Scientifically, leaving a job is one of the most stressful events on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, but anyone who has endured a forced transition or is thinking of a career change does not need a scale to tell them that. However, records from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that workers are currently changing careers more often than ever, with the average being 14 for both men and women, counting from teenage employment. Despite the relevant stresses, career change seems to be now more a fact of modern life than an experience simply relegated to inefficient or unqualified employees.
Barriers to Changing Careers
1. Obsolete skill set. As an employee ages, it becomes harder for them to learn more modern skills, which universities make sure that their new graduates learn. Also, computer technology renders many employee skill sets obsolete much more quickly than ever before, which does not give employees the time to save enough money to go to school to learn the new skills.
2. Salary expectations. Older employees understandably want and need higher salaries; however, employers much prefer to hire younger employees who will do the same work for an entry level salary. Also, the advent of the internet allows employers to hire virtual employees in other countries for many tasks such as administrative work, at salaries far below what local employees demand.
3. Resistance to change. Though many more employees are considering career changes than ever, statistics from Kelly Services, a large temporary staffing agency, show that many employees keep their current jobs out of a sense of loyalty or resistance to uprooting the career they have invested their working lives into.
Reasons to Change a Career
1. Changing careers has become the norm, rather than the exception. Because employers can now hire cheap labor from across the globe, and because of technological advances which give companies no need for the manpower they once had, they are no longer as loyal to long term employees as they once were. Subsequently, the number of careers now held by the average employee numbers seven, according to LiveTwo, a top career counseling organization. This number is up from three in past surveys of employee careers.
2. Job satisfaction. Statistics show that over 50% of employees are unhappy with their current employment situation. Because many employees now spend more time at work than at home, changing a career can add to total life satisfaction.
3. Others have successfully done it. Statistics show that even until age 50, many employees are considering a changing of their careers, with an emphasis on more flexible hours, better opportunities for promotion, and the opportunity for more entrepreneurial pursuits. These employees are demanding that work not interfere with their daily life, asking for shorter working hours, relocations to be closer to family, and more invigorating work overall.
Is It Ever Too Late to Change a Career?
Scientifically, it would seem that it is never too late to change a career, and those that do often find more satisfaction with their work and with their life.