Foreword: I by no means have researched or solicited stats or professional opinions. It is my own speculation, but I challenge you to disagree! (I am THAT confident in this post).
Back in the day, it was not unusual to have conversations that started with a leading question: “If you were to have a different job than the one you have today, what would it be?” And people would talk and fantasize about all the jobs they could do if it was not for feeling financially strapped or for fear of the unknown or for the fear of starting all over again. Today though, that mindset has shifted significantly. People are not just fantasizing and daydreaming, they are making new realities and lives for themselves. I have conversations like this regularly with friends who have indeed made a big career change or are considering it. (Please note, by “big career change” I do not mean switching from working at Whole Foods to Trader Joe’s or from being a Project Manager to a Scrum Master. I mean like holy- shit- am –I- really- doing -this kinds of switches. Giving up working in finance to sell skincare. Or giving up working as an engineer to be a teacher). With that in mind, the question though that I often think about is: compared to ten, twenty years ago, WHY? Why are we as a society and culture finally embracing and encouraging drastic career changes?
One underlying reason is social media and technology, which has many layers and reasons within itself. Technology has replaced the need to either physically be in the office or in person to get shit done. Back in the day, we had big old clunky desktop computers that we could not access unless we parked our asses at our desks where said computers were lodged. If we had to work late, we were at the office. If we had work to do for an external client, we often had to be onsite wherever that client was. If we had early calls to make, we had to be in the office. Work was just very office centric.
If we wanted to sell something, it was either old school door- to- door (think Tupperware or Mary Kay makeover parties) or we had to sell from a store. Today, there is a robust virtual presence which enables us to do so much more from really anywhere.
My point is that we have many more liberties thanks to technology in which we can conduct business or work. What this means is that people are growing out of the traditional working environment. It is inspiring us to discover different ways to work and it also for many of us, is reminding us that more customary desirable jobs used to be in offices, are now well, less desirable. I also recognize as I am beginning my journey of promoting ketones, I do not need much to do that. I do most of it from my phone in fact. I could be at the pool, at the beach, in Santa Barbara for the day and it will not hinder my business. This is proving to be very enticing indeed, and I completely understand the draw people have to being entrepreneurs and not necessarily being confined to an office.
Social media in itself is an, albeit obvious, reason why people are switching careers. It is far easier to spread our message to the world. Not everything is word of mouth anymore or expensive marketing. We have access to get things out there way faster than we used to be able to. For those who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s (and earlier), remember when we actually MAILED hand written letters to friends? We did not have text messages and long distance calling was expensive (and obviously we had no concept of Facebook or Instagram). Today, you can put a message out with just a few clicks on your phone and reach thousands of people. This makes it so much more expedient for people to market themselves or their businesses. Plus, they get instant feedback which can be the encouragement someone needs to consider changing careers.
Social media also entices people for more than just a marketing perspective. It is enabling us to connect with people we may not know or otherwise have access to. This means we have so much more of an awareness of what other people are up to. Remember your fellow college graduate who worked in finance? Well guess what, you saw her post that she quit Wall Street to become a chef. We see virtually firsthand more and more people who are actually making career changes. Plus another popular trend (that I hope is here to stay) are all the inspiring messages and memes people are posting. All of this is almost like propaganda at its finest (and I mean that in the most positive way. Seriously). It is feeding our souls and minds with ideas, inspiration, and encouragement to stop ignoring those gut feelings of being unsatisfied. Back in the day, it was not as common to hear of people switching careers. People tended to just suck it up and ride it out until they could retire. To deviate was intimidating but today we are inundated with stories of people doing it- and being successful but more importantly, happy. It nourishes ideas and thoughts that people have that had it been twenty, thirty years ago, they would have squashed instantaneously.
On a different note, we no longer live in a world where we are so tied to a job because of things like pensions. They just do not really exist anymore. I am sure all you twenty something’s who have been in the workforce for a few years have virtually no concept of a pension nor are depending on ever seeing one come to fruition. People stayed at the same company for thirty, forty years because they had those pensions. Their pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The light at the end of the tunnel. They had a very real financial benefit to stay put. With that not being a current reality, people are more likely to switch companies and even careers. There is a sense of freedom that the world is our oyster and it opens our eyes to possibilities. People’s relationships with companies are different. Without the incentive to retire well from there, it has become more common for people to make career changes.
And I get it. It is really hard financially to walk away from a stable job and a stable income to follow our hearts. But it can be done because of how different our world and cultures are today
Another reason I truly believe that is attributing to people following their hearts and their passion is the exposure to all the different possibilities that are out there. I remember career day when I was in high school, and it featured the usual stars: an accountant, a teacher, a doctor, a finance guy and a police officer. All fine and respectable jobs of course. But what about all the other careers that are out there? What about Yoga Instructors? Life Coaches? Business Analysts? Architects? It is not that they did not exist (I mean come on, I am not THAT old!) There was just much less exposure. Networking was much more in person and by chance.
Today though, there is just so much more exposure due to social media and the internet. People have more information at their fingertips at any given moment. (Not like when I was 16 having to do any kind of research on microfiche. Don’t know it? Google it!) It is why people more so today than yesterday are switching jobs. They are reassessing career decision they made as 21 year olds because they have had more exposure to the crazy wonderful breadth of professions and opportunities out here.
Ok so I feel as if I am only scratching the surface. I am sure if I were to either dig more within or actually research online, any one of these points could be a blog post in itself. So having said that, I want to leave you with only one more reason why people are making career changes as above all else, it is the most inspiring.
I truly believe as a society, we are becoming more spiritual and I mean this in the purest form. When I say spiritual, I think of it as like we are taking better care of ourselves when it comes to our mind and mental health. Not just physically. Remember walking past that little tiny section in Barnes and Noble for “Self Help”? It would be embarrassing to be caught perusing that. Weren’t those books for all the weirdos who just couldn’t get their shit together? Today though, whether we realize it or not, we often browse the self-help section, figuratively speaking of course. We are meditating more, taking yoga classes (ok well everyone but me is taking yoga). We go to healers. We go to therapy. We go to shamans. We talk about our feelings. We find all these incredible people and mediums who are not just telling us how to “cope’ with stress and suck it up; stay at those jobs we do not like. They are teaching us to follow our hearts and find our purpose in life. They are encouraging us to make changes, and let go of what we know. Move towards the unknown and trust. We give up foods that are bad for us. We give up relationships that are toxic. We now give up careers and jobs that we find our hearts are no longer in.