For those people who don’t want to work anymore, here’s what you need to do next.
“I don’t want to work anymore!”
Have you ever found yourself thinking that? Have you ever shouted it out?
If you have, you’re far from alone.
As the covid-19 pandemic began to wind down, we started hearing about the “Great Resignation” more and more. This referred to the phenomenon of people who had gotten used to remote work during the pandemic not wanting to make the transition back to the office, or to work at all.
Many of them quit their jobs to pursue a career change that would provide more job satisfaction. Others decided to leave the workforce entirely and place personal life ahead of unfulfilling careers.
The trend was especially prevalent among Millennials and Gen Z workers. For long, the former had felt frustrated and held back by corporate culture, and many in the latter had never really known traditional office culture to begin with, having gone from high school or college straight to the new world of the pandemic workforce.
Of course, wanting to start a new career path and seeking better job opportunities were hardly new sentiments, but these trends accelerated during the pandemic as workers who felt undervalued, overworked, or both decided they wanted something different.
Is It Normal to Not Want to Work?
In America, many people stigmatize those who don’t work or don’t like to. For many Americans, work is integral to their identity and their self-worth. They assume those who don’t share those characteristics have a poor work ethic.
The reality is that a lot of people see work primarily as a necessary evil that’s required to pay the bills. To them, work isn’t exciting, meaningful, or fulfilling; it’s just work. It’s perfectly normal to feel that way, and there are probably many more of them than you realize; they just don’t make it as known because of those stigmas.
So if you’ve thought, “I don’t want to work anymore,” there are many others thinking the exact same thing, and there’s nothing abnormal about it.
Reasons You Might Not Want to Work Anymore
There are many reasons people decide they want to leave the workplace for either the short term or the long term. Usually, several are in play at once, but just any one of them, if it gets bad enough, can drive you to say “I don’t want to work anymore.”
Lack of Appreciation
One of the most common complaints workers air is not feeling appreciated. This can manifest itself in a number of ways. One is working for someone who is a micromanager or a constant critic who never offers praise for a job well done. Another example is being passed over for promotions or bonuses. And then there’s feeling you’re not being paid enough for what you do.
Burnout is another top reason cited as wanting to leave a job. This can result from long commutes, excessive workloads, the daily office grind, and other factors. People feeling burned out have a tendency to be less productive and exhibit lower morale, and this can spill over to other employees.
People unhappy at work can experience anxiety or depression. Sometimes seeing a counselor or therapist helps, but other times the best thing is to take a break from the current job to recharge and tend to self-care.
Stress From Home Life
Sometimes it’s not the job but outside factors such as home life. Working parents are especially susceptible to this as they try to balance work and life. There can be so many things going on: an ailing family member who needs more care, obligations to kids, a spouse going through a rough patch, a hectic schedule, too much to do, and more. When this is the case, many find that the better decision is to focus on their family and home life first.
Work Intrudes on Personal Life
A lot of jobs come with an unstated expectation if not an outright requirement that work outside the office and normal hours is necessary. When extended work occurs because you weren’t being efficient about completing tasks, that’s one thing, but when work is intruding on your home and personal life for other reasons, it’s another.
Everyone is different on this, but many people prefer clear, solid boundaries between work and personal life. When work crosses them and intrudes and hobbies, free time, relaxation, and other pursuits, that can contribute to burnout.
Being bored at work due to not being challenged or just having an uninteresting role is quite common. Often, this is a motivation to seek a new job, but if better opportunities aren’t available, then it might be time to assess whether not working at all is feasible.
If you labor away at a job you hate or don’t see much of a future in it, you might have chosen the wrong career. Rather than keep being miserable so you can pay the rent, maybe it’s time to look into a career switch by changing jobs or going back to school to learn new skills.
Toxic Work Environment
At least once in their lives, almost everyone finds themselves working for a toxic boss or in a toxic workplace. Often, the two go together. It could be a boss who bullies people or who rewards favored employees and lets them get away with inferior work or getting less done. There could be a culture of racial discrimination or sexual harassment. There could be cliques that exclude newcomers and anyone perceived as “different.”
Whatever the cause of the toxic work environment, nobody likes it except maybe those who are creating it. It stifles morale, reduces productivity, allows resentment to grow, promotes dysfunction, and ultimately leads to increased turnover with the attendant expenses, hassles, and disruptions.
What Do I Do if I Don’t Want to Work Anymore?
So if you’re saying, “I don’t want to work anymore,” and you really mean it, you have some options.
One is to stick it out, which doesn’t seem like a good one if you’re at the point of wanting out. Another is to look for a new job. Or you can resign and just take some time off. Finally, you might decide it’s time to be done with work for good.
Whatever you do, unless you already have a new position lined up, there are a number of things to consider.
Plan an End
Unless things are really bad, just quitting is usually not a good idea. Decide when and how you want to resign, and make plans to prepare for that, whether it’s looking around for another job, saving money, or something else. Leaving on good terms makes it more likely that you can rely on your former workplace for a referral if you need one in the future.
When it’s time to leave your source of full-time income, unless you have enough savings and assets to retire comfortably, you need to have an income stream because you still have expenses and other financial obligations to tend to. If you have a spouse or partner who earns a good income, it may not be such a worry, but you should plan for this anyway.
Many people have a part-time job or other side hustle that generates extra money for bills, spending, vacations, etc. You can keep doing these things in order to help meet financial obligations or just to help you keep busy.
You can also look into passive income, which is income acquired with minimal effort. Investments are great examples of passive income. Rental properties are another, and if you don’t have a real estate holding like a vacation home, you can still earn rental income by renting out a room at home to either long-term residents or short-timers in Airbnb-style.
Working less or not at all is going to require you to save money. With any luck, you were already able to do that as you prepared for the work-free phase of your life, but you should always be looking for ways to save money that you don’t have to spend.
Cutting expenses is a great way to save money and get more out of your dollars. Buy generic brands instead of name brands when making grocery and clothing purchases. Switch to less expensive plans for your phone, cable, and internet. Dine out less often. Consolidate trips so you don’t spend as much on gas. Walk or bike instead of driving when it’s safe and feasible to do so. Those are just some of the many ways of thrifty living that can save you money.
Downsize Your Life
Here’s another way to get more from your dollars. Do you need that big SUV, or will a smaller, less expensive car get things done? When on vacation, camp out or stay in small mom-and-pop hotels instead of expensive resorts. If you have kids and they’re grown, maybe it makes sense to move to a smaller house or a condo. Get rid of things you don’t use or enjoy, especially if they’re costing you money. Simplify your habits and routines.
You’re not the only one who’s thinking, “I don’t want to work anymore.” A lot of things can get you to that point, and it’s perfectly normal to find yourself there. What matters is how you respond to it. With good planning, leaving the workforce doesn’t have to mean financial ruin or living on bread and water. And you just might end up being healthier and happier for it.