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Welcome to the YOLO Economy

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Welcome to the YOLO Economy

Burned out and flush with savings, some workers are quitting stable jobs in search of postpandemic adventure.

The New York Times,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The pandemic changed the world of work – and many employees are refusing to go back to the status quo. But what can employers do?

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A year spent in lockdown has forced many employees to reevaluate their priorities and demand a new work-life balance – with some 40% thinking about leaving their jobs in 2021. While many will look for new employment, others are opting out of a traditional career path altogether. As New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose explains, even previously risk-averse employees – in particular millennials – are walking away from stable incomes and saying, “YOLO”: you only live once. Employers seeking to retain their talent – as well as anyone hoping to better understand the post-pandemic labor market – will benefit from Roose’s insights.


After spending a year hunkered down, surveys suggest some 40% of employees are thinking about leaving their jobs. 

A movement is taking shape in the spring of 2021: Employees are choosing to leave stable, often well-compensated jobs for the sake of adventure, personal fulfillment and improved work-life balance. A recent survey by Microsoft discovered that more than 40% of workers worldwide are thinking about quitting their jobs this year. Blind, an anonymous social network frequented by tech employees, disclosed that 49% of its users planned to job-hop in 2021. 

As the pandemic wanes, bored, overworked and disillusioned office workers – millennials in particular – are embracing risk and taking up the YOLO mantle: “you only live once.” A partner at an Orlando law firm...

About the Author

Kevin Roose is a technology columnist for The New York Times and author of Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation.

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