Career choice: how your job changes you

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Written By Maya Cantina
Our work shapes us more than most everyday experiences. © Hinterhaus Productions/​Getty Images

Work is half-life, they say. You can take that literally. Research shows that our work sometimes has a greater impact on our personality than many private events. Researchers have surveyed thousands of workers over the decades and tried to find out how different jobs change people. Are bankers becoming more conscientious in their private lives, teachers more pedantic and carpenters more precise? Experts answer this in the podcast ZEIT-WISSEN.

The second article is about the delicate transition from working life to retirement. When you lose your job, an important part of your life suddenly disappears. That is not always easy. We guide a retiree from Germany who passes on his knowledge abroad – thanks to an organization that brings retired specialists together with companies all over the world.

In his impossible column, Christoph Drösser also investigates the question of why countries with a high level of equality have a low share of women in mathematics, engineering and natural sciences.

A free sample copy of the ZEIT knowledge magazine you can get it at zeit.de/wissen-podcast.

Feedback and ideas are very welcome! Write to podcast@zeit-wissen.de.

(00:00) Introduction
(02:09) How work changes us
(04:36) Young professionals are becoming more conscientious
(08:48) Can the job change you?
(10:06) Like the personality Career choice influenced
(11:27) What professional success depends on
(13:53) If retirees want to continue working
(6 p.m.) The rental company for SES retirees
(21:48) Depression during retirement
(23:22) The impossible column
(27:15) Preview

(When commercials play, chapters shift approximately 45 seconds.)

Show notes

A Overview study from 2023 shows that work sometimes has a stronger influence on personality than romantic relationships.

Steve Woods shows in this work the interactions between job and personality, and he also conducts research about childhood and later work.

Jaap Denissen has the self-descriptions of employees compared to expectations of them.

Eva Asselmann has to Beginning and end of working life research and a book about the consequences of individual life events published.

Chia-Huei Wu is a management professor in London and, in a 2021 study together with co-authors, explored: or becoming a boss can change our personality.

Max Rauner’s article from the ZEIT knowledge magazine you can read here.

At the Senior Expert Service Retirees who want to pass on their expertise on a voluntary basis can register.

The flour mill Serghei and Ala Nichita in Iurceni, Moldova, can be reached via Facebook.

Christoph Drösser’s impossible column refers to three studies: The gender equality paradox in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education; the French study stated Gender stereotypes can explain the gender equality paradox; the Bonn study: Relationship between gender differences in preferences for economic development and gender equality.

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