In addition to the job hopping you would expect during the boom times, the pandemic has created many more remote jobs and increased the number of companies willing to hire outside of large coastal cities. This has given workers in distance-friendly industries like technology and finance more leverage to ask about what they want.

“The employees will have unprecedented negotiation skills for the next 18 to 48 months,” said Johnathan Nightingale, author and co-founder of Raw Signal Group, a management training company. “When as an individual I am dissatisfied with the current state of my employment, I have so many more options than before.”

Individual YOLO decisions can be traced back to many factors: cabin fever, low interest rates, the emergence of new systems that get rich quick, like NFTs and meme stocks. But many seem associated with deeper generational disillusionment and a feeling that the economy is changing in ways that reward the mad and punish the cautious.

Some people in their late 20s and early 30s – mostly those who attended good schools, worked in highly regarded industries, and were never classified as “essential workers” – told me that the pandemic had destroyed their trust in the traditional career path. They had watched their independent counterparts get rich by joining startups or playing on cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, her bosses drowned her doing day-to-day work or tried to automate her work, and generally failed to support her during one of the most difficult years of her life.

“The past year has shown how companies truly value their workforce,” said Latesha Byrd, career coach in Charlotte, NC. “It has become difficult to keep working for companies that are doing business as usual without considering how.” Our life changed overnight. “

Ms. Byrd, who mainly coaches black women in areas such as tech, finance and media, said many minority employees not only suffer from pandemic-related burnout, but also feel disaffected with their employers’ poor commitment to racial justice.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are extremely important now,” she said. “The employees want to know if this company will support me.”