Chad T. Ahern
Reflections on July 4
This past Sunday night I laid I the stars with my family to watch our town’s fireworks display in celebration of our nation's birthday and the freedoms this country provides. As the fireworks started, I was overcome with a new feeling of freedom.
As a student of history I will always appreciate the extraordinary effort our founding fathers and common citizens went to and through to establish this country of ours. It is of course not without its faults and we still seek a “more perfect Union.”
Yet, as the first fireworks exploded above me, I got thinking about our new senses of freedom…
Freedom for our doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. As more and more people become vaccinated our medical professionals are not up against the deluge of patients they faced in the spring of 2020. There is also less fear that they will bring the virus home and infect their partner, spouse, and/or their kids.
Freedom for our teachers to return to their classrooms and be free to teach in ways that are natural for them and most beneficial for their students.
Freedom for our families. Whether it's to begin visiting extended or distant family members or to finally hug and hold those most dear to us, the freedom to engage with one of our most central support systems is something we should never forget to cherish.
Freedom for our kids. With their parents, grandparent, and teachers (nearly) all vaccinated they can return to more “typical” activities and seeing their friends. I'm still looking forward to the day that our kids will have their own vaccine and can have the freedom to "be kids" again.
But the "freedom" that really hit me is the newfound freedom for many employees that's come in two forms:
Work/life integration. For employees who pushed for remote work in our pre-pandemic world and got little support, there is now a new awareness that remote work can provide employees a freedom to get work done in ways and places that work best for them. Having worked from my home for the past two years as an independent coach, I had already come to know and appreciate the benefits of having flexibility in how I get my work done and how/when I get to participate in family activities. I'm grateful more people are now experiencing that same freedom. I wish it hadn't taken a pandemic to bring us to this point, but it's one of the silver linings.
The Great Resignation. The recent large scale wave of people making the choice to leave workplaces to pursue work/life/purpose integration is a true demonstration of freedom through choice.
People are tired of:
commuting to workplaces that take them away from their families for far too long,
reporting to bosses who don't respect them,
sacrificing their purpose for a paycheck,
simply offering their employers what the job requires
Instead employees are choosing a new sense of work freedom. They are:
reasserting their freedom to work for leaders who coach and support them.
choosing family-time over a long commute.
finding companies and organizations that will appropriately compensate them for their time, ideas, and energy,
discovering work that allows them to live out their purpose,
seeking to contribute in ways that feel genuine to them.
As employees make these shifts, it will behoove all of us to become more aware of our innate talents. This will allow all of us to live out our newfound work freedoms, enhance our wellbeing, and contribute in ways that light up our lives.
Happy (belated) July 4th to you!