When career paths cease to exist: a qualitative study of career behavior in a crisis economy

Maria Simosi, Denise M. Rousseau, Maria Daskalaki

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Using grounded theory methodology, this study examines the ways young professionals describe their career paths in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. We interviewed a sample of 29 Greek women professionals (24 to 32 years old) to examine their career behavior during this recession. Findings reveal prevailing effects of professional identity and profession-consistent learning goals on participants’ career behavior. Specifically, those individuals without a strong professional identity or profession-consistent learning goals are more likely to anticipate and engage in career activities unrelated to their professions, a group whom we refer to as Shifters. In contrast, Sustainers, a group having strong career identity and profession-focused learning, are far more likely to anticipate and engage in career activities tied to their profession. Based on these findings, we develop postulates regarding career behavior in contexts of severe austerity and recession where conventional career paths have broken down.

© 2015. The attached document (embargoed until 28/09/2015) is an author produced version of a paper published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2015.09.009. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-146
Early online date28 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Careers
  • unemployment
  • gender

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