Athens, Georgia – In April of 2021, the Labor Department reported that 4 million people in the US quit their jobs, and jobs site Monster.com projects that a full 95% of people are currently considering job changes. Called “The Great Resignation” by labor industry professionals, this trend represents a fundamental shift in the way people approach work in a post-COVID-19 world.
Many who left their jobs (or will be leaving soon) have no intention of returning to another corporate job. Rather, many of them plan on starting businesses of their own.
“This is a trend we’re seeing in many of the students who come through our professional certificate program, the Mastery Program,” says Josh Lyon, the Director of Marketing for the Milan Art Institute. “The people who go through our program do so with the intention of becoming professional artists and building their own art businesses. They don’t intend to work for someone else when they graduate from the program.”
Lyon does point out that not everyone who goes through the Mastery Program was planning on leaving their jobs due to the pandemic.
“Certainly many people in our program wanted to become professional artists before the pandemic hit,” he admits.
“However, the feedback that we’re getting from at least some of our students is that the pandemic exacerbated the feelings of discontent that they were already feeling with their job situations. I believe that’s partly why we’ve seen an uptick in registrations for our programs over the past year or so.”
A March 2021 report by Microsoft called the Work Trend Index clarified what discontent means for many workers. Of the 31,000 people Microsoft surveyed, 54% of them reported being overworked, while almost 40% claim to be exhausted. Because of the stay-at-home restrictions of COVID, people have had over a year to think about their careers. Having their own business allows them to create their own vision of what work means for them.
“I’ve always created other people’s vision. As a creative director, you make the client happy,” says Mastery Program graduate, Alannah Anderson. To graduate from the program and to become a professional artist, she had to ask herself, “What is my artistic voice?”
She didn’t know at first. After a while, the restrictions of corporate life took their toll on Anderson, forcing her to learn what her ideal work vision was. Ultimately, that led her to the life she’s living today. She found her voice, which was instrumental in finding her way back to the world of work, but on her terms.
Lyon added: “Being an artist and finding the freedom of running their own businesses has actually saved many of these students’ sanity and I don’t think they would ever go back to a regular job again.” he says.
About Milan Art Institute
The Milan Art Institute is an art school near Athens, Georgia. The institute’s flagship program, The Mastery Program, trains artists to turn their art passion into an art career.