Nobody really feels better about leaving during a downturn.
At least that’s the case for a lot of workers in the early part of the current decade, who aren’t as experienced as they once were and aren’t getting paid as much, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nearly 25 million workers left their jobs last year, an uptick of 2.3 million from the previous year, and the fastest pace of people exiting the workforce since 2010. Some people have decided to abandon their jobs voluntarily, like Kevin Fader, who quit a position at the opioid prevention company Narcan this year. Others are looking for jobs themselves, which is what Diby Marlouj, who left her position at the financial investment firm Virtu Financial this month, is doing.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the women and men who gave us the following answers:
Kevin Fader, 40, quit his job at Narcan, a nonprofit in New York, because it “wasn’t what I wanted to do.” The company helped drug users and their families learn how to respond to overdoses. “I started on the fundraising side,” he said. “I didn’t particularly like that side of it.” It was both unusual and rewarding at Narcan — which is rare enough to get you a mention from former President Barack Obama — but for Fader, leaving was both practical and philosophical. “I wanted to do something that was more basic and more basic thrift,” he said. “I think the economy is down, and I do feel more a sense of crisis.” When he’s pursuing a more tangible goal, he said, he doesn’t want to worry about focusing on companies that aren’t doing the right thing. Fader spent months weighing his options — he said he had considered joining his wife’s employer, an organization that helps refugees integrate into the community — but he didn’t feel like he could work out anything more than a temporary contract with the nonprofit. “I don’t want to do a 10-month contract,” he said. “I want to be there for a while.”
Diby Marlouj, 37, left her job at Virtu Financial to go after a gig elsewhere as an independent investor. Marlouj, who had worked at the firm since 2008, cited several reasons for leaving: As an individual trader, she was earning the highest compensation among individuals. She said her margin requirement jumped to an all-time high. And she didn’t feel like she had the time to spend on her son. “I just kind of had a window of time where I would have some flexibility in my schedule, and I wanted to do other things,” she said. “The first reason I did it was I wanted to have more time for him.”
Jill Soles, 61, quit her job last year as a senior adviser at a nonprofit in Rhode Island after a 27-year career in education. To get enough sleep, Soles left the house at 5 a.m. and slept at a friend’s house all day while she did some of her work. Her other day off was late in the afternoon when she was baking cookies. “There’s just no way in hell that I could give my full commitment at the end of the day to what I need to do to be effective for my client,” she said. Soles, who made as much as $135,000 annually, said she received the company’s hourly rate for her work and was concerned that “if it went down, the client would drop me too.” In the end, she was frustrated by the direction the nonprofit was going. “In the 21st century, how can we be using Google and Amazon in a setting where we’re not paying them for things and we’re paying them to give us things and watch it cost us more in the long run?” she said.