Why Are So Many Women Quitting Their Jobs to Work for Themselves or Travel?

Why Are So Many Women Quitting Their Jobs to Work for Themselves or Travel?
"If you Google the phrase, “women quitting their job to travel or work for themselves,” there are upwards of 605,000,000 search results."

Let that sink in for a minute.

There are over 600 million search results online with guidance on quitting your job to travel or pursue other passions.

And in our opinion, people are not always searching for advice on quitting their job–they’re seeking permission to forge their own path. They’re looking for stories and validation from others who have found fulfillment and happiness beyond the walls of a corporate cubicle.

Because after going through a global pandemic, a paycheck isn’t enough incentive for women to stay in an unfulfilling career. And in making moves toward their own version of a meaningful life, they have found their own courage, strength, and bravery along the way. 

Read on to learn why women are quitting their jobs in record numbers, hear from one woman who left a successful career in finance to do things HER way, and see tips for how you can do the same.

Why are women quitting their jobs?

Whether your job is soul sucking and you’ve had enough, or you have a career that you love but are feeling stuck, feelings of hopelessness and despair come up when you don’t know where to go next. Because of that, you may be considering what life would look like if you left your job.

Before taking drastic action, it’s important to first understand why you feel compelled to quit your job. Here are a few of the most common reasons why women are leaving their jobs behind.

Increased childcare duties: 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, studies show that working-age women provided approximately 173 additional unpaid hours of childcare. That’s three times the amount of additional unpaid hours of child care the average working-age man took on.

The economic recession brought on by the pandemic has been nicknamed the “she-cession” due to the disproportionate impact it has had on women, both in jobs lost and in women who have left their job because of child care duties.

Not surprisingly, women are struggling to juggle increased child care with their professional aspirations. This has prompted many to quit their jobs, often without a back up plan.

Feeling disrespected: 

Women who work in male-dominated corporate environments face challenges such as lower pay, long hours, and being singled out due to their gender. It’s tough to cope with these roadblocks in the best of times. Because women are dealing with additional stressors amidst the pandemic, those factors have reached a boiling point. Women from entry to senior levels have said, “enough!” and left their corporate roles in pursuit of greener pastures.

Better opportunities elsewhere: At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies were experiencing layoffs and hiring freezes. But now, hiring is on the upturn and companies are seeking the best and brightest talent to fill those empty seats. Many women have grown discontent with their current roles and know that if they left, they could make far more money in a comparable role or by starting their own business in their field of expertise.

Burn out: 

Women are much more likely than men to take action to fight burnout at work by managing workloads of their teams, supporting diversity equity and inclusion efforts, and checking in on how employees are doing. However, companies are not recognizing or incentivizing this important work, which means they risk losing the leaders they rely on most.

Kristin’s Story

If you’re reading this article while nodding your head and feeling validated, that’s good! You are not alone and many women have gone through the feelings you are experiencing right now–restlessness, uncertainty, and doubt. There’s power in numbers, and knowing that others have quit their jobs in pursuit of something greater helps empower others to do the same.

Meet Kristin Addis, a former finance professional turned six-figure business owner and CEO of a popular women’s travel blog, Be My Travel Muse.

Kristin was kind enough to share her inspiring story with us.

“I worked in finance for four years and I quit because it was hard to deal with so little time off. I also didn’t feel fulfilled by what I was doing and started to wonder how money makes a person happy,” she said. “It just didn’t live up to my expectations of joining the workforce and I felt in a way like I’ve been lied to all through school that this is what I should want.”

Kristin understands the internal turmoil that sometimes comes with taking a chance to quit your job and pursue your passion.

“It takes bravery to trust yourself and to take a leap of faith. For a lot of us, it’s hard to imagine working for ourselves and being completely self-reliant and self-sufficient,” she said. “There’s no one to provide a steady paycheck–you have to go out there and get it yourself. It was hard for the first couple of years while I was building up my brand. I barely made it past the 11th hour,
but I’m so glad that I stuck it out!”

How you can do the same

Are you reading through Kristin’s story thinking, “Wow! How awesome is that?! I wish I had courage to pursue my dream life and career.” YES, YOU CAN! Going after the life you’ve always wanted doesn’t happen overnight, but you can work toward those goals by taking a few initial steps.

Make a Plan:

There’s a saying by author Joel Barker that goes, “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision is merely passing time. But vision with action can change the world.” When it comes to leaving your job in pursuit of travel or working for yourself, vision and action are key! That’s why you should make a plan to get there.

Try setting a timer for 20 minutes, getting out a pen and paper, and writing down all of your goals and dreams, both personal or professional. When the timer goes off, narrow that list down to the top 5 ideas that really pull at your heartstrings. Then think through 3 steps you can take every day to get yourself closer to accomplishing those goals, such as taking a class or joining a
mentoring group. That’s your plan! Put those written-down goals somewhere you’ll see them every day, read them out loud, and go after it!

Save up: 

When Kristin was thinking about leaving her job to travel, having money saved up was a key step. “I couldn’t have done it if I didn’t have some savings to fall back on. I left with about $20,000 worth of savings and went to countries where my money would stretch further in Southeast Asia,” she said, “I only stayed in shared dorm rooms for the first two years and did everything on a shoestring to fund my new business venture.

Basically I did whatever it took to make it happen and my advice to anyone preparing to do the same is to know that you will put in a lot of hours, you will work very hard, but it will be worth it.”

Build a support network: 

When no one you know is taking the path of entrepreneurship or solo travel, it can be isolating and lonely. That’s why it’s important to “find your tribe” of like-minded women who have similar goals. If you don’t know anyone personally, a great place to start is by listening to podcasts. A few great ones to start with are Goal Digger, She Did It Her Way, and Professional Troublemaker.

And if you’re craving an in person connection, there are online communities of female-identifying entrepreneurs that are supportive and uplifting of each other, and especially toward newcomers! Retreats like Camp Climb can also help you connect with women who are pursuing their passions, too.

At the end of the day, everyone’s path in life looks different, and no two journeys are the same. 

While it is extremely brave to quit your job in pursuit of your own business or travel, being brave doesn’t always amount to monumental acts of courage. Sometimes while making the decision to make a major change, bravery can come in the forms of small acts, such as visiting a new neighborhood or starting a side hustle you’re passionate about.

We know that whatever path you choose, you’ll be awesome at it!

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