These people quit their jobs during the pandemic. This is what they are doing now
In July, four million people quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
People can quit for many reasons: some want a better work-life balance or a higher salary, while others find that their job is no longer suitable for them, or they want to do something completely different from their time. But not everyone can afford to quit their job, and it often takes planning.
Scott Banks had a plan. The 57-year-old intended to retire at 60 and travel the country in a motorhome with his wife. The couple had diligently saved and had many RV vacations with their two children over the years, so they were used to life on the road.
But when the pandemic struck and Banks saw the impact it was having on people’s lives, it made him rethink how long he wanted to wait to retire. While he loved his job as a CFO at a mortgage banking company in Florida, he realized he wanted more.
âWhen you see people dying from this disease and you can imagine yourself or a member of your family being in the same situation, it makes you introspective and thoughtful,â Banks said.
At the end of 2020, he reviewed his retirement plans and realized that if he and his wife were careful with their spending, he could retire this year. So he came up with a plan: sell their house, buy a condo to serve as a home base, quit his job and hit the road.
“I will do better doing that and then spending 10 hours a day behind a desk, âhe said.
The couple bought a condo in Jacksonville, Florida in March, then sold their home in St. Augustine in May. They received several offers on the house and sold it in less than a week for $ 27,000 above asking price. In April, Banks told his boss that he was planning to retire and that his last day was in September.
The couple just hit the road in their 30-foot trailer, heading first in Washington, DC and Virginia.
At first, they will live mostly on 401 (k) savings until they become eligible for Social Security. They also plan to cut spending, but health care costs are a big wild card.
âWhat can you spend money on when you live in a motorhome? You spend money on food, gasoline and the places you stay,â he said. “What makes me nervous are the costs of health care, it is extremely expensive.”
Finding work-life balance
In March 2020, Nicole Sinder was delighted to be working from home.
She thought she could spend more time with her husband and cats and hone her watercolor skills. The 33-year-old worked as a criminal defense attorney and said the transition from office to remote work went smoothly.
She feared that her life would seep into working time. But it turned out to be the other way around.
âWhat happened was work started creeping into my life,â said Sinder, who moved from Brazil to Florida with his parents when he was six months old. âIt was a lot of late work and stress. Just looking at the desk, I was like, ‘I have so many things to do tomorrow morning. I’m already home. You might as well do them now … ‘The job has really become a 24 hour affair. ”
In the fall of 2020, she was feeling exhausted and knew something had to change.
Sinder and her husband started weighing their options, and after visiting a friend in Orlando in March, they decided this was where they wanted to be. A few weeks later back from the trip, they signed a lease. Sinder quit his job the following month and they moved in May.
But she was very guilty about leaving. âI loved my job and what I did. I really cared about my clients,â Sinder said.
The couple had saved up for a down payment on a house, and having this pillow helped Sinder feel better about the transition.
“When I first gave notice, I was extremely terrified. I really thought about the decision.” She even thought about giving up the movement. “I was very scared that I wouldn’t have something planned.”
Shortly after their move to Orlando, she received an unexpected call. A few months earlier she saw a job offer for a river guide from a kayak travel company on Instagram and applied on a whim, highlighting his fluency in three languages. Now they wanted to hire him.
Sinder followed an employee and decided to take the job. She wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do with her career and took this time to do some research.
âBeing there and realizing: it’s great, people are on vacation. Instead of dealing with people when they’re having the worst time of their lives, I deal with people when they’re having a good time. was a very different experience – I had to change in my head the way I interacted with customers. “
She spent several weeks making tours on the river. One day she stumbled across a job offer for a law firm dealing with homeowners property damage cases and decided to apply. “He ticked all the boxes for me at that point.”
It started in July.
âIt’s in a much less emotionally invested area of ââlaw,â she said, adding that she had a much better work-life balance.
âI go to the office and I don’t work from home anymore and that’s a big deal for me,â she said. âNow that I’m working in the office, it’s easier for me to come home, finish this part of my day and start my personal life. “
In search of a better fit
Flannery Pendergast, 32, has worked in the Milwaukee advertising industry for about seven years and said she appreciates the fast pace and creativity that the job entails.
The transition to remote work in the spring of 2020 went well at first, but in the fall she was laid off.
She landed a freelance job at another advertising agency in January and was eventually hired full time.
But in May, her godmother, with whom she was incredibly close, passed away. Pendergast said it has become difficult for him to concentrate on his work.
âWhen she died it became too much,â she said. “I was at that point when I was at work, it didn’t seem important to me anymore. We’re arguing whether this period should be a size 11 font or a size 13 font. And I’m just like,” This is not where I want my energy to go. ‘”
In June, she decided to quit her job.
His plan is to drive around the country and determine his next steps. She went to Kansas City, Missouri on her first trip and stopped in St. Louis on the way home. But an injury has forced her to suspend her trips for the time being.
She hopes to be back on the road soon in order to find some clarification on what she wants to do next.
“I don’t think agency life is for me anymore.”
Forge better personal relationships
Water has always occupied an important place in the life of Neha Contractor. Her father taught her to swim when she was three, and that’s where she still goes when she needs calm.
âI love the water. I’ve always been an aquatic baby,â said Contractor, 39. “I have always felt a tremendous level of comfort in the water.”
The entrepreneur, who lives in Bengaluru, India, has worked in marketing and advertising for large corporations. She loved the challenge of creating campaigns and working with people, but the hours were long. And for the past few years, she felt that she was missing something.
“I realized that I am not getting any younger and wanted to spend more of my youth trying to make a difference in something that matters so much to me like the ocean. I could always come back to a corporate job.”
When traveling for work, she sneaked on scuba diving trips. âI would dive just to get into the ocean,â she said.
Before the pandemic, the entrepreneur obtained divemaster and diving instructor certifications.
She joined the health and wellness platform Ultrahuman as Global Marketing Director in April 2020, but after months of Zoom meetings, increased screen time and feeling like she’s not connecting with people , she decided to resign after less than a year.
âI decided I didn’t want to do anything in the corporate world at the time,â she said. “The pandemic … has changed my outlook on life in general.”
She is now a full time scuba diving instructor.
âIt’s scary, you give up a huge corporate job security blanket, especially during a pandemic,â she said. “I still believe the money will come and things will fall into place. Doing what really matters to you is what I got into.”
She has traveled and said her life has improved dramatically.
“I really like the quality of life I lead today. The difference is, I’m not that constantly worried about staring at a screen, waiting for an email, or hopping on a call,” she declared. “I’m more worried about who I’m connecting with. What I’m going to teach. What’s going on with the ocean.”