Sounds like we are all suffering from the same health problem - extended aging in place. If you live long enough, it's almost inevitable that the job you once loved will become unbearable. It's the cycle of life.
I started out to be an engineer, but took a detour into the practice of law. For about 30 years, I handled primarily products liability cases, investigating and trying cases involving equipment failures, explosions, fires, electrical events, chemical events, etc. People died in these cases, or were horribly injured; some involved massive losses of property or profits. The folks I worked with - insurers, manufacturers, engineers, consulting experts, police, fire investigators, doctors and others - took their work very seriously; for us, it was much more than just money. We wanted to get it right, which usually meant an extreme effort involving forensic investigation, scientific experimentation, interrogation and cross-examination of witnesses, and intensive critical thinking and analysis. There was no room for short-cuts, untested assumptions or sloppy logic. The process was demanding and expensive.
For the first 15-20 years or so, I was in heaven. Great clients, full technical support, close working relationships with the client's engineers and safety people, unquestioning dedication to finding the answers and trying the cases.
Starting in the late 1990's, we began to notice a shift. Our traditional manufacturing clients, more and more, were being run by bean counters, not engineers. The emphasis changed from defending the integrity of the product (and the people behind the product) to minimizing legal expenses. Companies that had traditionally been self-insured, and so in total control of their defenses, were now buying insurance, and turning over the claims and defense roles to claims people with no experience with the product. Outside counsel were being saddled with onerous reporting requirements, and subjected to unilateral editing of invoices without regard to the actual value of the services. It became a race to the bottom. The cooperative, coordinated effort was gone.
By 2010, I had moved as far away from working for insurers as I could. My concept of doing a good job for the client just did not mesh with their cost-cutting and total disregard for the long-term financial health of their insureds. But the die was cast; even my self-insured clients (whose numbers were rapidly dwindling due to outsourcing to offshore manufacturing) were hiring both managers and lawyers who were ignorant of the history and functioning of the products. There was no longer a market for expertise or institutional knowledge. It was the age of the MBA consultants - absolutely devoid of any understanding of the products, but absolutely certain that they could "save the business".
At 67, I can see the end of the track ahead. I have a small core group of clients, but the joy of the work is largely gone. My wife will retire at the end of this year, and I will play out the string for another year or two, while we transition to our retirement home and sell off the excess stuff. I treasure the memories of work well done during the heyday; I have no affection for the business decisions that have gradually disassembled the integrity of the manufacturing process in so many of these companies. I am anxious to leave it all behind, raise a sail, and head out for new destinations.