When is the grass greener on the other side? A longitudinal study of the joint effect of occupational mobility and personality on the honeymoon-hangover experience during job change

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

May 15, 2021


Previous research shows that job satisfaction often increases sharply upon initial entry into the new job and gradually falls back to the baseline level over time. In this study, we propose that this ‘honeymoon‐hangover’ pattern is affected by both the direction of occupational mobility and the individual's personality in terms of extraversion and neuroticism. Drawing on the British Household Panel Survey that followed 10,000 individuals annually for 18 years, this study shows that only those who move up the occupational class ladder experience significant ‘honeymoon’ effects, while those who move downwards experience dissatisfaction that lasts for several years after the transition. While the positive effect of upward mobility is not amplified by extraversion, the negative effect of downward mobility is exacerbated by neuroticism. This study highlights the importance of taking into account both situational and dispositional factors for understanding the long‐term impact of career change on subjective well‐being.

Published in

Journal of Organizational Behavior

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 42 , p.551 -566







Open Access

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Organizational Behavior published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.



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