Changing Career Patterns

Changing Career Patterns

Length: 1962 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Changing Career Patterns

This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education under Contract No. ED-99-CO-0013. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Digests may be freely reproduced and are available at

Choi Joon Seo, a 31-year-old Korean who worked as regional marketing manager for Nike in Hong Kong, resigned his job so he could pursue his dream of building his own sports marketing company. (Jung et al. 2000)

Heidi Miller of Citigroup and Mary Cirillo of Deutsche Bank, two of the most senior women in U.S. banking, resigned their jobs to look for new career challenges in e-commerce. (Currie 2000)

Alan Goldstein, in response to his growing interest in computer technology, resigned from his career as trauma surgeon at Kings County Hospital in New York, and, at age 49, formed his own software company. (Mottl 1999)

Glenn Gainley, after working his way to vice president in charge of business units at Symbios, Inc., quit his job at age 40 and returned to school to pursue a teaching career. (Black 1999)

These examples of career changes reflect a common trend—increased job mobility. The linear career path that once kept people working in the same job, often for the same company, is not the standard career route for today's workers. Today, many workers are pursuing varied career paths that reflect sequential career changes. This set of ongoing changes in career plans, direction, and employers portrays the lifetime progression of work as a composite of experiences. This Digest explores how changing technologies and global competitiveness have led to redefinition of interests, abilities, and work options that influence career development.

Influences on Career Mobility

Job mobility no longer carries the stigma once associated with job change, although it can be emotionally stressful. Corporate upheavals of the early 1990s and low unemployment rates during the last part of the decade have caused changes in job search and hiring practices. Companies, especially those in technology fields that are in dire need of qualified, skilled, and experienced employees, are driven to recruit workers away from their current employers. Workers, who see job mobility as a way to find work that is appealing, challenging, and offers growth potential, are viewing career change as a way to progress through the uncertainties of the workplace.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Changing Career Patterns." 16 Jul 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Evaluating Career Theory and Application Essay examples

- It is easy to dissect an individual’s life to analyze and critique their choices based on our own opinions and experiences. Is that fair. No. We may see their actions clearly but the reasoning behind these is what the focus should be when it comes to judging one’s behavior or circumstances. Regular judgments are made about a person based on their profession. In our society, it would behoove us to look at the paths that lead to becoming a medical doctor instead of a drug dealer or prostitute. Application of career theories to life allow for analyzing past and future career decisions in all fields....   [tags: Career Theory]

Research Papers
971 words (2.8 pages)

Analyzing Career Theories Essay

- It is simple to look at an individual’s life and analyze and critique their choices based on our own opinions and experiences. Is that fair. No. We may see their actions clearly but the reasoning behind these is what we should focus on when it comes to judging someone’s behavior or circumstances. A common judgment made about a person is based on their career. In our society, it would behoove us to look at the path that leads to becoming a doctor instead of a drug dealer. Application of career theories to my own life allows for analyzing past and future career decisions....   [tags: Career Theory]

Research Papers
958 words (2.7 pages)

Changing Work Patterns Essay

- Changing Work Patterns If the workplace of today could be characterized by a single theme, it would most likely focus on the continual presence of change. Dramatic changes in technology, the marketplace and the workforce have compelled organizations to re-evaluate not only the competitiveness of their products, but also the core ways in which work is performed. It is out of this pursuit for continued survival that organizations have been faced with the notion of varying work-schedules beyond the traditional hours of nine to five....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1330 words (3.8 pages)

A Careeer as a Counselor: The Career Theory Integrative Life Planning Essay

- As I expand my knowledge in the different counseling approaches, my values appropriately fit in with the humanistic theoretical orientation. The career theory Integrative Life Planning (ILP) also resonates in my future ambitions as a counselor. I am very interested in working with high school and/or college students and helping them successfully prepare for their future. The holistic approach has stood out to me from the start of the program and has been useful in my personal life. My goal is to help the student/client to be able to discover their own personal motivations and self-satisfaction within them, as well as a way to benefit society....   [tags: humanistic therapy, career development]

Research Papers
2244 words (6.4 pages)

Essay on The Differing Behavioural Patterns of Women and Men Throughout the Ages

- The Differing Behavioural Patterns of Women and Men Throughout the Ages Both males and females have similar needs in order to survive. Historically however, Britain's social structure has contributed to significant differences in opportunity and outcome between the genders resulting in prejudice and discrimination against more women than men over time. It is in the areas of family, education and work that these differences are most pronounced. In 1775, Sir William Blackstone explained, "by marriage the very being or legal existence of a woman is suspended or at least is incorporated or consolidated into that of the husband under whose wing, protection and cover she...   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
931 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Examining Habits and Patterns of Generation Y

- Question 1: Generation Y is the subculture that watches the least amount of television and therefore are not exposed to as many commercials as other groups. What can marketers do to efficiently communicate with this group. Marketers in the twenty first century often have to think outside of the square when trying to promote or present a product in today’s market. Reflecting upon Australia’s economic state ‘ marketing becomes more important during an economic downturn as consumer spending decreases and overproduction and surplus result’....   [tags: Social Studies]

Research Papers
2104 words (6 pages)

Career Mobility: A Choice or Necessity? Essay examples

- Career Mobility: A Choice or Necessity. What is triggering the industrial, occupational, and geographical mobility of today's workers. Some believe it is a response to downsizing and restructuring. Others believe it reflects a pursuit for job advancement and a better quality of life. This Digest examines the factors triggering workers' career mobility and suggests ways workers can use career mobility to capitalize on the dynamics of a changing workplace. Factors Contributing to Career Mobility Job mobility in the U.S....   [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Work Essays]

Research Papers
2158 words (6.2 pages)

Career Resilience Essay

- Career Resilience Change in the workplace continues at a rapid pace, affecting careers and career development. Mergers, acquisitions, reengineering, and downsizing are influencing employment patterns and altering the career directions of many. No longer are individuals advised to think in terms of spending their entire careers in one organization. Rather, they are being led to recognize the temporary nature of all jobs and the need to prepare themselves for redefined career paths that require resilience and an ability to be self-reliant....   [tags: Employment Work Jobs Essays]

Research Papers
1911 words (5.5 pages)

Women changing From Hellenistic to Late Antiquity Essay

- The world is constantly changing and evolving. In every society across the world, men and women have specific roles that they each carry out. During ancient times, in most western cultures, women were inferior to men. Women’s status seemed to change in a pattern that repeated it self from one time period to another. Gradually, the status of women did change from political standpoints of the societies. From political power to having the right last name, women have transformed and became a huge part of Western Civilization....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
778 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about Career and Changing Family Roles

- Differences in employment schedules among spouses contribute to the complexity of home life, yet the many dimensions of this important link remain largely undetermined, particularly with regard to primary care giving (PCG) fathers (Frank, 1995). The traditional family is characterized by the division of roles whereby one spouse (husband) is involved primarily in paid work and the other spouse (wife) primarily attends to family work, specifically the activities of household and child care (Pleck, 1983)....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
838 words (2.4 pages)

Related Searches

Job mobility is most prevalent among individuals who are first entering the labor market. According to data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, high job mobility characterizes the initial decade of a person's work experience (Keith and McWilliams 1999). Neal (1999) reports that “men make two-thirds of their lifetime job changes during their first 10 years of work experience” (p. 255). Most of this mobility is the result of job-to-job transitions rather than unemployment and reflects the worker's desire to find a good career match, often through lateral movement within the company. As first-time workers are quick to discover, the reality of a job doesn't always reflect a worker's expectations regarding salary, responsibilities, and potential for professional development. This may be one reason that approximately 33 percent of the college graduates who elect to pursue a teaching career leave the profession within the first 5 years (National School to Work Office 1997).

The propensity toward job mobility is not unusual for workers of any age or experience in a society where new jobs and job roles are created regularly as a result of technological advances and global competitiveness. As global changes influence the way we live, they also have strong implications for how we work. Employment security is no longer tied to an organization, but rather to the individual’s career management and resilience skills. “You must be prepared to live in an uncertain work world, where the only certainty is your skills, your flexibility, and your capacity to adapt to change. That requires optimism and belief in yourself”(Moses 1999, p. 29).

“Radical job changes are becoming a model for some (workers) and a strategy for those who are forced from their previous employment” (Sterrett 1999, p. 251). Sterrett defines radical job changes as “career changes that occur when leaving one field and moving to a job quite different from the previous job” (ibid.). Most successful transitions of this kind involve a two-stage process in which the worker first searches to find a suitable career match and then begins to look for a suitable employer. Although these transitions are typically associated with the early years of employment, radical job changes occur in midlife as well, as evidenced in the examples at the beginning of the Digest. Workers who know their strengths, interests, and values and are able to view themselves independently from their organizations experience the greatest success. Typically, these workers are positive, confident, forward looking, continually learning, and flexible.

Qualities that Enhance Mobility

Self-efficacy and a positive attitude toward job potential are characteristics of adults in a study conducted by Career Education Corporation of Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Results showed that “almost half of the working adults said they would consider changing careers and one in four said that they expect to make such a shift in the next 12 months” (Dolliver 1999, p. 40). Although money was given as the prime motive for change, personal happiness was close behind.

Confident in his ability to build his own sports marketing company with a worldwide brand name, Choi Joon Seo left his job at Nike in Hong Kong and, with two partners, launched HooChoo, a Korean-language online magazine about Korean sports. Choi plans to use the website to develop HooChoo’s brand name, which he hopes will lead to the development of a full-time sports marketing company. “Physically and emotionally, I am exhausted,” said Choi, “but it feels so good that I am doing what I like” (Jung et al. 2000, p. 44).

Foresight prompted Heidi Miller to direct her attention to e-commerce, where she sees potential for growth. Now working at, Miller believes the company has excellent prospects for cross-selling products and services over the Internet, a potential she is not sure most insurance and banking conglomerates realize (Currie 2000).

Alan Goldstein was an early user of a portable computer, which he used to write his fellowship papers and record his research data while in medical school. Soon Goldstein was the computer guru for the surgical unit at Kings County Hospital, where he later “oversaw a patient-registry database project and an instruction program for surgical residents” (Mottl 1999, p. 123). When a relative who owned a family business asked for his technical help with computers, Goldstein became so interested that he took two 3-month leaves of absence from his prestigious position as trauma surgeon and acting director of surgery to set up the family business’s computer system. He enjoyed this work so much that he resigned from his medical position to seek a new job. Goldstein is now chief technology officer of Ultimate Software Group, Inc., a company that develops human resource management applications.

Experience can be a predictor of successful career transition, as evidenced by Goldstein’s success. His medical position gave him experience in developing team structures, assessing people and skills, and communicating with staff. His computer experiences provided him with new technological skills. In his own way, Goldstein was an active participant in lifelong learning, able to transfer his learning to a new environment.

The ability to be flexible and readjust his goals to accommodate his values and personal interests made it possible for Glen Gainley to make his move from business to education. While working at the chipmaking firm, Symbios, Inc., Gainley became increasingly aware that his prime interest was in helping children and his community. Because he had set aside money for retirement and the college education of his three children, Gainley was financially and emotionally able to quit his job and return to school for a teaching certificate (Black 1999). He was willing to accept the entry-level salary that often accompanies a midcareer change and engage in teaching—a career that some workers leave because salaries don't meet their economic needs.

Kidd (1998) suggests that career counselors give attention to the roles of emotion in the career development. She reports that it is often the sequences of feelings and behaviors that one experiences in his/her work role that affect the next career transition in the path to career development. “Feelings of success spur action” (ibid., p. 280).

Eric Watson, who worked for 21 years for a giant insurance company, had become vice president for global diversity. Having a great interest in the advantages of diversity, Watson attempted to bring a new view of diversity to his organization: “The new diversity is about differences of all kinds, even those that come from within a company itself” (Galagan and Salopek 2000, p. 52). As he broadened his thinking about diversity, Watson came to realize how diversity tools could help an organization deal with radical organizational change. Looking for an opportunity to embrace this challenge, Watson left the insurance company to become executive director of work force capability for an oil and natural gas business. Watson contends that he will have company leaders modeling the behaviors of a diverse company within 5 years. His commitment to diversity and experiences of success were strong motivations for his career move.


Although changing careers may seem overwhelming to many, the examples presented in this Digest show that changes are possible—and probable. Employment will be increasingly characterized by sequences of decisions and work/role transitions. Similar sequences of behaviors, experiences, and judgments will influence ever-changing career patterns. For workers who seek continued and rewarding employment, career management skills will become increasingly important. Workers will need to be able to identify their strengths, goals, and skills; conduct ongoing assessments of their values and goals; monitor themselves and their job situation; and develop the interpersonal and negotiating skills needed to manage organizational career systems (Kidd 1998). Life changes and career changes often go hand in hand, offering the skilled and flexible worker opportunities to use these changes to personal advantage.


Black, P. “Go to the Head of the Class.” Business Week, no. 3650 (October 11, 1999): 174.

Currie, A. “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” Euromoney no. 371 (March 2000): 6.

Dolliver, M. &147;Maybe It’s Not Too Late to Become a Fireman.&148; Adweek 40, no. 36 (September 6, 1999): 40.

Galagan, P. A. and Salopek, J. J. “Thinking Differently about Differences.” Training and Development 54, no. 5 (May 2000): 52-54.

Jung, S.; Dolven, B.; Dawson, C.; and Saywell, T. “Lured by the Net.” Far Eastern Economic Review 163, no. 19 (May 11, 2000): 44-46.

Keith, K., and McWilliams, A. “The Returns to Mobility and Job Search by Gender.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 52, no. 3 (April 1999): 460-475.

Kidd, J. M. “Emotion: An Absent Presence in Career Theory.” Journal of Vocational Behavior 52 (1998): 275-288.

Moses, B. “Career Intelligence: The 12 New Rules for Success.” The Futurist 33, no. 7 (August-September 1999): 28-35.

Mottl, J. N. “Different Career Paths Lead to IT.” Informationweek no. 763 (November 29, 1999): 123-126.

National School to Work Office. School to Work and Professional Development for Teachers. Resource Bulletin. Washington, DC: National School to Work Office, 1997. (ED 416 394)

Neal, D. “The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men.” Journal of Labor Economics 17, no. 2 (April 1999): 237-261.

Steen, M. “A Career Change to IT from a Different Field? Difficult, But Not Impossible.” InfoWorld 21, no. 38 (September 20, 1999): 84.

Sterrett, E. A. “A Comparison of Women’s and Men’s Career Transitions.” Journal of Career Development 25, no. 4 (Summer 1999): 249-259.
Return to