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The 3 Real Reasons Americans Quit Their Jobs – Forbes Advisor

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When Pittsburgh’s Tracy Travaglio returned to the classroom in the fall of 2021 after more than a year of teaching online, it was clear she wasn’t just a teacher anymore.

She was a symptom checker. A mask executor. A caretaker who disinfects the desks between class periods. And those tasks were on top of the growing paperwork that had crept over the years into her job as a high school English, writing, and journalism teacher.

Panic attacks became a regular part of her day. “I felt like my number one job was to protect myself and my students at that time,” says Travaglio, who has a three-year-old son. “Everything else has become secondary.”

As Covid restrictions ease, millions of workers are realizing that their old ways of earning a living are no longer tenable.

Although millions of people have quit their jobs at record levels, they are not quitting their jobs forever. They just find new jobs. And alongside a desire for greater financial security, some are rethinking their entire career path.

“Individuals are evaluating what’s important and fulfilling to them, and that can mean career change,” says Liz Cannata, vice president of human resources at online jobs platform CareerBuilder. “With more flexible remote positions and skills-based recruitment in a tough candidate market, employers are also open to more candidates.”

This means that workers have the opportunity to transfer their skills to a new industry or a new type of job when they would not otherwise attract attention on their CV.

Read more: Need a career change? How to Make the Big Quit Work for You

Here are three reasons why people quit their jobs and how you might consider your next career move.

1. Burnout and dissatisfaction

Salary is not the only reason workers leave their jobs.

A March survey by the Pew Research Center found that while low pay was the main reason people quit their jobs last year, it was closely followed by respondents saying they lacked opportunities. advancement in their role. And 35% of respondents said feeling disrespected at work was a top reason for leaving.

A study from the University of Chicago found that employees worked longer hours during the pandemic, but their productivity plummeted. For many people, working out over the past two years can feel like running on a treadmill that never turns off.

Dian Grier, a clinical therapist with online counseling platform Choose Therapy, noticed her clients resented their employers who wanted them back in the office after two years of working from home. Not only will they have to bear the costs of going to work and dressing for business; they’ll lose time to focus on commuting and “the sense of balance they started to feel working from home,” says Grier.

Travaglio had been teaching for 13 years when she decided to quit. “The more I taught, the less it became about the kids and more paperwork, more test scores, more statistics, and less of what was actually going on in your classroom.

She became jaded, she says, but deciding to leave was the hardest decision of her life.

“Teaching is a profession in which it almost feels like once you’re in it, you stay there for life, and there’s a lot of guilt associated with leaving,” she says.

Travaglio was already working part-time as a stylist for subscription service Stitch Fix, which gave her a creative outlet for her love of fashion. She and her husband, who were already considering selling their home to move to a less expensive neighborhood, experimented with different budget scenarios to see how they would fare financially if Travaglio quit his job.

Selling their house in exchange for a cheaper mortgage helped convince her that she could quit her job. Moving their son from full-time to part-time daycare also saved money, to the tune of about $500 a month.

It’s been almost an entire school year since Travaglio quit teaching, and she says her brain is just starting to “chill out.”

2. Maintain flexibility in the event of a pandemic

The pandemic has taught people that a lot of work gets done, even when everyone has a slightly different schedule or juggles various priorities at home.

A study highlighted by Harvard Business Review found that 59% of workers value flexibility more than salary. This suggests that workers seek autonomy to decide when and where they work rather than a fixed hybrid schedule of in-person and remote workdays.

Twenty-four percent of respondents to the Pew Research Center survey said child care issues caused them to quit their jobs; 25% said their role didn’t have enough flexibility to choose working hours, while 20% said they simply worked too much.

If employers are unwilling to extend flexitime to their workers, people are willing to use their skills elsewhere.

Cannata said remote work-from-home job postings on CareerBuilder see seven times more applicants than on-site positions. “While some workers want to be in the office, some prefer a mix and others want to be remote only,” she says. “Employers will need to be flexible because one size does not fit all. Flexibility and work-life balance will continue to be important in attracting and retaining workers. »

Grier says his clients are “looking for the freedom” that maintains or expands the flexibility they saw in the early days of the pandemic. “I feel like businesses aren’t adapting fast enough, and those that embrace this new trend will be able to thrive with the best and brightest of these individuals,” she says.

Read more: How the big quit can help you get a good raise

3. Paying a factor, but not the only motivation

Even though salary is a secondary reason workers consider changing careers, it’s hard to ignore. The rapid rise in inflation over the past year has made many households realize how much their income is really expanding or not.

A March Forbes Advisor-YouGov survey found that the majority of workers who received wage increases said the increase was not enough to cover their rising costs due to inflation.

And half of respondents said they were considering quitting their job to get a raise elsewhere.

Read more: 57% of Americans say their pay raises don’t keep up with inflation

But just because a lot of people have quit their jobs and there are still plenty available, that means there’s a natural fit for everyone. It is generally easier for low-wage workers to change jobs quickly because there are more entry-level or service-related jobs available, such as in the hospitality industry. As your skills specialize, it may take more work to match your experience to a realistic new path.

Cannata says networking in your desired new field is a crucial step when considering a career change. Online courses can also help you build skills and a comfort level in your future profession.

But the current hiring climate can offer shortcuts to a new career. Some industries are relaxing certification requirements to get people into jobs faster, and requirements like college degrees are being dropped from some types of jobs, according to Bloomberg.

Travaglio continues to work part-time for Stitch Fix, has taken on freelance content creation work, and is building a presence on his personal, style-focused Instagram account. She hopes her background in fashion, technology and social media will draw attention to her resume, along with a master’s degree in communications she completed while teaching.

She doesn’t know yet if she wants to go back to full-time work or continue working part-time for a while. It’s a luxury, says Travaglio, to have the time and resources to think about your next move.

“I haven’t lost sight of so many other people who are almost stuck in their situation right now because of the pandemic,” she says. “And the pandemic is what got me out of my situation.”

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