The accelerated pace of technological change and, most recently, the advent of AI are reshaping jobs and organizations in ways that call for constant career reinvention. So we all need to learn how to get better at making the most of the frequent transitions that will constitute a long working life.
But no matter how often people change careers, they will probably experience the transition as an emotionally fraught process—one that involves confusion, loss, insecurity, and struggle. Big changes can be exhilarating, but they’re also terrifying.
For more than two decades, Ibarra, of London Business School, has been studying the process of career reinvention: what prompts people to do it, how they go about it, and how it affects them. In this article, drawing on new research, she explains why such transitions are still so hard for so many people, despite their growing frequency and prevalence. She also offers some ideas for managing them more intentionally and successfully.
Today people at all stages of their careers are asking themselves profound questions about the kind of work they do, how much of it they want to do, and the place it occupies in their lives. We’re asking ourselves these questions in part because fewer and fewer of us conceive of life as having the three “traditional” stages: a short early stage devoted to learning, a long middle stage dedicated to work, and a later stage devoted to enjoying one’s golden years. Instead, with growing frequency, we’re alternating between changing jobs and careers, pursuing opportunities for education, and making time for periods of rest and restoration.News