What circumstances can influence an individual career path?
Besides article and books researched a variety of candidates will be interviewed to see if there are really a few common denominators as far as motivating factors for changing careers.
There are many reasons why people chose a career path, but what motivates them to change careers?
I just fell into it. Boring, not challenging anymore. Completed my degree and want to do something in my field. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I want more money. I’m unhappy with what I’m doing. My position is redundant. I’ve been floating from job to job and want a career path. I want to work for myself. Something is missing from my job and I’m not sure what it is. (Career Clarity 2007)
What are the influencing factors?
In today’s day and age there are so many options out there. Even if someone doesn’t make a change out of necessity it gives individuals an opportunity to pursue their goals whether it’s a passion, money or thirst for knowledge.
Making a Difference: James Morrison (phone interview June 11, 2012)
James felt as if something was missing from his job. He had a career in civil service specifically in the education sector. Growing up in Ireland he saw many of his friends and siblings have their careers chosen for them by the European version of the college entrance exams. He had a passion and a thirst for knowledge and was determined to carve a career path in that direction. He was the first and only child in his family to make his dreams a reality. Once James graduated he won the lottery for a green card and went to work for a small investment firm in the US. Even though he learned quite a bit about the finance world, he knew that this wasn’t his calling. At the same time he decided to get more involved with the Irish community and started volunteering. He had a lot of dealings with the Irish government and decided to pursue a career in civil service.
This opened up a number of career opportunities for him. He was able to combine his two passions; education and helping people. James was fortunate to work between the US and Ireland where he established quite a few connections that would be useful to him later in his career. Even though James loved working for the Irish government, he became frustrated on the amount of time and layers of management that he had to deal with. He was then offered an exciting job at the embassy when he had an unfortunate accident. During his six month recovery he had time to reflect and knew it was the perfect decision to make some critical decisions when it came to his career. A friend asked him to fill in for a year and manage a study abroad program for students. It was the perfect opportunity for him to segway into education. Throughout his career James knew that early on he had identified a not only a passion for education but also to give back and help people and was able to stick to his career choices and make calculated decisions that resulted in a successful and satisfying career.
It is estimated that Americans average 10-14 jobs between the ages of 18 and 34 and 3-5 career changes by the age of 38 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2008).
People that find themselves on the market are more apt to change careers for a number of reasons; one of the biggest things to think about is which direction they would like to take before committing to a full time job. There is also contract opportunities that allow people to work temporarily and try out new positions before making a career commitment. There are just so many options out there. But with all this said, what are the biggest motivating factors? What are the common dominators regardless of the job market, current state of the economy and new emerging markets and technologies?
Working for Myself: Jeff Gould (phone interview June 1, 2012)
Jeff his own staffing business focused in the financial services industry. While he enjoys what he does, he’s not sure how long he can stay afloat and support his family so he’s considering changing careers. Jeff’s father was a CPA and “fell into” accounting. He went to a school where there was a heavy emphasis on accounting majors. The “Big Four” did on campus recruiting and soon Jeff graduated and went into public accounting. Financial stability wasn’t a factor; he lived with his father and had very few bills if any at all. He was able to focus solely on what he wanted to do. He felt it was a great career choice; he was exposed to a variety of industries and companies and was able to learn and grow. He got his CPA and decided to move out to California for a year. There he did forensic accounting and worked on litigation. It was interesting work, but not for him. He decided to move back to Boston. There he received a call from a well known staffing agency in the accounting and finance world, and was offered a job as a recruiter. Jeff thought that this combined the best of worlds, accounting and finance and working with people.
After the downturn in the economy and a company restructuring Jeff left and started his own business. One of the major reasons was that when he started his own business there was security in job. No one could come in and restructure his job and take his book of business. But with today’s economy and clients being pickier than ever Jeff faces some tough decisions. He is struggling to continue to do something he loves and be his own boss opposed to something that is more financially stable in these trying times.
This seems to be the common factors with most job seekers. What are some of the other influencers out there? Do market conditions play a part in changing jobs? Does today’s market economic factors play a large role in determining what career path one will choose? Today people are less likely to remain at a company based on loyalty but more for the fact of mere survival. With downsizing and the loss of jobs, people are holding on to jobs for financial and security reasons. Anyone in a job that is looking for a career change is taking carefully planned measures before executing a job search.
Even with today’s grim outlook on jobs, seems that people are looking at the recession as an opportunity to make a change. Even though there are definitely financial constraints to be considered, as workers are joining the growing ranks of the unemployed they are viewing it as an opportunity to change careers and do something new.
My Job isn’t Fulfilling: Brian Neubold (personal interview September 2010)
Brian was getting married and just got laid off from his job. He viewed this as having a positive impact on his life. With the support of his fiancé’ he was able to explore different career options and find one that he really enjoyed. This change doesn’t always come with financial hardship and emotional stress.
Alexandra Levit (2009) discuss seven common motivations for changing careers; family, independence, learning, money, passion, set back and talent. She interviews several candidates and their motivations for changing jobs.