It’s OK to Ditch Your 9–5 Job


we all know, by 2021, more than 4 million Americans have quit their jobs as employers rolled out their back-to-office policies. A phenomenon coined by economists as the Great Resignation and with massive migration of employees and a global labor shortage, the power tides are finally turning in favor of job seekers. Needless to say, our world has changed and things will never be the same. So what’s next, what does the future of work look like, and what does it mean to you?

The pandemic reminds us that life is short, employees are finally waking up to the true value of their talents and skills. They’re not going to settle for less any longer. Ultimately, this is a paradigm shift in the way people plan their careers in the future.

1. Gig Economy

With the shift from burnout to a toxic work culture towards the gig economy, it’s no surprise that 85 % of the workforce has already been disengaged from their jobs prior to the pandemic. The Great Resignations were inevitable, but the pandemic only accelerated it.

This is why a significant portion of the workforce could actually switch to the gig economy format.

Many former full-time employees have the potential to shift their day-to-day jobs into more contract, freelance, or project-based work. This means they get to work for X amount of time and take sabbatical money between projects for reorganization and recharging.

Between 2016 and 2020, the number of top clients in the freelance job market increased by 90%. Many online sites for side hustle have also experienced significant user and revenue growth over the past two years.

Chart of Upwork core clients per year. Image source: upwork

2. Lose Financial Incentives

Cash incentives are losing their power. Many participants of the great resignations, including myself, say they are willing to take a pay cut or take entry-level jobs that offer more meaningful work with a better work-life balance and end up working for a company whose values align with theirs.

Traditionally, the mindset has focused on the jobs that make the most money. But since we learn quickly from the great resignation, it’s a really quick and easy way to end up being miserable if you choose to work based on a salary. Of course, money is important.

However, according to a study conducted by Wharton, money acts as an incentive, but only up to $ 75,000 per year.

Beyond that job seekers will be looking for cultural fit, meaningful work, and upward mobility.

3. Entrepreneurship

As more and more people realized that they might not be able to land their dream job after browsing all the sites or, they decided to create their own. From 2020 to 2021, there was a significant increase in new business applications in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau.

Monthly Business Applications by US Census Bureau
Monthly business applications. Image source:

It’s a good representation of the general sentiment among employees that would prefer to go through much more of a grind with less money instead of answering their boss. But in the end, the transition to more people in pursuit of entrepreneurship is actually a really positive trend for the workforce. This is because successful entrepreneurs in general are people who can bring more value. An increase in entrepreneurship also indicates a general desire to solve problems rather than a desire for prestige. Of course, credibility comes with entrepreneurship, but only after that entrepreneur has solved the first problem.

4. Remote Work

This may seem pretty obvious, as the mere fact that companies are reintroducing back-to-office policies triggers for the great resignation where people love the flexibility of not being tethered to the city or completely locked in office cubicles. Without commuting they can save time and money which tends to increase productivity and reduce distractions. Many large companies have already introduced permanent work from home.

Of course, many of them are Big Tech. But as the saying goes, when Big Tech does something, everyone else follows. However, remote work also tends to lengthen working days, and some people prefer face-to-face interaction with co-workers. So, the hybrid model might be the best way to go in the future, but no one knows what will happen. We know that remote work is a norm, not an exception.

Byall of those, the future of work will definitely be a big part of your career plan. Here’s what we can do:

1. Build Multiple Streams of Income

The only way to deal with uncertainty is by embracing change, meaning that relying on your daily job as your sole source of income is becoming increasingly risky. You will have to generate multiple sources of income, including investments through the acquisition of real estate or creating an online business. Of course, so much easier said than done but absolutely necessary to do.

If we have financial stability, we don’t have to be stressed about money all the time. It gives us more flexibility and choice about where we work and what kind of work we want to do, as well as the flexibility to work for ourselves if we want to.

2. Strength and Interest

Don’t discount your strengths and your interests. It’s Important to keep in mind that your career doesn’t have to be so cookie-cutter and linear. It’s very common these days for young professionals to try out different things and switch between multiple jobs in their early careers. Not only common now, but this is necessary and it’s important for young people to do it even if you want to use me as an example.

I’ve held five roles in three different companies over the past year and a half. I’ve held jobs ranging from genetic lab researcher, a biomedical engineer in a biotech startup, marketing, sales business development, and now ended up in consulting management and also start writing on this platform.

Some people might call it commitment issues but I would just like to say that I literally just changed my career path. I had no idea what I wanted to do and I thought that overall it was just a really good experience to get to try different things. So, now I have a lot more clarity as to where I want to take my career. If you are reading this as a millennial or gen Z, make sure you do that too.

When I first graduated I was primed to be a good dentist but after the pandemic hit in March 2020, I realized that I really don’t want that career path and I naturally gravitated towards programming, marketing, and sales or the so-called corporate industry.

Over a year and a half after deciding to quit as a dentist, I’m just starting to get a better understanding and clarity of where I want to take my career.

Final Words

So don’t be afraid to try a lot of different roles when you’re young. Because you learn a lot and eventually you don’t focus on making money. Focus on the creation of value, I can’t emphasize this enough.

In the modern workforce, not only today but in the future, working just for the money won’t give you a competitive edge in any career. You should instead focus on how you create the best value, whether you’re working for an employer or a business owner. If you focus on creating value, you will be happier and make more money rather than if you were just chasing money in the first place.

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