People Quitting Jobs in Record Numbers: Mostly a Good Thing

Published January 3, 2019

In 2018, job turnover in the United States was the highest it’s been in two decades. High job turnover is generally seen as a bad thing. I believe in today’s world it’s mostly a good thing – particularly because more people are leaving their jobs voluntarily to explore new opportunities.

Whether you leave your job because you hate your boss, receive a better offer, want to try something new or simply need a break, leaving on one’s own terms is the essence of occupational freedom. It’s better than getting fired, and certainly better than living in fear of getting fired.

A robust economy is one reason more people have felt emboldened to see if they can do better for themselves in the marketplace. Yet even in occupations where stability and longevity are rewarded – like teaching, for example – more people are on the move. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, teachers are quitting their jobs at the fastest rate in history!

While teachers are historically underpaid, changing jobs can cost them tenure-based pensions and other perks. Many ex-teachers cite stressful classroom conditions as the main reason they decided such economic sacrifices were worth it. “I had to quit for my sanity,” said one.

I have mixed emotions about teachers leaving the profession because my guess is that those who are leaving are probably the best and brightest ones. The teachers with the drive, ambition and ability to find success in any number of fields are probably the ones you want teaching your kids.

But we shouldn’t deny good teachers or anyone else happiness. If you’d be happier doing something else, then you should go for it. Whether it’s finding a better-paying job in your field, changing careers, or plunging headfirst into the limitless opportunities of entrepreneurship, change is always good. Either it works out or you learn from it. Having the balls to try is the essential first step.