Are You Planning to Change Job This Year?

Recently, I heard on a podcast that 1 in 5 American workers changed jobs last year. That seems like a lot to me, especially during a recession. I thought everyone would try to hold on to their current job as hard as they could during an economic crisis. That’s what I did when I was employed. During the 2000 Dot Com bubble and the 2008 Great Recession, I just kept my head down and worked as hard as I could. At that point, I didn’t have any passive income and life would have been difficult without a job. However, this Covid-19 recession is different.

In previous recessions, workers in all sectors of the economy were similarly affected. Everyone was scared and everyone tried hard to keep their jobs. That’s not the case this time around. While millions of workers lost their jobs, many others worked from home and loved it. Most of those lucky people want to keep working from home at least a few days per week once the pandemic is under control. It’ll be interesting to see what the New Normal will be like.

Anyway, it seems even many of the lucky workers want to change jobs. A survey by Harris Poll found that 52% of U.S. workers are thinking about changing their jobs this year. Wow, that’s a lot of people. Let’s take a quick poll. Are you considering a job change this year?

Are you planning to change job soon?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Working from home

Mrs. RB40 is one of those lucky workers who can do her job from home. She really enjoyed this past 12 months. Here are some reasons why.

  • She can work at her own pace. Some weeks she works more and some weeks she works less.
  • She can take breaks whenever she needed.
  • No commute!
  • More family time.
  • She got to know her own neighborhood, especially local businesses! Before, by the time she got home from work, everything was closed.

There is a downside, though. I think she usually works more than 40 hours per week. Apparently, that’s pretty common when you work from home. Employees think they need to accomplish more to stand out. Before Covid, there are other things you could do to get raises. If you get along well with your boss and coworkers, you’re already most of the way there. Company culture is another big factor. If you fit in with the company culture, you’ll thrive.

Just work isn’t satisfying

Now that people are working from home, the only thing left to make you stand out is the work. Mrs. RB40 is one of those people who does excellent work and doesn’t really schmooze too much, so she is doing quite well. However, many workers are feeling disconnected from their employers and coworkers.

Work has a social function as well as a productive function. When I was an engineer, the job was a lot more tolerable when I got along well with my boss and coworkers. Once the people I liked were gone, I didn’t want to stick around anymore. I think many workers felt like that during the Covid-19 pandemic. The office was closed and there is no socializing with your coworkers. The job is distilled to just work. If you don’t enjoy the work, you’ll feel dissatisfied and start looking for something better. Mrs. RB40 is doing quite well at her job, but she is starting to feel the urge, too.


Office workers had a choice, but a lot of people didn’t. Millions of workers were laid off last year. Many jobs disappeared due to the pandemic. These jobs probably will come back in a year or two, but many of these same workers won’t be back. They are training for a different career, starting their own businesses, becoming gig workers, finding other jobs, or taking retirement. They can’t wait around for their old jobs to come back.

Many of these jobs are low pay so it’s a good opportunity to find something different. The hospitality, travel, and entertainment sectors were hit hard by Covid-19. Now that things are improving, these businesses are having a very difficult time finding workers.

Do you want to change job?

2020 was a very difficult year for many of us. Even the lucky people who kept their jobs are struggling. We’re all burned out and we want to get back to normal. However, the experience taught us something valuable too. If you still enjoy your work, then it’s a great fit. Keep working and getting raises. However, if your job is increasingly unsatisfying, then you might need to change career at some point. This past year removed a lot of noise. You should know by now if you enjoy your job or not.

Are you planning to change job soon? Tell us why or why not.

Image credit: Arlington Research

The following two tabs change content below.
Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
Get update via email:
Sign up to receive new articles via email
We hate spam just as much as you

27 thoughts on “Are You Planning to Change Job This Year?”

  1. I’m FIREing from my corporate job next month, so I guess that’s like changing jobs. 🙂 I will be spending some time each week working on our business, so I won’t be jobless. While I’m still WFH due to COVID, the company I’m leaving is a very office-based culture. They are trying to replace me (not easy in the best of times, of course 🙂 ) and not having much luck locally. TPTB just told my manager he could look elsewhere as they would make concessions for the right candidate.

  2. I think so many people are going to change jobs this year. There’s a reason why Wall Street has to bribe, I mean offer $20,000+ in bonus just to retain their employees. 2020 has been a record year in working because the separation between life and work is so different.

  3. The 20% figure may not be high actually.

    I found this article with a survey result of 27% changing jobs in the year from 2017. I’d assume that MOST of the job changes are for higher turnover jobs. Like I think the average turnover at a place like Mcdonalds is just 9 months. And actually nothing says these are *voluntary* job changes and I assume the figures include people who are laid off.

  4. No, I’m not looking to change jobs anytime soon. It’s stressful to be on the hunt for work, interviewing, and starting over to prove yourself again at a new company. Not to say I’m against jumping ship for more money. I’ve done this quite a few times to get where I’m at today. My last jump gave me a sizeable raise. I encourage younger people to do this.

    I think it’ll be a good thing if more people start hopping around. This will force employers to pay more and offer better benefits.

  5. I was telling someone at work recently that this past year has been the best year of my life personally and professionally. Personally, I got to spend a lot more time with my family by working from home. Professionally, I was able to get a lot more done without the distractions of the office. Around the holidays, I was recruited by another company offering a full-time forever remote position that I was able to leverage to get an even better offer from current employer.

    I hope people are able to work remotely a lot more in the future and that more positions are available as full-time remote. It makes for a lot more competition among employers and gives us employees more options to choose from.

    • That’s great! It sounds like you’re doing quite well. Congratulations.
      Do you find that you work more when you’re working from home? It sounds difficult to keep work/life seperate.

  6. I want to change jobs. My company I joined 6 years ago was bought out 4 years ago by a larger conglomerate and the company I work for no longer resembles the fun, intellectually stimulating environment I once worked in.

    Joe – One point I will note for you, you stated your wife may be working over 40 hours a week, because it is easy for employees to lose track of time. I also want to point out that a lot of companies (employers) are forcing people to work over 40 because they think people should be grateful for having a job. With remote work, and people can easily slip online and not leave their work at the office like they could before. Why not get on that bridge call at 7pm. Why not answer that email at midnight, etc.

    • I think many companies are also a bit short on workers. Usually, they lay off workers when a recession hits and redistributes the work. The remaining employees have to pick up the slacks. Now that the economy is recovering, companies are having a hard time finding the right workers.
      Everyone keeps working longer.

  7. I was listening to the Clark Howard Show the other day and he talked about how quickly the economic rebound has been. So many employers are looking for help right now that it’s a great position for employees to be in. He also said that this might be one of the best times in years for new graduates to be entering the workforce.

    Very encouraging and I hope it holds true. Being early retirees, it’s not something we’re worried about but I like that others have more choice today. Right now is a great opportunity for folks to determine if pivoting or switching careers completely could be a smart move in their lives.

    • Indeed. The number and percent of job openings right now is the highest its been for at least 20 years. Might be the highest on record.

      • I heard it’s really tough for older workers, 50+. But that probably isn’t true in all segments of the economy.
        Great news for young folks, though. It’s been tough for them for many years.

        • 51 as a software engineer. Left a FT WFH position for contract remote position at 30% pay increase. RB40, your advice over the years has given me the discipline to take the risk and move on from a position where we were constantly bombarded with support issues opposed to new dev work 40 hrs/week.
          50+ just lets me see the finish line, and if it ends unceremoniously – so be it. My finances are ok. Just ok – but OK is good right?

  8. I looked for a job change to kind of shake things up, but I haven’t been able to find the right fit and a way to incorporate into all my part-time gigs and kid responsibilities now.

    I also like to slow down and enjoy the summer – it’s the best season of the year in Rhode Island. I guess I’ll just keep things the same.

    My wife was already doing some work from home, but going to “all home, all the time” was more of a negative than a positive, I think. It worked well for a little while, but I think it’s too many Zoom calls. Her job was mostly meetings pre-COVID, so now it’s hours and hours of video calls. She can’t control when all these calls are and can’t take time off because there might be a mandatory call on a specific day, so it is kind of a mess. It’s getting better, because many of the people in the office are out giving vaccines and they (finally) realize that’s the priority right now.

    • Good luck with the job search. I love being independent and don’t ever want to be an employee again.
      I’d rather start a new business than work for someone.

      WFH was tough at first because everyone was home. We’re used to it now and it’s good. I try to get my wife to go to the office once in a while so I can have the place to myself. 🙂

  9. I’ve been permanently working from home since April 2016, when my company got acquired and they closed the local office. Everything has been pretty fantastic. I’ve been lucky.

    I’d like to keep this position as long as they’ll let me. I’m one of the few familiar with some important legacy systems, and I’m coming up on fourteen years of service so any involuntary severance packages just keep getting bigger. My boss has been a colleague since I started and has an idea of my FIRE plans; if we’re in a good spot in a few years and I’m interested in severance or a buyout, I’d trust that a phone call with him would be mutually beneficial for myself and the company. That stability and trust are worth more to me than a slightly larger salary someplace new.

    • That’s a great position to be in. Stability is nice especially when you like the people you work with.
      A little more money isn’t worth it if your job is already good.

  10. I ended up getting a new job earlier this year. The new job pays more. We all work from home. I wasn’t really looking for a new job, and this one basically fell in my lap. I felt like it was a good gig with opportunities to advance and get my PE, which were not options at the last job. My main concern is that I live to hours from the office and while they say it’s a permanent wfh position I worry that will change, though it went wfh during the pandemic the boss realized engineers are more productive at home vs being crammed into a small office. Who knew??

  11. Well, as a financially independent person, I haven’t had a J.O.B. in over 5 years… so, no, I’m not looking to change jobs anytime soon.

    But I can understand the appeal of “something new” when you’re tired of working from home with no social interaction. I’m not surprised a lot of people are starting to look for a new job. It’s been a tough year for a lot of folks.

    • I’m not looking to change job anytime soon either. Although, I’m keeping my eyes open for a long-term project. Recently, I’m thinking about cutting way back on blogging after I turn 50. That isn’t far off.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.