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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mapping millennials' experiences of successful career change : helping and hindering factors Grant, Eva


Given the significant role that work plays in our lives, it is regrettable that a considerable number of individuals are dissatisfied with their career situations. Studies have shown that career-related regret is the most prevalent type of regret. Despite this widespread discontent, there is a prevailing tendency towards inaction when it comes to making such changes. This is problematic for workers, employers, and the broader community as it can lead to poor performance, increased risk of burnout, and adverse mental health outcomes. Nonetheless, there exist millennials who have successfully navigated career changes despite these obstacles. Millennial employees, a generational group born between 1979 and 1994, entered the workforce during a period marked by heightened economic and global instability, and now they constitute the majority of the workforce. Millennials are recognized as catalysts for change, as they are challenging certain workplace norms established by preceding generations. However, many still grapple with paralyzing concerns related to changing careers. Learning about the triumphs of career change achieved by fellow millennial workers may help alleviate some of these concerns and offer role models for achieving success. While there has been extensive research on job changes, which are more frequent and considered a normal part of career progression, there is a notable lack of research on career changes, making it a poorly understood phenomenon. This study aims to fill the gap in the existing literature by identifying the factors contributing to successful career changes among millennial workers. To achieve this, open-ended semi-structured interviews based on the enhanced critical incident technique were conducted with 10 millennial workers who had successfully changed careers. The findings yielded 10 categories of factors that either helped or hindered the participants, as well as factors they wished were available to them during their career change. Four major themes emerged, namely, support or lack thereof, individual attributes, strategies employed, and situational factors. This research contributes to the literature by shedding light on the successful career changes of millennial workers, expanding our understanding of career development theory, and aiding practitioners in creating more inclusive tools and counselling interventions.

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