2020 saw massive layoffs. But in 2021, the tides turned during what is being called "The Great Resignation."
Millions of people decided they did not want to return to the office full time as companies began calling them back. That, in turn, forced businesses to re-evaluate how they retain talent, as more than 4 million workers quit their jobs.
As the calendar turns to 2022, economists expect workers to continue to look elsewhere in search of greener pastures.
Pursuing his life-long dream
Until this summer, Jake Leber was a TV news producer.
While he found his job satisfying, the long hours were too much during the pandemic.
"We work holidays, we work weekends, we work overnights, and you have to make sacrifices in your life to do it," Leber said.
He knew he wasn't fulfilling his lifelong dream.
Now, Leber is hosting trivia shows in local nightclubs and working remotely for a trivia company during the day.
"I always wanted to do something interesting and keep my mind active, as opposed to giving me a paycheck every month," he said.
What to know before making the jump
Leber is like millions of Americans who reassessed their priorities during the pandemic and decided they did not want to return to the 9 to 5 grind.
Lisa Rowan is a consumer finance expert with "Forbes Advisor." She says the first step for anyone planning to quit their job is to make a plan.
"Take an inventory of your spending, your obligations, and the different factors that you might have to make up for if you leave a job so that you can plan for some financial security in 2022," she said.
Rowan says people who plan on quitting should be clear in their objectives. For instance, is it really worth leaving a job with benefits and paid time off? Is it worth it to find a fully remote job?
"You might be able to negotiate some differences in how you do your work at your current company," Rowan said. "So, if you're dissatisfied with something in your current job, whether it's the hours you work, the responsibilities that you have, whether or not you can work from home or you have to go to the office, now's the time to have that conversation and go into it with an open mind."
Above all, Rowan says, the most important thing for workers to do is take their time and think it out — there's no big hurry right now.
"Do not just stop showing up for your current job," she said. "You need to think ahead about what's going to be smart for your long-term career and your long-term work satisfaction."
Leber loves his new career and urges everyone to follow their dreams if they can afford it.
"Finding joy in the day to day is so much more important than the paycheck to me," Leber said.
That way, you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
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