Thinking of quitting your job soon?
It may help you find a better gig.
Many Americans are leaving their current employers in hopes of finding better jobs. In September, a record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs, eclipsing the previous high set in August.
At the same time, millions of Americans have been hired in recent months, as the economic recovery from the pandemic recession continues. Many of the workers that have quit have gone on to jobs with higher pay, while others have moved to have greater flexibility or work-life balance.
Here’s what to know about finding a job with a better fit in today’s labor market.
If you want to try something new
Because many employers are struggling to find workers, now is a good time for people who may typically have a harder time finding jobs.
That includes workers with criminal records, teenagers and people who’ve taken years off.
“It’s a good time for people over a certain age who generally experienced age discrimination and people who maybe wouldn’t have been looked at because they didn’t have exactly that square peg to fit the square hole,” said Julie Bauke, a career coach and president of the Bauke Group in Cincinnati.
That means that if you’re looking to make a career change, it may make sense to go back to the drawing board now. This is especially true if you’re looking to work in an industry seeing a high number of quits, such as arts and entertainment, accommodations and food service, and leisure and hospitality.
“We’ve been trained to think of ourselves as having much more limited options than we actually do,” she said. “When the pendulum is swinging toward the worker, it is absolutely time to step back and figure out what’s your next best move.”
If you need a reset
Quitting your job to take some time to rest before diving into applying for your next gig may also make sense, especially if you’re unhappy at work or feeling burned out, as many are at this point in the coronavirus pandemic.
If you’re at a point where you’re desperate to get out of your current job, that’s usually the worst time to look for a new one, said Mandi Woodruff-Santos, a personal finance expert and executive producer and co-host of the podcast Brown Ambition. “Your mind isn’t clear, you’re more likely to take opportunities for the wrong reasons and I think personally you’re less likely to make an impact during an interview.”
Instead, stepping out of the work force for a period to take care of yourself means you can jump back into your job search with renewed energy and focus.
“Take a breather and get back out,” said Woodruff-Santos, who focuses on helping women of color move forward in their careers. “It’s like when you pull the emergency brake.”
What to consider
To be sure, the forces at play in the labor market don’t necessarily apply to every industry, so workers should do their own research about their field before leaving a job.
Most experts also don’t recommend quitting until you have a solid emergency savings fund ready to go — generally at least a few months of rent and living expenses.
“It’s about doing the math,” Woodruff-Santos said.
And, if you’re genuinely happy in your career, you shouldn’t feel that you need to make a move now just because it’s popular.
“The great resignation almost creates this idea that this is the best time and you’ve got to switch jobs now,” said Woodruff-Santos. “I’ve never operated that way.
“I think you’ve got to go by where you’re at in your career and if it makes sense for you.”
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.