slow.jpgSuddenly lots of workers want to do something with meaning.

Is this a temporary loss of reality?

I’ve been interviewing many individuals lately who have decided Corporate America has screwed them so badly that it’s time for them to do something for themselves, for their communities, for the good of human kind. Not for the good of Corporate kind.

Climbing the ladder of success, many say, was an empty dream, proven empty by the unceremonious way many have been treated — layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, 401Ks decimated.

What did it all mean? The constant cry for bigger, faster, cheaper?

The phenomenon I’ve been chronicling is something I’m calling the “Slow Career” movement. I’m piggybacking on the so called “Slow Food” movement, brought on by the crappy food we’ve all been putting into our bodies thanks to fast and processed food. Lots of people are thinking locally grown, healthy food is a better alternative for our health.

The Slow Career movement is seen as a better alternative for your career health. Better to do what you love, something that has a positive impact on those around us, than slave away for “The Man” all your life with little to show for it.

One woman quit a long time, lucrative IT career to start a doggy daycare. Another guy said goodbye to 70-plus hour weeks in the corporate world to start a website for adoptive parents with alternative lifestyles. Yet another laid off financial services worker decided to become a nurse.

Just got this comment today from Suzanne M. McKoy, who is a benefits manager for a major wine store chain on the East Coast and has been laid off starting in June:

I will go back to school – and take as many classes as I can, as quickly as I can to get my teaching degree. I’ve always had a passion for teaching elementary school but always followed the money and opportunities in the corporate world – what a huge mistake. I’m miserable and tired of the politics and backbiting.

I’ll be sharing more of your stories in my blog in the weeks ahead, but I thought I would launch this Slow Career series with the key question — Will it last?

The economy is in the dumps, people are getting laid off or fear they’ll be laid of, and the promise of big jobs with big pay checks is dwindling for so many. It makes sense that people would be pushed to the brink right now and decide they’re sick of it all.

That kind of mentality helps people try new things, embark on their dreams, say “what the hell, I’m going for it.”

But what if things turn around as suddenly as they tanked? What if the promise of power and money were again a seemingly attainable goal? Will this Slow Career movement become like so many other movements, a distant memory?

Patty Comeford, a head hunter and CEO of business coaching firm You’re Never Stuck, has seen trends come and go in the work world over the past two decades. She equates the Slow Career movement to what we saw after 9 11.

“I’ve seen many of these cycles but I do see this impacting people on a deeper level,” she explains.

Time will tell how deep this goes. But for now, it’s a great thing to see people reassessing what they want out of their work lives.

Are you blindly running through your career, or have you begun to move SLOW enough to smell the roses?

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