bender? Our business culture may forever be changed and some are itching for a simpler and more flexible way of life since we’ve all worked from home for the past year. Such sentiments certainly bring about thoughts of career changes, location changes, or some other intrinsic form of relief that might bring your work/life balance into greater parity. Peter Van Pelt, National Aviation Director, writes a column for KSA called Been There, Done That where he shares hard-learned experiences working in the public sector over the past 40 years. "LinkedIn has posited the potential for the #TheBigShift to thought leaders within different industries and I was asked to offer some thoughts on this topic. About a year ago, I published a blog entitled Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of the Fence? It asks the question: are you ready for a move or are you fine right where you are? And while my particular business segment is a small group of executives working in the esoteric field of airport administration, I believe that there is universality in this blog’s message." 

The editors of LinkedIn asked two specific questions. What’s your advice for people making a shift right now, and what’s the best advice you’ve received when it comes to making a job move? The second half of the question is easy and I learned this lesson as a young man: find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. This advice has stood the test of time and serves as a message to us all about passion over paycheck.  It helped me transition from position to position over the years, and when I decided to move from being a civil servant to being a consultant serving my industry. The first half of the question is the subject of my blog below. Here’s to hoping that you find it helpful as you consider the possibilities of #TheBigShift.

Peter has personally “been there, done that” and wondered if the grass was really greener on the other side of the fence.

Every airport manager asks himself this question every now and then, "Is this grass greener somewhere else?" They may also wonder if it's a whim, or a need for a professional change.

Most of us are too eager to move on – I know I was. I was always searching for that next great challenge and opportunity (or maybe it was merely my ADD).  But what I’ve learned in my dotage looking through the rear-view mirror of time, is that things really weren’t so bad where I’d been.  So I now counsel my younger friends and those that I meet who are looking for a start – or a new position in the industry, to ask themselves a few key questions before they take a leap of faith.  Here are my questions:

  • Are you being rewarded?
  • Are you being professionally challenged?
  • Are you having fun?
  • Is this a good place to live?

Many times when we’re dissatisfied it’s because of a situation that’s not going your way: whether it’s a relationship with a tenant, a board member, an elected official, etc.  You can’t run away from these situations.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the names may change, but the faces are always the same – no matter where you go, there’s always going to be that FBO, or community leader that’s going to have your number.

Couple these problems with the thought that “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t." When you’re looking at a new job everyone has their best foot forward, including the community.  It takes a long time for true personalities to emerge.  And when they do, are you still going to be satisfied with the change you’ve made?

As a young airport manager, we sometimes fantasize about ourselves in another more perfect position. Frankly, most of us are in pretty good shape just where we are.

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