Why you Feel Stuck Changing Career Paths Midlife
Why you Feel Stuck Changing Career Paths Midlife
If you are starting a career today, you will experience at least 5 career changes and have 17 jobs over your lifetime. You are probably surprised at that prediction as the whole idea of career change sounds scary and the practical steps to career transition may have you feeling stuck what to do and how to go about it.
The idea of changing careers should not be such a scary task. Change itself is something we are all tolerating and must tolerate daily. We all now hold daily change in our hands. Our handheld phones alert us to the latest change in the News, Facebook, Instagram etc. Technology, Politics, Environment and our Society are constantly changing. Your family and you as an individual are changing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
So, jobs and careers will naturally follow these changes. We cannot expect them not to change.If change is happening all around us, why don’t people know what to do when it comes to career change decision making. Why do they feel stuck?
They haven’t been the taught the career skills to navigate the complexities of the interaction of all the above changes with their own life, as the script of career has changed dramatically.
The Career Script
The script that was handed to you from your parents and grandparents went like this: Choose one Career, stick to it, get promoted and you will have that Career for Life. This idea came from the 20th century and has played out for generations. In the 20th century, people moved from the farms to the cities where institutions, corporations and organisations developed. It was within these institutions the worker would gain work, structure, predictability, and security.
Your career progressed in a linear fashion and through loyalty and hard work you would have been expected to be promoted via the career ladder. Your career path was laid out for you by somebody else. This allowed you to move through your personal life stages in a predictable fashion knowing you always had a job and financial security. You typically went to school, university, left the family home, married, raised a family, retired, got your gold watch and/or pension and then you would die. Pretty easy and straightforward. Right?
Well, the problem is that we are now in the 21st century and the career script has been torn up! It’s simply outdated and is causing anxiety and stress amongst many Generation Y and Generation X workers. Unfortunately, this script is what many are hanging onto when making career decisions.
It’s time to talk about this and set the record straight. There has been a fundamental shift in the reality of the workplace and it is mismatched against the expectations of current workers.
The Global Shift
Let’s start at the beginning when things started to change.
In the 1990s globalisation opened markets, competition and the free flow of goods and services across continents. Worldwide economics changed in a major way that challenged our local institutions to supply new goods/services to new markets. In doing so, they could no longer operate based on the structures they had created for a local domestic market.
They had to change.
Redundancies & downsizing resulted and to this day continues to happen. This is not going to change, it is now part of the working landscape we all have to accept. With new international supply chains opened, this created new job opportunities that would see the start of job change for many local workers. For example, it was typical to see workers from the construction and engineering industries in the late 90’s and early 2000’s leave Australia and live and work in another OECD country. They were highly sought after for their expertise & skills which had many leave to take advantage of these new job opportunities. In 1999–2003 there were around three Australian-born people aged 15 years and over living in another OECD country for every 100 Australian-born people in that age group living in Australia.
For the past 10 years, Job Change has continued with many seeking out different employers both locally and overseas. What is emerging now, however, is a new trend of making a complete career change.
Career change takes the next step of dismantling the idea of a Career for Life. While globalisation redefined institutions, the rise of the internet has eroded the idea that an institution will give you the career path you expect it gave your parents and grandparents. The internet has allowed an even playing field for anybody and anyone to be an institution and take part in the demand and supply chain across the world. The career options and possibilities you have available to you now are so diverse at the same time as being confusing and overwhelming. Simply, there is an abundance of choice available to you and you now are the institution!
No wonder you feel stuck. All this outside change would have anybody confused about what to do. The economics of work carries more risk and uncertainty than ever before and people are not equipped with the right career tools and strategies to navigate the rough seas. Nobody is telling you what to do with your career. You don’t have a predictable timeline of what job you will have which gives you no security to plan other things in your life.
The biggest mistake I see people make is to postpone making any decisions about their own career paths. They still are under the illusion that the organisation will look after them in the long term. As I indicated above, you are now the institution and it is up to you to take control of your own career change. But remember nobody expects you to be an island. If you don’t have the skills, reach out and get support and assistance. In the age of knowledge abundance, don’t expect an internet search engine to be your career advisor and provide you with personalised solutions you need to move forward. You are an individual different to others, you have your own career story to date and there are many complexities and layers to your unique career situation. Getting people unstuck needs a comprehensive approach with lots of discussion & other activities to see how you can fit into this new way of working. Understanding how to write the next chapter of your individual career story is an empowering feeling.
People are becoming bored, dissatisfied and unfulfilled in their careers and jobs. The work they once enjoyed has become routine and the challenge of the problems they are there to solve has disappeared for them. Worldwide the rate of disengaged workers is a whopping 87% reported by Gallup. That means 8 in 10 people hate their job, feel trapped and stuck in a rut. To escape the pain, they hang out for annual leave entitlements and spend big on holidays for some rest, relaxation and pleasure. When they return they are back to the job they hate and recycle through the whole process year after year until something jolts them.
Don’t wait till somebody taps you on the shoulder and hands your last pay slip. If you are thinking of Career Change, know that it is a process and it involves learning new skills. The goal posts in the new world of work have shifted and will continue to shift. If you are serious about improving your lifestyle or work satisfaction remember two things:
1. The old Career Path script has been torn up
2. It’s your responsibility to adapt and learn what is required to increase your chances for a meaningful and secure livelihood to look after yourself and your family.
I invite you to make comments in the comment box below. Would love to hear the stories of your experience with the above and how you’re coping with the changes. Feel free to share on your social networks.
If you want to find out more about how you can start the Career Change Process, check out my Career Change Course that gives you the confidence to move forward.
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