Arthur Borriello, Nathalie Brack | Journal of European Integration
Accounts of structural changes to the nature of work, employment, and the economy are numerous. Many of these accounts frame the transition from industrial to post-industrial regimes as destabilizing, bringing about a fundamental transformation to work, the economy, and labour markets. These changes are often juxtaposed against the backdrop of permanence. This article argues that while these accounts are romanticized and over-simplistic, ‘traditional’ notions of stability and linear progress remain the rhetorical benchmark for work and career. Drawing on narrative interviews with individuals who have undergone significant career change, the article examines the subjective, intimate, and interpersonal aspects of careers that are unstable, or in transition. These insights highlight how emphasis on structural changes to work and career can overshadow the discursive prevalence of more traditional or linear notions; that the expectation of progress, promotion, and linearity – often associated with ‘traditional’ work, or organizational/industrial career trajectories – remains hegemonic.