Career Change

September 17, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 32
Will COVID-19's impact on work-life balance endure?
By Meehika Barua


With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to upend workers' lives, more people than ever are looking to change careers. Career coaches and workers say one important factor is job loss: having side gigs and earning additional income are critical during a time of economic upheaval arising from pandemic-caused disruptions. But the growth of remote work and the shuttering of offices during the pandemic also have led Americans to reassess their work-life balance and to seek more meaningful employment. The result, according to economists, is the “Great Resignation,” in which large numbers of people are quitting their jobs in 2021. Career coaches say they expect the trend to continue because of the ongoing pandemic and other factors, such as automation and changing technology, both of which are altering many occupations, from insurance claims adjusters to Border Patrol agents. They note that the career change trend includes blue-collar workers and, notably, women, who often seek more flexible schedules as they juggle career and family.

Photo of nearly deserted Archives Metrorail train platform in Washington, DC, on March 25, 2020. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
A train platform in Washington, D.C.'s Metro system is all but deserted on March 25, 2020, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to work from home. Virtual commuting and the pandemic have led many Americans to re-evaluate or change their careers. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jobs and Skills
Feb. 04, 2022  The New Labor Market
Sep. 17, 2021  Career Change
Aug. 28, 2020  The Nature of Work
Sep. 21, 2018  Labor Shortage Debate
Mar. 30, 2018  U.S. Trade Policy
Oct. 04, 2013  Worker Safety
Mar. 02, 2012  Attracting Jobs
Jul. 22, 2011  Reviving Manufacturing
Jun. 04, 2010  Jobs Outlook
Feb. 20, 2004  Exporting Jobs
Jan. 11, 2002  Future Job Market
Apr. 24, 1998  High-Tech Labor Shortage
Oct. 24, 1997  Contingent Work Force
Feb. 28, 1992  Jobs in the '90s
Jun. 27, 1986  America's Service Economy
Jul. 22, 1983  Technology and Employment
Dec. 10, 1969  Jobs for the Future
Jun. 21, 1967  World Competition for Skilled Labor
Sep. 03, 1965  Shortage of Skills
Oct. 31, 1962  Retraining for New Jobs
Nov. 28, 1956  Shortage of Critical Skills
Cost of Education and School Funding
Data and Statistics
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Employee Benefits
General Employment and Labor
General Social Trends
Infectious Diseases
Labor Standards and Practices
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
Retail Trade
Small Business
Undergraduate and Graduate Education
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Unions and Labor-Management Relations
Vocational and Adult Education
Work and the Family