View Full Version : Career Change: How common in your culture?

08-02-06, 22:39
This is one of the cultural differences I've seen between the US and Japan which makes me wonder about the rest of the world.

It seems to me career change in the US is much more common and acceptable compared to Japan where age limit is often listed as a qualification. Most Japanese people I know have had the same job as long as I know them, or they changed it only once in their entire life.

On the other hand, I was once told by my in-laws and friends not to be so nervous when I had to tell my former employer that I was switching my job because it was such a common practice in America. I also heard about a lawyer who gave up his proffession and became a hotdog vender.

So, how common is a career change in your culture? I would be happy to hear your oppinions on this.

08-02-06, 23:06
It's definitely pretty easy in the US. I've met people who retired from real estate because they wanted to be high school teachers, accountants who become restauranteurs, etc etc. If you have the ability, it doesn't matter what your past is. That said, one reason it's so common is because more and more people want to run their own business as they get older. Sometimes people like the lawyer in the original post are just saving up so they can chase their dreams...of selling hot dogs.

I'm looking forward to changing careers a few times. Right now I'm in accounting, but I want to try marketing, teaching, and running a bar.

08-02-06, 23:40
It's quite common in the UK, too, and becoming more common as short-term contracts become the norm. A 'job for life' is no longer normal here. That's good for keeping up your interest, of course, but less good for people looking for security for whatever reason.

I've been doing the same job for over 2 years now, and already I'm feeling pressure to 'move on' rather than 'stagnate' in the same place! :o

Ma Cherie
09-02-06, 07:33
We all know that changing careers in most Western cultures is quite normal. I had the idea that in the Japan this was quite the opposite. I also learned that in Japan, people aren't normally promoted based on their abilities, but promoted based on their age. I don't know, maybe in Japan there's not a lot of career mobility. :?

09-02-06, 09:15
I think in both Japan and western countrys, its most down to carear expectations rather than carear changes being socially acceptable/normal or not.
Most people i know where i live and are around my age(18-25yrs old), have already changed jobs numerous times already, mostly because of slight changes in the monthly/yearly payment or because of other attractive offers like increase in holidays etc. Alot people around my age also changes jobs, even if their new job doesn't offer anything more in terms of payment or similar stuff, simply because they get bored doing the same job all the time, even if its not that long a time.
Most people that i know my age though, are expected to have aspirations of getting into a really well payed job or doing further education like going to uni after finishing school or doing other similar educational courses like apprenticeships- i think regually changing carears become less common as people age, as when most people get older, they just want to settle down more to a more stable life, or they already have a pretty good idea of what they want to do with their life.

09-02-06, 16:03
Where I live, a lot of people have no choice. Not so long ago there were basically two choices - mining if you lived in the country and working in a pottery factory if you lived in the town. Now all the mines and most of the potbanks have closed down, so people have had no choice but to change career. Most are now working in call centres or warehouses.

I have been doing this job for 2.5 years, but since I am on a temporary contract it could end any time. I was in my previous job for 4 years. I might have stayed in that job my whole life if my boss hadn't been such a git! :D

09-02-06, 16:54
I'm currently on my third career.:cool:

09-02-06, 17:18
Career changes have become very common these days in America. I'm in the process of changing mine now. Many people change their careers three or four times in their lifetimes.

10-02-06, 00:00
Here career changes are also pretty much common.I think these days getting a job for life isn't that easy with the changing economy and people getting the boot once in a while :souka:

10-02-06, 01:57
I also learned that in Japan, people aren't normally promoted based on their abilities, but promoted based on their age.
It seems very likely that way, the age and the length of employment especially for civil servants.

It's quite common in the UK, too, and becoming more common as short-term contracts become the norm.
The number of jobs for temporary contractors have been increasing for the last two decades in Japan as well, and I think many of IT, secretary, marketing jobs are filled by them.

Where I live, a lot of people have no choice. Not so long ago there were basically two choices - mining if you lived in the country and working in a pottery factory if you lived in the town.
Thanks for mentioning that Tsuyoiko, that was partially what I was very curious about. I was wondering about trends of career changes in places with jobs like that. Or, people who have had jobs with specific skills that you earn from working in the field such as pottery, smithing, painting etc.

10-02-06, 05:35
In the town where i live theres a large variety of places you can work at, its a small town which is very near other small towns, so its not difficult to work in any of the neighbouring towns as the public transport is quite good here(good bus system and railway station/s is quite near).
Most people my age work in the local factorys, the small shops in town like the grocery stores, petshop, clothes shops, art and antiques shops etc and there is also a Morrisons/Safeway in town where many people work.
There's things like the banks, local school, travel and estate agents for those who want a higher paid job and there's also no shortage of people wanting managers and supervisors and stuff etc :) .
It may be a small town, but its a very busy community :cool: .

10-02-06, 20:20
I've had quite a few "careers", if you want to call them that, in my lifetime. Starting out in the military I was a clerk, worked in the base post office, was a reporter for the base newspaper and then I was a Medical Laboratory Technician where I worked with blood and did various tests. However, most of the two years I did that job, I worked in the Pathology Dept. where I mostly assisted on autopsies. All these jobs were done in the span of 5 1/2 years.

From there I went on to college in Japan where I wanted to become an international businessman. Upon graduation I tested the field in New York at the Bank of Tokyo in '81. But that proved disappointing and only lasted a year. I returned to Japan to open and operate my own English school until the economy got out of control in the late 80's.

Five years later I returned to the states where I worked at a Japanese company that provided automotive conveyors for Toyota and Nissan. Here I thought I had found my calling, but the stress, travel and long hours began to take it's toll on me and I figured I had to somehow get out of my present job.

My boyhood dream was driving an 18-wheeler big truck. But being a "college graduate" I thought that was beyond me. As the job became more stressful I began to seriously consider it until I found the right company with great pay. Not as much as I was making as a businessman, but good enough.

Much to the consternation of my superiors and collegues I made the jump. My immediate superior, the Japanese President of the company tried to talk me out of it, saying what a good position and future I had and that at my age ( I was 43 at the time) I may not likely be able to get a similar job and position if I left. I decided to leave anyway as I hated the stress and hassle of reports, budgets, endless meetings, travel, long hours, etc. and that if I didn't, I may not have another opportunity. Plus the stress was taking a toll on my marriage as I was too exhausted on the weekends to do anything. Many people thought I was throwing away a good career and education for a job that anyone without "an education" could do. A "Blue Collar" job so to speak. I resigned anyway and followed my heart.

That was almost eight years ago and I have not regretted it one bit. I have never been happier nor have I had more freedom in my life and I throughly enjoy what I am doing. And I GET PAID for doing something I love! (How many can say that and mean it?) I answer to no one but myself. No superiors, no meetings, no budgets, no phone calls, no reports, no projections to meet and explain why they were not met, etc. Just me, the satellite radio, and the road. It's not for everyone, but it's for me and I'm glad I did it.