Giving (positive) meaning to downward and horizontal occupational mobility to maintain individual well-being
Keywords:occupational mobility, downward mobility, intragenerational mobility, meaningful work, subjective well-being, Latvia
This study addresses some limitations related to knowledge of the circumstances that contribute to perceptions of downward or horizontal occupational mobility as a positive experience, increasing work satisfaction, labour market security, and maintaining subjective well-being. In pursuing this objective, seven working-life biographies are examined that demonstrate causes of occupational mobility, the investment needed for transition and stabilisation, as well as attitudes towards the destination occupation. Although a sense of meaningful work helps individuals accept a reduced income, interviewees treat it as a transitional period, seeing a possibility for at least some increase in salary. Maintaining one’s original social networks while accepting a less qualified occupation also contributes to preserving individual well-being. These aspects are more pronounced in women’s life stories. A more ambiguous attitude can be seen in the experience of men who encountered occupational and financial decline. While decision-making awareness, confidence in one’s choice, and control of the process helps to stabilize potential frustration caused by decline, some isolation from previous networks appears in the keeping of distance, reducing contact intensity, or staying abroad for longer periods. Perhaps to regain their subjective sense of well-being, the former implements the principle of ‘discrete stages’ in their social life, a notion that reflects the situation of their working life.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work three months after publication simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. This acknowledgement is not automatic, it should be asked from the editors and can usually be obtained one year after its first publication in the journal.