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CHICAGO – More than 47 million Americans quit their jobs last year in what’s become known as the Great Resignation.

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst, with reasons ranging from wanting more flexibility, higher pay, or more meaningful work.

WGN News Now spoke with Anita Jenke, who is the Executive Director of the nonprofit Career Transitions Center in Chicago, which works with professionals who are seeking out fulfilling careers.

She said meaningful work means different things for different people, but that anyone looking to make a change can take the same steps toward doing so.

Jenke said “First off, job seekers need to define what meaningful work means to them. This could be work that makes a social impact, has financial expectations, or fits with one’s life goals. Meaningful work can change over time.” Jenke said. “And it’s important to assess your interests and values.”

She said job seekers should also determine what type of work environment is ideal for them, and if it includes remote work, hybrid options, or even becoming self-employed.

Secondly, she said job seekers should find other people who currently have jobs they’d enjoy and reach out to them. Ask them how they got there and what steps are necessary to find similar employment and fulfillment. She said it’s important to have your own personal “board of directors” who can provide advice and direction in your career. 

Finally, Jenke believes all professionals should do regular self-reviews. This involves looking at one’s career and its trajectory, and determining if it’s the path he or she wants to be on. If not, this is where she says mentors and job coaches can help re-align and determine what other options are out there.

For more information about CTC’s services, visit their website.