People use the pandemic to look at career choices

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NEW YORK – It’s being called ‘The Great Resignation’ as millions of Americans are leaving their jobs.

The Department of Labor reported a record 4.5 million Americans resigned from their positions in November and Eric K. Thomas is one of them.

“The pandemic really opened my eyes,” Thomas said.

He used to be a digital and social media manager at a law firm in New York City, but when it came time to return to the office, he felt it was too soon.

“We’re in New York City,” Thomas said. “We’re exposed to so many different people while being on those trains. It’s a tough thing and I had to think about my safety. The pandemic made us realize that we can be efficient. We can be effective in working from home and still get things done.”

In November, he finally decided to take the plunge by turning his side hustle into his full-time job and putting all his energy into The Quintessential Gentleman.

“I created this media platform in 2016 and I just wanted to change the narrative of Black men,” Thomas said. “I wanted to show us in a positive light. I did not really see any platforms that are really speaking directly to Black and Brown men.”

The print-to-order magazine and website shares the experiences of Black men in culture, style, community, entertainment, and more.

Elena Armijo, a professional certified coach, says Thomas’s resignation story resonates with millions of others across the country who are leaving their jobs for more fulfilling work.

“I think they’re looking for employers that will actually listen and have empathy and compassion and be in a conversation with them about what they need,” Armijo said.

Armijo said says burn out is real and an immediate thing you can do to prevent it is slow down.

“If you see the end of that tunnel coming towards you and you know that you’re about to crash and burn, that is the moment that you have to cancel something immediately,” Armijo added.

She suggests taking the day off if you can, going for a walk, or canceling a meeting. Then when you have the space, reassess what you need. Is it time, energy, more money?

From there, she recommends reevaluating long term goals. Where do you want to be in one year, three years, or five years? No matter how long it takes, Thomas says it’ll be worth it.

“If you have a passion, if you have a job, something that makes you happy— life is short, you definitely have to do it,” Thomas added. “Dive deep in it and bet on yourself. That’s what I did.”

‘The Great Resignation’ is also being called ‘The Great Reinvention’ as many are boldly reinventing themselves in their new careers.

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