Certain portals in history change how we think, live, and act. A world war, for instance, changes everyone who lived through it. COVID may be our era’s catalytic event. Looking back over the last two years, it is clear that many of us will never be the same. The pandemic has altered nearly every aspect of life, and the workforce is no exception. Let’s examine how the Great Resignation of 2021 has pushed many people to leave their positions, and why massage careers are attracting many to shift gears. 

What is the Great Resignation?
In 2021, millions of people left their jobs, even though the economic outlook was not rosy. Although the Omicron variant loomed, and higher wages through job-hopping were not guaranteed, many Americans decided to quit. As The Guardian explains, the labor department calls these “quits,” and tracks them month-to-month. Last year earned the moniker The Great Resignation because it broke records for quits. In September, October, and November, more than 4 million people quit each month.

What’s driving this collective abdication? As with many things economical, there is no simple answer, but data suggests several factors. In historically low-paying jobs, some wage increase occurred, allowing workers to quit for higher wages elsewhere. The service industry falls into this category. In other underpaid industries, such as retail, workers saw that they could switch careers for more pay and better benefits. Parenthood also influenced workers’ decisions, with “1.4 million fewer mothers actively engaged with the labor force” in September and October of 2021. Child care uncertainty required parents to stay home with children more frequently.

Overall, The Guardian article finds, there are “many reasons to suspect that many quit in search of better work opportunities, self employment, or, simply, better pay.” This conclusion is certainly reflected in the inquiries to our massage school admissions office.

COVID has Changed Priorities, Pulling many toward Massage Careers

People from all over the country call our Portland, Oregon massage school, asking how to become a massage therapist. We’ve recently fielded calls from as far away as Florida, Minnesota, Canada, and Washington DC. People are talking to our admissions officers about why they’re massage-certification-curious. Here are the most common sentiments we hear on those calls.

Top 7 Reasons People are Kickstarting Massage Careers Post-COVID

Common sentiments from people who have contacted the EWC admission department with interest in becoming an LMT include:

  1. “Now my job is obsolete.”
  2. “What I do is unfulfilling and now I want to do something meaningful.”
  3. “Why the heck not pivot when I can’t keep doing what I was doing before?”
  4. “When Plan A doesn’t work, this is a career that will give me usable skills.”
  5. “I’ve just been sitting at home, why not follow through on my dreams?”
  6. “I’ve always worked with people, and now I’m burnt out. I want a job where people are happy to see me and even happier after their time with me.” We hear this from those who are burnt out from helping professions (such as social work).
  7. “I’m looking for a job that feeds my soul, and I’m not willing to wait anymore.”  

Beyond these personal reasons, this is a practical time to start massage careers because demand is high. Our alumni network reports that current practitioners are extremely busy, with many booked out for months. Following quarantines, people are eager to receive touch. (As a side note, check out our reflections on how Coronavirus quarantines spurred touch deprivation.) Many massage companies are actively hiring, so there is a strong need for massage therapists, particularly knowledgeable and experienced LMTs from top-notch massage schools. 

The bottom line is that many people find this is the perfect time to research massage programs. In Portland, East West College floats to the top. We’re accredited by COMTA, which means that we meet their strict administrative and curriculum standards, and that we’re able to offer federal financial aid to those who qualify. If you find yourself echoed in the statements above, we encourage you to call us at 503-233-6500, or navigate to our massage school admissions website.great resignation