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The Work-Life Issue

Taking the Leap: What Can Changing Jobs Do For You?

The COVID-19 pandemic and The Great Resignation have created the perfect storm. Workers across all industries are demanding better working conditions. As a result, 2.9% of American workers quit their jobs in February 2022, up from 2.4% in February 2021.

While some of this is in response to COVID-19 concerns, several other factors are at play. To figure out the conditions driving the highest quit rate in the last two decades, we examined findings from a survey conducted by Pew Research Center. The survey identified the top three reasons for quitting were low pay, lack of advancement opportunities, and feeling disrespected in the workplace.

Workplace incivility is often the root cause of disrespect in the workplace, and its impact on mental (and physical) health is detrimental. In fact, this sort of disrespect is associated with obsessive negative thoughts about work which cause insomnia—which may also increase your risk for depression and other mental and physical health conditions.

No one should have to endure conditions that cause high levels of stress that impact their mental and physical health. And it's why more people than ever are making career shifts to increase work flexibility, salary, and job satisfaction. I made the transition myself and am reaping the benefits of entrepreneurship after leaving behind my career as a teacher. I make more money than ever while working fewer hours, and I’m not alone.

See how four professionals also carved out a new path by changing their careers, turning their side hustles into full-time jobs, and improving their mental health and overall well-being in the process.

From Teacher to Content Creator

I can personally attest to the thankless and grueling teaching profession. While it’s very rewarding and many people relish winter, spring, and summer breaks, the costs outweigh the benefits for many people. Rebecca Rogers is a former teacher-turned-content-creator who stumbled into this field on accident.

Rogers began her content creator journey as a means to connect with her students during online learning. “My students were so sad, and I was just looking for some way to bond with them,” she explained. A year and a half later, she has over 2.2 million followers on TikTok, 950,000 on YouTube, 80,000 on Facebook, and 70,000 on Instagram.

The principal at the school where Rogers worked also had a great influence over her departure from teaching. He often threw teachers like Rogers under the bus for decisions he made himself. This behavior isn’t conducive to a healthy work environment, which Rogers soon figured out. When she finally resigned from her teaching job, her doctor provided her with a doctor’s note to put her on sick leave until the end of her 30-day notice because of the extreme emotional stress she endured.

Her experience with workplace bullying isn’t an isolated incident, and neither is her departure. Studies show that workers leave jobs where they’re subject to bullying, and that making this switch helps reduce anxiety. However, in many cases, the damage is already done. Even though anxiety falls significantly once a bullied worker switches jobs, they may still contend with depression over a year later. Despite this, transitioning out of a toxic work environment can have significant mental health benefits.

Now, several months later, Rogers reaps the benefits of her job switch with no plans to return to the classroom.

Rebecca Rogers

I am happy. I am FREE. And if they never fix the education system, I am NEVER going back.

— Rebecca Rogers

Digital Marketing Agency to Director of Marketing

If you’re considering changing jobs to reach the next level of your career, you might want to learn more about Maya Shaff’s story. She has extensive experience in marketing. Much of her career was spent rising through the ranks of a digital marketing agency. While this gave her lots of experience, she felt starved of opportunities to complete more tactical tasks. So, she set out to find an opportunity that would help her grow and achieve her goals.

In August 2021, she found the perfect opportunity. Shaff joined Witful as the Director of Marketing, and she hasn’t looked back. She gets to work from the comfort of her home, which is a massive draw for job seekers, while also working on many different projects. “I get to be hands-on for basically every marketing initiative we want to implement for the company, from advertising and SEO, to website projects and product development,” she explained.

As a result, Shaff gets to learn something new every day. She reports that her “mental health and overall wellbeing have been drastically impacted by her new role, for the better.” Her new workplace emphasizes personal connections and work-life balance that gives her time and space to participate in activities she loves, like snowboarding, hiking, and other outdoor activities—which also have proven benefits for mood and self-esteem.

Healthcare Hospitality to Publishing

Sometimes changing jobs results in a completely new experience. Lindsay Francis made just about as drastic a change as possible in today’s job market. In addition to switching jobs, she also moved from Boston to New York City in pursuit of better opportunities, but she found so much more.

Francis has transferable analytics skills that helped her find her new job. When she began her job search, she didn’t have a specific industry in mind. “I made sure to fully analyze each potential employer. I didn’t move forward with the interview process if I saw any red flags. I was overly critical because I wanted to do the best I could to ensure that I will be comfortable and happy in my new role,” she said.

“Landing a job in the publishing industry has been a dream come true and I am very happy with my career choice,” Francis says.

Francis' job switch is one example of how The Great Resignation has put the power back into the hands of workers across the nation. Instead of accepting employment from anywhere, workers have more opportunities to research and choose an employer with a positive work environment and the benefits they prefer.

Lindsay Francis

I made sure to fully analyze each potential employer. I didn’t move forward with the interview process if I saw any red flags.

— Lindsay Francis

Project Manager to Critter Depot

Jeff Neal is a former project manager whose side hustle of raising crickets turned into his full-time job. The entrepreneur went from raising crickets to feeding his daughter’s bearded dragon to selling them to pet stores and reptile owners.

When he began this journey five years ago, Neal never thought he’d reach this level of success. In fact, his business, The Critter Depot, earned him more money than his full-time job for two years before he made the leap to focus on raising crickets and other critters at the beginning of 2022.

Before he took the plunge, Neal was wearing himself thin. “I was working 100-hour weeks to maintain my full-time job and keep orders flowing for The Critter Depot. Being able to focus on The Critter Depot has been a huge stress relief.”

Luckily, Neal's passion for his side hustle allowed him to leave long work hours behind in favor of entrepreneurship.

A Word From Verywell

If you’re struggling at your current job, determine the factors that may be in play. If low pay, workplace incivility, and/or mental health concerns, are at the root of your job dissatisfaction, consider your options and whether it's right for you to make a career switch.

From better pay to improved mental health and increased job satisfaction, switching careers is a move that can have a profound impact on your life.

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Quits levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted - 2022 M02 Results.

  2. Pew Research Center. Majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 cite low pay, no opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected.

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  4. Li L, Wu C, Gan Y, Qu X, Lu Z. Insomnia and the risk of depression: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studiesBMC Psychiatry. 2016;16(1):375. doi:10.1186/s12888-016-1075-3

  5. Rosander, Michael et al. The last resort: Workplace bullying and the consequences of changing jobsScandinavian journal of psychology vol. 63,2 (2022): 124-135. doi:10.1111/sjop.12794

  6. Barton, Jo, and Jules Pretty. “What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis.” Environmental science & technologyvol. 44,10 (2010): 3947-55. doi:10.1021/es903183r