In one of the comments a few days ago, womagwriter wrote of an exercise that she'd been set in class. The class wrote about their characters sitting round a table having a meal, then after 10 minutes of writing the teacher said that the phone had rung/a letter had arrived with bad news, and they had to continue writing the scene.
In other words, there was a status quo, a change, followed by a period of adjustment, then a new status quo.
Readers want to read about the period of change. If a character works for 40 years at the same company then retires, we would choose to read about the character's adjustment from a world of work to a world of leisure. We wouldn't want to read about the 40 years of working.
Alternatively, if the character was sacked after 30 years of working at the same company, we'd want to read about the dismissal and how the character reacted. The preceding years of work would be of little interest.
The reason is, we want to know how the character reacts to that moment of change. In real life we have to deal with change, although we don't like it much - look at people like me, who are being dragged into the C21st by changes in the technology squeaking feebly that it's all happening too fast. Think of the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times". As human beings we don't like change - we want our relationships to stay the same, our children to go steadily through school without too many visits to see the head teacher, our jobs to remain secure.
When you're writing, at the back of your mind you need to be thinking about change. A short story is usually about one moment of change, a novel will be about many. But it's change that fuels the story telling and as writers we must find the change for our characters.