The Big Switch, I Once Worked for You

Big Switch, 2020-21 Americans quit their jobs

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In the aftermath of a horrendous two years, Americans — and brawny Californians — switched big 

by Gwenn Jones, CPT

March 28, 2022

Empowerment and unemployment are two words not friends in the same sentence. But, feel the love with these rocket-soaring stories stemmed from the muck of the pandemic.

At the moment many workers are thankful for a job. While others entered a new world of leap in the dark risk. Entrepreneurship.

First, let’s move away from this…

Mid-pandemic, both professionals and newsy lookie-loos phoned into big city radio programs voicing strong opinions on unemployment circumstances. Numerous characterizations of these call-ins concluded lazy Americans, primarily Californians, displayed only greed in pursuit of unemployment compensation to sit home and do nothing. Despicable and true for a few, however, not news and not the focus of this perspective.

Instead, let’s swing around to the positive outcomes of those brave ones who persevered, evolved, and began anew!  Outcomes that are truly teachable and significant. You might very well have one on your block.

Shaken up by the reality of work on Thursday and bye-bye on Friday, numerous American workers rose to full tilt. As time passed quickly with a future uncertain, they realized a chance for freedom and flexibility during the pandemic’s unemployment stretch—time to move a mountain.

Crazy creativity commenced. Wheels turned hard and fast for the newly unemployed. Juices flowed between friends and families—determined and supportive like painless tributaries to a river.


First, for survival. For many California-Americans living month-to-month amid atrocious inflation, the potential alternative was the loss of their home. Being the primary or sole provider for a family stirred some fiery pressure.

Americans filed paperwork to start 4.3 million businesses last year, according to data from the Census Bureau, a 24 percent increase from the year before and by far the most in the decade and a half that the government has kept track. Applications are on a pace to be even higher this year. 

More from NYTimes.

How many new businesses started in 2021?

The surprising explosion of new business began in the summer of 2020 which rated the highest on record with 4.4 million applications. However, 2021 surpassed 2020 — again with record numbers of 5.4 million.

The onset of the pandemic in 2020 has driven a surge in new business creation, so the number of new businesses is trending up. According to data from the US Census Bureau, 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021, which is the highest of any year on record and a 53% increase from 2019. 

Women workers were among the top innovators of a massive, now life-changing status. 

There were no toes in the water here. It was a full-blown dive. These brave ones were fully aware this crapshoot could be a drown or a swim.

The bright light on the big jump

Many are stunned and amazed at what working stiffs could accomplish when suddenly forced with no job and no food on the table. But the upheaval created an opportunity for choice, big time.

The opportunity was gaping to elevate their passions or hobbies into public production. Capabilities of everything and everyone in arm’s reach were deployed. Personal savings, family backing, investors, unemployment compensation, plus various grants provided financial aid. Available funding was lovingly served up like morning coffee (for the interim). The excitement and danger of too much time and extra money can be intoxicating. Enter a smart noggin, and away we go.

Rather than warm the couch, these fireball rookies took off with their passion products, refined them, pulled all-nighters, and gushed like beasts on social media. And most certainly, blew off next week’s job search, and the next, and the next.

From March 2020 through 2021, a firestorm of confidence, empowerment, and new respect forged. The outcome was an unnatural and fierce transformation. For the big jumpers, their chance of less struggles landed like fighter jets on an aircraft carrier—acute and shrewd.

Some envisioned independence as a “maybe someday” dream. Others privately planned for the future. Well, ready or not, the stats are unmistakable…


Big switch, big stats

Note that 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021. One-third of those are related to employee-based businesses. A whopping 2/3 were “switchers” turned entrepreneurs

Here are the 2020-2022 New California business formations (PDF)


Celebration amid a storm

Inspirational to say the least, enjoy some Americans AND CALIFORNIANS who dove big and haven’t let up on the pedal. These champions, and others alike, will work hard and build their futures their way.

Here are a small few to learn from who very well might:

What now, Mom?

Now certain ventures have drawn clients, media success stories, and livable income. Did I mention clients? The fires are lit. Future millionaires? Maybe not, but livable earnings in this colossal switch are already on the horizon.

These new bosses have morphed into the head management they once worked for. Many now riding a rocket they never dreamed possible. As we say in yoga, stay focused and enjoy the journey. America has noticed.

I await the sequel. 

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Gwenn Jones, wellness content writer, certified personal trainer (California)
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Gwenn Jones, CPT — Content writer in Wellness-Lifestyle-Fitness, Gwenn is a 25-year ACE-certified personal fitness trainer, yoga studio owner, instructor, and fitness consultant. Grateful to be a native Californian where happily home-based.

This writer’s inspiration: thank you “60 Minutes”:

Bill Whitaker (60 Minutes Journalist), Karin Kimbrough (Chief Economist LinkedIn), “The Big Quit, Why are Americans choosing to quit their jobs in record numbers?” Aired January 9, 2022,

Soumya Karlamangla, “Texas? Idaho? Where Californians Are Moving.”, Sept. 2, 2021,

Howard Schneider, “Soaring U.S. business starts in pandemic show new normal evolving.”, October 28, 2021,

Greg Iacurci,, “4.3 million people quit their jobs in January as the Great Resignation shows no sign of slowing down.”,  March 9, 2022,

Paul Davidson, “Great Resignation: The number of people quitting jobs hit an all-time high in November as openings stayed near record.” January, 4, 2022,,

Brett Grossfeld, “Entrepreneurs Started Businesses in Record Numbers During the Pandemic.”, June 29, 2021, 

Chris Morris, “The Small Business Economy is Set to Soar in 2022.”, December 20, 2021,

Christopher Rugaber, “Pandemic Creates Openings for Would-Be Entrepreneurs.” Associated Press /, February 2, 2022,

Andrea Hsu, “New businesses soared to record highs in 2021. Here’s a taste of one of them. January 12, 2022,,

Commerce Institute, “How Many New Businesses are Started Each Year?”,

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