The Great Resignation‘ has seen people leaving unfulfilling jobs and pivoting into less traditional careers. The pandemic shifted our priorities, and we realized we don’t have to live like this, The New York Times reported. For many, this quest for more purpose, meaning and connection has led them to the sea. 

Coming Home to the Ocean

Hana Jung understands this well. Once a high-achieving marketing director in New York, she left her job after stress and burnout hospitalized her. Soon after, she followed her gut to the ocean and became a yachtie, entrepreneur and surfer.

“I was drawn to the ocean because of a deep yearning to return to myself on a soul level,” she says. “Something about being out on the water dissolves the external stories/labels and it’s just you, mother nature, and your soul drifting along together. It’s the feeling of coming home.”

A woman rides the crest of a wave in El Salvador on her surfboard.
Hana Jung loves to surf. Her pivot away from a corporate job allows her to live in tune with nature, be more present, learn to let go and reconnect to who she is, not simply what she does for a living. Katty Conteras (@katy_watershots)

Now, Jung chases waves around the world and coaches others on how to find more clarity, joy and purpose in their own lives and work. The top fears are “surprisingly common,” she shares: 

  • I don’t have enough time/money/skills to do the thing I want. 
  • What if I choose the wrong path and regret my decision? 
  • What if I fail and have to start all over again?

“At the root of all these fears is the belief that every decision in life has to be forever and has to be ‘perfect’ right out of the gate,” Jung says. “It’s as ridiculous as wanting to learn how to surf but letting the fear of not getting a perfect barrel in the 1st session stop you from ever getting in the water.”

Be Scared And Do It Anyways

I certainly had these same fears when a scuba diving trip to the Galapagos inspired me to quit my life as a lawyer and start anew. There was no shortage of “but what if’s” running through my mind. Thankfully, I decided to do it anyway and took a giant stride into my one wild and daring life. Here we are, seven years and 300 something dives later. Additionally, I’ve moved to the Florida Keys and have rebuilt my life around fighting for the ocean. Most importantly, I’m happier, healthier and more aligned with myself than ever before. I have the ocean and diving to thank for much of that

Diver holding a sign that says "We
Ocean storyteller Tiffany Duong holds up a sign about why she loves the ocean. Tiffany Duong


While the journey has been worth it, it hasn’t been without challenges. To address these, we collected advice for people thinking of jumping into ocean careers from PADI Dive Professionals and PADI AmbassaDivers who have done it in the past.

Trusting Your Gut

Julie Ferrara was “set for life” as a PADI Divemaster with her dream job on the education team at the aquarium in Denver. Then, a dive vacation to Cozumel “knocked [her] fins off.”

“I knew something in me had shifted when I got back home to my dream life and still deeply missed and longed for being close to the (real) ocean, seeing those blues, and diving those waters of Cozumel. A few months later I took a leap of faith,” she says. She left her job and her apartment, sold her car for money, crashed with family to save up, learned Spanish and moved to Cozumel “for good.” Subsequently, her ocean adventures continued as a dive instructor, competitive freediver, freediving instructor and now PADI Mermaid Instructor

A woman in a blue and green mermaid tail lays across the side of a boat.
PADI Mermaid Life in Cozumel, Mexico in a Cape Cali Mermaid Tail. Julie Ferrara

For those considering an oceanic shift, she says, “Go For It. Just Dive In.”

“Being more in-touch with nature and witnessing the synchronicities and interconnectedness of ecosystems will only nurture the appreciation for those ‘’things’ that really matter,” she adds. 


Doing What Makes You Happy

A diver holds up the hand signal for a rad dive while underwater.
Dylan Perring left his job as a graphic designer to live a more adventurous, nature-based life. Dylan Perring

Despite wanting an adventurous lifestyle, Dylan Perring “fell into the trap of following the norm of the 9-5” as a full-time graphic designer.  

“I was simply not happy, dealing with people through a screen and being stuck indoors was slowly driving me crazy!” he says. “The money had no value to me anymore and I needed to fulfill myself with something more real.”

Quickly, he pivoted to eventually become a PADI IDC Staff Instructor at Coral Divers. Despite moving away from everything familiar, he has never been happier or more fulfilled than he is right now. He decided to opt for nature and his own happiness, he says. 

While some may consider diving a “crazy” long-term career, for Perring it is all about passion. He says, “It’s a very small percentage of people on Earth who ever get to scuba dive, seeing what is under the surface is the best way to raise ocean awareness so my mission is to make as many divers as possible, and to make as many instructors as possible so that they can go out and reach even more people!”


Making the Ocean Your Home and Career

Nate Porter combined his love of diving, videography and the ocean into Expedition Drenched. As a PADI Pro, he now teaches diving from his sailboat while sailing around the world and vlogging about his unique lifestyle. He left behind a career and mortgage in Utah to pursue a life connected to the ocean. After sailing, “I [know] in my heart that I [cannot] accept a normal life,” he writes.

A sailboat with white sails floats next to a whale coming up to breathe.
Nate Porter’s custom sailboat, Sylfia, cruises next to a whale. Expedition Drenched

Hear more about Nate’s ‘Great Resignation’ adventure from him directly on PADI’s Dive Stories Podcast:

Exploring the Unknown

Melodie Treviño is a former Olympic diver who left a corporate career to become a PADI Pro in Mexico. Moreover, she’s a technical cave explorer with an MBA in sustainable development. Additionally, she’s focused on increasing sustainable dive and travel operations in Mexico.

A diver in red and black with sidemounted tanks floats in a cave, with green plants and algae in the background.
Cave diver Melodie Treviño dives side mount in one of Mexico’s famous cenotes. Ken Kiefer Underwater

Hear more about Melodie’s ‘Great Resignation’ adventure from her directly on PADI’s Dive Stories Podcast:

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