Just as we thought the pandemic was subsiding and things were going back to normal...
Russia invaded Ukraine – sending Europe into an economic tailspin over the following months with an energy crisis to follow, and weighing the global economy down into potential recession as the war dragged on.
The tech industry started downsizing. After two years of booming expansion during the pandemic, the market for many tech companies' digital offerings has been saturated, and the return to office has further limited their growth. Previous rosy projections have been walked back, and the resulting layoffs have hit thousands of employees hard.
The cryptocurrency bubble collapsed – right as everyone thought it would bounce back from the pandemic and inflate still further. The highest-profile collapse, that of the FTX exchange, has cost investors and creditors billions of dollars already, and the losses are still mounting.
People started quitting their jobs over hybrid work. Two years of stress and strain under pandemic conditions culminated in an epiphany for employees worldwide: work that does not leave room for one's own life is not worth the money. Now, flexibility has become a non-negotiable for many, and companies have to adjust their talent retention strategies accordingly.
Inflation shot up – instead of the post-pandemic economic recovery everyone was expecting, stock markets plunged, interest rates rose, supply chains remained tangled, and by October the IMF was predicting that inflation in 2022 would total 8.8%. Now real wages are sinking amid declining purchasing power, and employers are having to adjust their pay approach.
Queen Elizabeth passed away, and with her ended the last vestiges of the old, pre-war British monarchy.
Elon Musk bought Twitter. The world's biggest social media troll put his money where his mouth was, and has subsequently graduated from trolling other Twitter users to trolling the unfortunate company's employees, investors, former leadership, and from the looks of it, US regulators as well.
But lest we think everything that happened this year is bad...
After three decades of wrangling over who is responsible for the costs of climate change, members of the United Nations have finally agreed to set up a loss and damage fund to help countries suffering from climate disasters. While it will take still more years to determine where the money comes from and how it will be administrated, it's a long-overdue step forward.
Also in the service of climate change mitigation, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard donated his entire billion-dollar company to the environmental cause. From September this year, every cent of profit the company makes goes toward environmental protection and sustainability.
And Lionel Messi won the World Cup – perhaps not so unexpected, but an immense coup for the international football star, who at 35 has passed his peak and just reached the average age at which footballers retire.
2022 brought us chaos, but also the opportunity to review, renew, and advance. Read the end-2022 issue of People Matters Digital Magazine for a look back, and some key takeaways to bring forward.