The last couple of weeks I've been doing some career counseling involving professionals wanting to change industries. One *into* IT, one *out* of IT into HR.
I've been so focused on finding the right skill set for existing industry positions and how the economy is effecting recruiting, I have almost had a block up against the thought of anyone trying to "change" not only career path, but also switch industries.
Lately I've been following a lot of talk about the effect of age in the employment arena, namely laying off/hiring practices with regard to the older employee. One of the main arguments (as I've stated, documented, counseled how to overcome, etc.) from those that practice ageism is that many older workers are inflexible when it comes to adopting and embracing change. And I realize that my block against career change could conceivably be construed as an example of that whole resistance to change. At an even more base level, it's a fear-generated reaction; I'm admitting that in a spurt of overall self-examination and growth.
But here's the thing: I'm *not* resistant to change. I love trying new tools and processes, giving them a "test run" to see if they might make my life easier and more interesting. For example, I joined the Twitter revolution a couple of months ago, and have quickly learned how to use it effectively for my needs, and understanding the business impact it can have across multiple industries. I've tried two independent applications and even a new social media browser, in a delighted attempt to explore this whole culture evolving in the personal and professional realms.
A large majority of people reach a point in their lives where they want to sit back and enjoy the fruits of twenty, thirty, or more years of hard work, overall growth in life, and accomplishments. Maybe they are just *tired* of constantly trying to be moving up, being agile and managing constantly changing elements around them and having *responsibilities*. They look back and see how complex things have gotten and long for a return to a simpler time. I see this as being a form of burnout, honestly.
Culturally the last fifty years have been about growth and acquisition. Money, possessions, prestige, power. We have started the downward slope of the bell curve. We can look to the industrial age, the excesses of the twenties and the great Depression as examples; the rise and fall of the Roman Empire or Classical Greece; the Middle Ages on through the Renaissance. Over and over we see these bell curves. And for some reason, we keep repeating the patterns.
As a species, we are uniquely suited to change and adaptability. Individually, I believe the majority of people are focused on "necessities". But with these changes, we have to change our cultural definitions of "necessities". And once our cultural outlook changes, I believe "change" won't evince such a gut fear reaction. Hopefully we can look at the last 2000 years our "Lessons" won't be so cataclysmic to learn.
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