Every person running the 9-5 “rat race” has fantasized about leaving their job and chasing a dream at one time or another. The COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown that followed greatly altered work life. Office spaces shuttered, forcing people to pivot to at-home work. While at home, many people started to evaluate their lives and what was important: time with family, work/life balance, and their mental health and happiness.
As the shutdown mandates reach their end and employers expect their workers to return to the office, the lessons learned during the pandemic have started stoking fires of inspiration and action in workers.
The Great Resignation
It’s being called “The Great Resignation”. A record number of people have left their jobs in 2021. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study, 4.3 million Americans left their jobs in August 2021 alone. The phenomenon is occurring across most industries and worldwide. Workers report a variety of reasons why they are considering leaving their positions or have already.
A common theme among those resigning is a reevaluation of their goals and what they consider important after the traumatic upheaval of the pandemic. Many found new life being allowed to work from home and see their families more often. Others discovered a hidden talent or skill at home and sought to pursue new ventures with the time they had.
A New Crop of Entrepreneurs
When I left my career in real estate to pursue self-employment in the health and wellness industry, I was chasing a life doing something I was passionate about. Many of us learned throughout the pandemic that life is short, it can be changed instantly, and you get one shot at doing what you love and crafting a life by design.
According to CBSNews, Americans are starting their own businesses in droves. People in the US have filed more than 4 million applications to start new businesses in 2021 through September. This number is a considerable jump compared with approximately 3 million applications being filed the year before.
Workers are becoming more willing to take the self-employment risk if the trade-off means they control their own destiny and income potential.
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Preparing to Take a Leap
Readying yourself to leap into a new industry or self-employment takes some planning and forethought. If one wants to participate in this “Great Resignation” revolution, they shouldn’t do so hastily. It can be daunting to start something new and unfamiliar, and many people don’t know where to start.
Many of those resigning their jobs are coming from the service industry: restaurants, hospitality, and retail positions that were put through the proverbial wringer in the last two years. People may come off those high-stress jobs wanting to do absolutely anything else, but they should take some time to evaluate what makes them happy. What sparks passion in them? What skill, service, or product could they provide that would be of value to others?
Also, workers looking to leap may not want to make big, dramatic moves before having their financial house in order. Stimulus checks, savings from not needing to commute to an office, child tax credits, and other economic changes wrought by the pandemic have helped some families change their financial futures.
Experiences Bring Great Change
Our collective experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the “Great Resignation.” Even though our journey through the pandemic has been personal, traumatic experiences tend to bring about collective shifts in thought.
According to Dr. Anthony Klotz at Texas A&M, who coined the term “The Great Resignation”, it was “pandemic epiphanies” that brought about the mass exodus from jobs and the uptick in new entrepreneurs.
Our experiences shape us throughout our lives. The “Great Resignation” is a chance to examine what makes us happy, what fulfills us, and what we want to do with our time on the planet. It’s an opportunity to chart your own path and, perhaps, reap incredible rewards personally and professionally.
Written by Sonia Magruder: Healthpreneur, Coach and Mentor