What people want from their careers also varies according to the stage
of one's career. What may have been important in an early stage may not be
important in a later one. Four distinct career stages have been identified:
trial, establishment/advancement, mid-career, and late career. Each stage
represents different career needs and interests of the individual
Trial stage: The trial stage begins with an individual's exploration of
career-related matters and ends
usually at about age 25 with a commitment on the part of the individual to a
particular occupation. Until the decision is made to settle down, the
individual may try a number of jobs and a number of organizations.
Unfortunately for many organizations, this trial and exploration stage results
in high level of turnover among new employees. Employees in this stage need
opportunities for self-exploration and a variety of job activities or
Establishment Stage: The establishment/advancement stage tends to
occur between ages 25 and 44. In
this stage, the individual has made his or her career choice and is concerned
with achievement, performance, and advancement. This stage is marked by high
employee productivity and career growth, as the individual is motivated to
succeed in the organization and in his or her chosen occupation. Opportunities
for job challenge and use of special competencies are desired in this stage.
The employee strives for creativity and innovation through new job assignments.
Employees also need a certain degree of autonomy in this stage
they can experience feelings of individual achievement and personal success.
Mid Career Crisis Sub Stage: The period occurring between the mid-thirties
and mid-forties during which people
often make a major reassessment of their progress relative to their original
career ambitions and goals.
Maintenance stage: The mid-career stage, which occurs roughly
between the ages 45 and 64, has also
been referred to as the maintenance stage. This stage is typified by a
continuation of established patterns of work behavior. The person is no longer
trying to establish a place for himself or herself in the organization, but
seeks to maintain his or her position. This stage is viewed as a mid-career
plateau in which little new ground is broken. The individual in this stage may
need some technical updating in his or her field. The employee should be
encouraged to develop new job skills in order to avoid early stagnation and
Late-career stage: In this stage the career lessens in importance
and the employee plans for retirement
and seeks to develop a sense of identity outside the work environment.