Career Change: Imagine doing something else

“You start doing something and close your eyes long enough, you can’t imagine doing anything else.” a bartender explaining why he still works at a bar despite being an alcoholic in The Numbers Station (a forgettable John Cusack film)
My friends at General Electric will sometimes talk to me in a way that makes me realize that they have been “institutionalized” similarly. Each has worked at GE for 20 plus years.  Tehy will discuss the “GE world” as if it is the work world. They will reference high level GE executives as if they are well known celebrities.  Jack Welch, former CEO, left a decade ago. He was a genuine public celebrity.  Current CEO Jeffery Immelt is not.  Those who are a notch below him are mostly unknown outside the business world.
That’s simply a symptom of institutionalization and not a big problem. The real challenge has been discussing life post-GE.  They knew that GE was potentially leaving Connecticut for at least the last 3 years.  But they stayed without making a post-Connecticut departure plan.  Since these are friends and not career counseling clients, I did not push as I hard as I normally would have (perhaps I should have) to get them to imagine doing something else.
My career counseling work is now, in part, to help my clients develop their vision for doing something more fulfilling.