These millennials are ditching their jobs to pursue new careers

They launched careers in the years following the 2007-09 recession and only recently learned about their earning potential. Now some young professionals are quitting their jobs without a plan B.

With several years in the workforce and some savings in the bank, they take a breather to learn new skills, network and develop their creative potential before embarking on another career path. These workers, now in their late twenties and early thirties, are both chastised by pandemic-era burnout and optimistic about a recovering job market. While many of their peers jump immediately into higher-paying or better-fitting jobs, they tend to take an early career break instead.

Tessa Raden, 33, was so burned out by the remote work that she quit her dream job as a program director at the Dramatists Guild Foundation in July with no set backup plan. She says she was crazy for a few weeks and then took a bartender job, about five evening shifts a week, at Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen in her neighborhood in Washington, DC.

“I was just so tired of pushing and I had completely lost my passion,” says Ms. Raden, who has a master’s degree in art management. On paper, her job overseeing programming and supporting writers was everything she had worked toward in her adult life. But the pandemic put an end to live performances, a part of her job she loved, and she found it difficult to focus and stay motivated as she traded the office for sitting at her computer at home.

“I love that I don’t have to take my work home with me,” she says of her new lifestyle. “And I love that most of my work now is just being friendly, not staring at a computer screen.”