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[Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.]

Much has been written about various “new normals” in our lives in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. The enforced pause on people’s modus operandi has led many to re-evaluate their situation.

A fruit & veg shop in Bogotá is looking for workers. Some people don't have the luxury of choice with it comes to employment.

There is no shortage of jobs. They’re just not the right ones …

Getting “Brexit” done
In high-income nations and those in the comfortable classes elsewhere — in a Colombian context, I’m probably still classified as comfortable, the low bar that it is — this moment of reflection has been particularly felt in the employment sphere, resulting in what has been termed the Great Resignation.

Those with any sort of financial wriggle room and who were heretofore merely going through the motions at their less-than-fulfilling jobs decided to take action as they dealt with stay-at-home orders and other radical restrictions.

‘If I can’t implement change during a large-scale disruptor event such as this, then I never will.’ That, no doubt, has been the thinking.

Now it would be stretching it to call me a trailblazer, but I did take that leap of faith — leaving behind a relatively well-paid but unfulfilling job — before the coronavirus catalyst got to work on the rest of the restless.

In advance of finally deciding on the nuclear option, I had been trying to plot a more financially secure exit strategy, keeping in mind the adage ‘It’s easier to find a job when you’re in a job.’ But the few alternative full-time positions that presented themselves didn’t set the heart racing.

‘One may have no other choice but to rejoin the dreaded rat race, sooner rather than later.’

Nonetheless, rather than hold tight, I simply said I had to get my own “Brexit” done, that being Brendan’s leaving of the marketing agency DDB.

Perhaps akin to the UK’s Brexit, my thinking was — and remains (no, not that “remain”) — that things will work out. ‘Our fundamentals are solid, we’ll find a way.’

However, as the former United States Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, once said of Great Britain, that it ‘has lost an empire and not yet found a role’, this could apply in my case here. Not, I hasten to add, that my professional career can in any way be equated to the power of the British Empire at its height.

Resigned to the rat race
The idea, however, of the world being my oyster as one might think it should be for a Western-born, single, childless individual, is certainly weaker today than it was ten years ago.

There are reasons somewhat outside of my control for that, chief amongst them these “new normals”, particularly the illogical, punitive measures against unvaccinated folk.

Then there’s the fact that after a decade of having Colombia as my base and earning the weakening local currency, my global purchasing power is less today than it was in 2011.

Yet, putting a more positive spin on it, the post-pandemic world should present as many opportunities as it does challenges. That’s the hope in any case. (I can’t say, though, and shocking as this may be to regular readers, that I’m entirely optimistic about the short- to medium-term future).

In line with the spirit of the Great Resignation — or at least my interpretation of it, sticking to the reasons why I resigned ahead of the pack, so to put it — my ideal is to work with people, not for them.

The “fiscal space“, however, in which the Republic of Wrong Way has to realise those ambitions is disappearing rather rapidly. One may have no other choice but to rejoin the dreaded rat race, sooner rather than later. ‘Back into line, you rascal of a rodent.’

That may actually be the true essence of the Great Resignation: resigned to one’s insipid fate.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.

Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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