Greg Wilson spent much of autumn 2021 peering out from behind his laptop as his wife and their three small children headed off to the zoo or a playground near their St. Louis home, returning hours later, bubbly and smiling. “I kept getting jealous,” says the 43-year-old. “They were having fun every day, and I wanted to join them.” But as program manager at a large financial brokerage, a line of work he’d entered in his twenties, Wilson felt he couldn’t take time off. So last November, he quit to start writing a lifestyle blog.
Wilson’s restlessness appeared right on schedule, says Allison Gabriel, professor of management and organizations at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She’s one in a growing chorus of psychology and labor experts who suggest that workers redefine “career” as a dozen or so years in a field, followed by reevaluation and rerouting. “We’re seeing people decide 10 or more years into their careers that they want to try something completely new,” she says.