Some employment experts are saying that the Great Recession has created a fundamental restructuring of the U.S. economy and workplace as we transition into the technology and information age. This is similar to previous macro transitions, like the one from the agricultural to the industrial age.
Unfortunately, many employees have been caught in the crossfire. Laid-off workers in some industries are discovering that job opportunities in careers and fields they've been in for decades are few and far in between, forcing them to consider changing careers to increase their chances of finding a job.
Not all career changes are involuntary, however. While laid-off workers struggling to find jobs make the news headlines, there are many people who decide on their own that it's time for a career change. This may be due to many different factors, including:
- Lifestyle changes. For example, maybe you began a career in sales when you were young and single, and you viewed the heavy travel schedule as a benefit, since it allowed you to see many new parts of the country. But now that you have a family, the travel has become a burden and you want to find a new job and career that lets you spend more time at home.
- Job burnout and/or boredom. It's not unusual to get bored and burnt-out after spending many years in the same job and/or industry. However, it's important to distinguish between burnout/boredom as it applies to a particular job and/or company versus an entire career.
- Worsening job outlook. As noted earlier, the restructuring of the U.S. economy is resulting in the elimination of jobs in some sectors, like many manufacturing industries. Seeing the writing on the wall, many of these employees are being proactive and starting the process of career change before they end up unemployed.
- Work-life imbalance and too much stress. Over time, highly stressful jobs and careers can take their toll on an individual's physical and emotional health, as can a long-term imbalance between work and home/family life.
- Greater earning potential. Many individuals simply decide that they'd like to earn more money than is possible in their current career.
- Scratching the entrepreneurial itch. After years working in the corporate world, some individuals decide that it's time to strike out on their own, either by hanging a shingle and becoming self-employed or starting a small business.