The report by IBE’s researchers Michał Danielewicz and Kamila Hernik is based on many hours of in-depth interviews with people who radically changed their profession – changing both the place and sector in which they worked. To better understand the process of changing professions, the authors placed it in a broader context and also asked respondents about their overall educational and professional pathways as well as about their families, life priorities, financial resources and key moments in their life history.

The authors propose a typology of occupational change based on the research material gathered during the fieldwork. The different types are distinguished by the reasons behind the change, the intensity of the emotions accompanying the change, the dynamics of the process or the needs it is supposed to satisfy.

  • The search – the growing need to change is accompanied by a lack of ideas for further career development. The main challenge of this path is to find an appropriate career;
  • The chance – an arising opportunity for occupational change motivates the person to analyse risks and needs. Such an opportunity is usually taken advantage of by people that are ready to give up their current work status and is usually accompanied by a process of discovering one’s own potential;
  • The escape – the change is preceded by a growing feeling of frustration, which focuses attention mainly on the work a person doesn’t want to do anymore and not on the direction of the change. Sometimes the escape is the result of an unsuccessful search for a new career.
  • The adjustment – the change is forced by external factors, such as illness, an accident or legal regulations. The main factor in further analysing a future career is to minimise the effort and costs of making the change.

The report also offers a diagnosis of the success factors in changing professions. According to the respondents, the key success factors include:

  • personality characteristics, such as determination, openness, belief in one’s strengths and skills, being a go-getter, and independence;
  • support of family and friends;
  • competences – mainly interpersonal skills, the ability to learn, having a wide range of interests, and practice in the new occupation;
  • experience in finding one’s own potential and experience in having changed one’s profession in the past (getting used to it);
  • attitude – having a clearly defined goal, the willingness to take up challenges or the need to do something that makes sense;
  • financial resources.

An unusual and interesting feature of this publication are the short stories accompanying the main text, focused on individual experiences of changing professions by conveying the personal stories of several of the study’s respondents about this process.

The publication is available here (only in Polish).