I know what you’re thinking.
Why are we revisiting the 1937 Disney classic phrase from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? After all, it’s been 85 years since this iconic movie was introduced.
Since then, there has been only one other major pandemic and that was HIV during 1976-1981. 36M people lost their lives to that worldwide virus. That was 45 years ago…so if you are 50ish or younger, this is the first global pandemic you have lived through that you remember.
Let’s fast forward to 2022. We have witnessed one of the most tumultuous last few years in recent memory. As of May 1, over 6 million people have died globally from the Covid-19 pandemic.
One key distinguishing factor between now and the late 70s has been the Internet, digital connection and the global, public sharing of information, personal stories, and points of view. We live in a ubiquitous environment where news is a click away; we watch as events unfold before our eyes.
Despite this difference, both pandemics have shaped the years that follow. The AIDS epidemic challenged public health organizations to set aside traditional policies and practices for the containment of infectious diseases, such as quarantine and mass mandatory testing, and adopt new methods of control, such as education and outreach.
And while Covid has already shaped our lives profoundly, in many cases causing emotional pain, loss and suffering, it’s lasting impact on the way we live and work remains to be seen.
When Covid Hit
When the Covid pandemic started in early 2020, I recall the situation so clearly. We were preparing for a global sales kick off meeting in Orlando, Florida. The group was told that the pandemic had quickly spread and that all travel from the Asia Pacific region was being canceled. Our business meeting continued. At the time we didn’t realize that would be the last time that our global team would meet in person, to-date.
As our members have shared in personal testimonials around the world, our lives immediately changed. We shifted to (near) 100% “work from home,” we rarely left our houses, we were required to wear masks in nearly every public situation, we expanded online shopping and grocery delivery, we rarely celebrated personal holidays with family and friends, we watched weddings and funerals on conference calls, we learned new vernacular (“you’re on mute”), we dressed for work differently (yoga pants) and each of us could give a different and detailed answer to the question “what changed over the last 2 years to get us to where we are now?”
Here are a few statistics about what changed over the last two years:
. 1.1M women left the labor force thru Jan 2022
. In total, women have left the workforce at a higher rate than male counterparts (63% of all job losses)
. Men have since regained all their prior job attrition
These data points connect to the commonly used terms, the Great Resignation, the Great Retention, The Great Reshuffle… (curious why the word Great is always first!). Are people just getting fed up and leaving the workforce altogether, retiring early? Are they taking new jobs due to labor shortages and increased compensation offers? Are they taking a short-term break to rethink their entire life? Is it all of this? As we emerge from this challenging time, what shape will our new workforce take?
Back to Snow White
As I consider all the meetings and the conversations with colleagues and friends around the world over the last couple years, I always come back to the theme of “Reflection”. It’s the mirror assessment of how you are living your life; it’s the choices you make that fulfill your inner soul and being.
Covid has by necessity, shown employees and employers a new way to get work done. People are challenging prior norms and are comfortable making new decisions about how to prioritize their own values for what they believe is important to them. But is The Great Resignation sustainable? How can women continue to drive meaningful change in the field of technology?
Earning a good living while growing in your chosen career offers many benefits. In my experience, one of the best benefits is the ability to have choices. It’s the ability to be more in control of your future and to allocate time to the things that bring you fulfillment. It can also mean having the ability to make a deeper, more meaningful impact on a larger scale.
Reflection is a gift. We have learned a lot over the last few years. Now, we are reflecting on all the new information that we have learned and lived through. We are recalibrating our hopes, our dreams, and updating our vision boards.
It’s important that in these uncertain times, we continue to open the door for each other and earn back the jobs, the roles, and the compensation that we worked so hard to build. We need women in high tech jobs, creating the future that we so proudly want for the next generation. Technology is our future. We cannot take a step back. Change is up to you.
Afterall, “you are the fairest of them all.”