There is no denying that the ongoing pandemic has impacted many people one way or another–both for the good and the bad. One area that has heavily been impacted is one’s employment status. In the very beginning, many people found themselves without a job and might have had to collect unemployment for the very first time in their lives. Many were also furloughed for extended periods of time but eventually were able to be brought back to work. Depending on the industry, there were also people who have been working from home and haven’t set foot into an office since or might be easing back into working in person again just a few days a week. What many would not have anticipated is that while things are slowly getting back to some sort of new normalcy, many people (Americans in particular) are quitting their jobs altogether. I recently had read a statistic that 4.3 million Americans had quit their jobs this past August 2021 which is approximately 3% of the American workforce. While that might not seem too high, it is still alarming considering that this seems to be the new trend and more people are choosing to leave their jobs in its entirety.
One initial factor that comes to mind as to why this is happening could be the vaccine mandate which has put people in a position where they are forced to quit their jobs due to a lack of personal choice. However, surprisingly, this only accounts for a very small percentage of people who have left their jobs. Another thought might be that the generous unemployment benefits that were given out during the pandemic have also made it very easy for people to essentially get paid to stay home as opposed to going back to work. However, these extended pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) benefits had been terminated in certain states a long time ago or had just ended this past September which means that people are no longer collecting large sums of money from the government anymore. So why are people still choosing to not go back to work?
During these times of uncertainty, I think people have been reflecting on their lives on a much deeper level and have really taken the time to examine what brings personal fulfillment. For many, work has consumed a good majority of life which can leave people to feel burnt out over extended periods of time to the point where people need to find a way to catch a break and there seems to be no better time than right now. I have written in the past about how having a lot of money might seem great but when you don’t have the free time to enjoy life, money does not hold as much value as TIME in my opinion. As I have also recently wrote about, you can always make money but you cannot always make up for lost time–as we all know how fast life passes us by.
Quality of life is essential yet so many people [unfortunately] let their jobs rob them away of this basic need and key to happiness. I think people are realizing now more than ever that quality of life is simply more important than work. While we need a stable job for basic survival, sometimes it just is not worth it if that means losing sleep, added amounts of stress, lack of flexibility, lack of family time, feeling unappreciated, menial wages, and so many other drawbacks. After awhile, enough is enough already.
If people find themselves reaching that breaking point, then yes–it’s time to quit and press the restart button. By restart, I simply mean to consider pursuing a new career path that will ensure intrinsic satisfaction and be in alignment with one’s life purpose. Perhaps restart could mean leaving the work force for an extended period of time to enjoy a hobby, spend quality time with family, or to travel the world. Everyone’s situation is different but at the end of the day, no one should be settling on a miserable work life. It is much better to look into starting over or to take a well deserved break. I think that the pandemic along with the current statistics are consistently showing that more people are coming to this realization and need to figure out a new game plan for life which ultimately is a positive thing.