Tuesday, 16 Jul 2019

Career Change

A career change is a big step. An engineer becomes an entrepreneur; a policeman becomes a coach; a salesman becomes a full-time blogger… There’s no question that switching to a completely new profession, a completely different field of expertise, requires courage and the willingness to completely rethink one’s life. Quite a few people dream of it – of getting off, changing trains, emigrating and starting anew. But only a few implement it. A study says: “This is mainly due to our personality. Certain characteristics can even predict whether there will be a career change in our lives…

Important factors influencing career change

The idea of completely reorienting one’s career after one’s first career is the exception in Germany. Admittedly, various surveys have repeatedly confirmed a high level of job dissatisfaction, but no fewer employees are in a state of inner dismissal. On average, however, only 36 percent of unlucky people change jobs sooner or later.

It is not easy either: Those who dare a radical new beginning mutate from professional to beginner. In addition to numerous uncertainties, one cannot necessarily benefit from one’s existing network or industry knowledge. And most of them first have to cut back – on income, housing conditions and holidays.

Sally Carless and Jessica Arnupa from Monash University in Australia therefore wanted to know more precisely whether there are any factors that could predict a career change.

For their studies, they evaluated the data of more than 4500 people in total, who had to complete several questionnaires on their professional situation and personality over a period of five years.

In a second survey, they also analysed the data of around 1500 people who had changed careers. They were also asked for a few years what had changed with them and how they felt personally.

The researchers were particularly interested in the different forms of the so-called Big Five.

And see there: There were a few striking similarities…

The likelihood of a career change increases especially with people who have…

  • were sociable, talkative and energetic (extra version).
  • were curious and creative (openness).
  • had a higher level of education.
  • were younger and had only a few years of professional experience.
  • had an insecure job.
  • were male.
  • On the other hand, job satisfaction and current income had no measurable influence on the probability of changing jobs.

Almost even more remarkable, however, are the consequences of the career change among the interviewees:

One year after the career change, all respondents reported…

  • greater job satisfaction and
  • a safer job and with fewer hours per week.
  • Or to put it another way: Getting out, changing jobs and reinventing oneself almost always made people happier. Probably also because it gives you the feeling and the certainty that you are not at the mercy of others, but that you have your life in your hands and can shape your own future.

The most common reasons for a career change are:

What are you thinking? Maybe it’s time for a career change with you, too?

The times are not bad. According to studies, the proportion of employees actively seeking a new job alone has increased by eight percent in the past four years – to 30 percent.

Careers today are no longer as straightforward as they were years ago. A CV with only one employer from training to retirement is a thing of the past. This makes employees more flexible, jobs more varied, working life more exciting – but also more challenging.

Career changes present those affected with the task of shaping their employment biographies more actively, not losing sight of their goals and planning corresponding change phases well and justifying them well to new employers.

The reasons for a career change are almost always the same:

However, these frequent reasons are not a carte blanche for rashly throwing in the towel and quitting one’s job. Elsewhere the grass doesn’t necessarily have to be greener…

A career change needs to be carefully considered and planned. So if you are thinking about changing your current position into something completely new, you should ask yourself why you want to do this – and where you want to go.

In the end, there are good reasons – and there are bad ones:

  • Good reasons for a career change
  • Bless you.
  • There are jobs that cause illness: Permastress prevails, the boss poisons the atmosphere, the colleagues mobben. No one can and should endure something like this in the long run. Money may be important – health is more important.


What is meant is not so much the alleged phenomenon of boreout. Something can be done about it. But if the job doesn’t offer any challenges and you can’t learn or achieve anything there, it’s time to change jobs – internally or externally.


And in every respect: both career prospects and financial perspectives are lacking. And the store is not developing any further either. Well, you have a job. But how much longer? And where is the incentive and fun?


Admittedly, no job is safe today. Markets and industries change too quickly for that. But if you live in permanent fear for your professional existence or future, this is only exhausting – and makes you sick in the long run (see above).


You work yourself to the bone every day and don’t even hear a “thank you”. Disdain would be already such a reason to go. But if that coincides with favoritism, the measure is full.

Bad reasons for a career change


We all have a bad day on the job. Sometimes the displeasure lasts for a few days. But that’s no reason to give up prematurely. There are also frustration days in other jobs and companies. The overall picture over the course of the year is decisive.


Okay, the boss was not at all satisfied with your performance and folded it properly. Not the best kind, for sure. But rather a reason for self-reflection, where you can improve yourself. Only when the criticism becomes destructive, unstable and chronic does that speak for a career change.


And a really serious one at that. You really screwed up, the company is going to pay dearly for that. The shame is great, and you may be fired for it. But the attitude of IBM founder Tom Watson would be wiser: “The company has just invested several hundred thousand euros in your training. Why should anyone else get this experience for free?” So take responsibility and learn from it.


They say employees come for jobs and leave for bosses. That’s true – in part. Because let’s be honest: Very few bosses are perfect. Neither do we. But managers can also be managed – only more subtly.