Are you experiencing a mid-career crisis?

There’s something that happens to you when you hit mid-life.  The same occurs when you hit mid-career.

You know what I mean.

You become very aware of time.

Time that has already passed.  Time in the present. And how much time you may have left in the future to do everything you hope.

You begin to ask yourself existential questions like:

  • Are you in the right career?
  • Have you made the impact you always dreamed of?
  • Are you spending your work time the way you want to?
  • What sacrifices for work have you made? And have they been worth it?

This experience generally occurs between the ages of 35 and 50 (but it can occur at other ages as well) and is commonly called a mid-career crisis.  Some refer to it as a mid-career plateau.

But I prefer to call it a mid-career reflection point.

 

Crisis or Reflection Point?

 

I am not usually a stickler for labels, but in this case it is important not to assume the negativity inferred by the word “crisis”.

First of all, the mid-career time period is a natural part of everyone’s career journey.

Sometimes it lasts a day, a week, months, or even years.

But almost every human being that has dedicated years of time and energy to a career will at some point go through this experience.

Second, it is actually very healthy to occasionally question one’s career choices.

To check in with yourself to confirm that you still enjoy your work.  To reconfirm or shift your goals.  To make changes in your career or to stay the course.

Use of the phrase mid-career ‘crisis’ suggests that there is an acute problem that requires immediate intervention.

But that is not always the case.

Signs You May Be Experiencing A Mid-Career Crisis Reflection Point.

 

That mid-career time period is fairly unique in that you’ve already dedicated several years to your career and you have several years ahead of you as well.

You’re no longer a newbie.  And you’re no where near traditional retirement age.

So you know enough to be a little dangerous.  Lol.  But you can still see a runway for yourself to continue to learn and grow.

 

Common signs that you may be at a mid-career crisis reflection point include:

 

*You’re bored. 

*You’re not fulfilled. You dread going to work on Mondays.  What used to fulfill you about your work, no longer does.

*You’re distracted.  You spend a lot of time – even when you are working – thinking about other things.

*You lack patience.  You have a short fuse.  Things that are a normal part of work and that used to just roll out off your back, constantly set you off.

*Your work product declines. The quality of your work or your work relationships start takes a turn for the worse.

*You feel burned out. You’re tired all of the time with absolutely no energy.  You feel unable to show up for work they way you used to.

 

If you experience one or more of these over an extended period of time, you may be at a mid-career reflection point.

How To Deal With Your Mid-Career Crisis Reflection Point.

 

1.Figure out your why.

It’s not enough to determine that you are experiencing a mid-career crisis reflection point.

To take the appropriate steps to address it, you must uncover why.

What is making you feel bored, or restless, or (fill in the blank)?

 

2.Confirm that it is really work related.

It is very common for problems or challenges in our personal lives to also impact us at work.

So before taking any action,  it is important to ensure that the feelings you’re experiencing are 100% work related and not a by-product of things happening or not happening in other areas of your life.

 

3.Make small adjustments.

Many make the mistake of jumping straight to big changes  -i.e.,  changing careers, quitting your job, etc.

In your career, these can be pretty significant and disruptive.

So, to get your career fulfillment back on track, you may want to consider other solutions first.  Such as:

  • Take some time away from work. A few weeks of vacation or a short career break/sabbatical (which usually last from 1 month to 1 year).
  • Request a work assignment or project that interests you. This breaks you out of the monotony of your current work and would give you something new and different to look forward to.
  • Add a new skill to your toolbox. If there is a certification or new skill you’ve put off getting, now may be a good time to pursue it.  Putting together a development plan and learning something new helps you use a different part of your brain and reconnects you to the excitement you often felt at the start of your career.

 

4.Get a leadership or career coach.

Having a sounding board and someone in your corner as you navigate this period of your career can be invaluable.

A coach can support you through the professional and emotional aspects of your mid-career journey.

They can help you get to the root of challenges you may be experiencing as well as help you pinpoint the right solution.

 

5.Consider changing companies.

It is possible that you still love your work and your career, but your current work environment is no longer a good fit.

You may have outgrown the relationships.

Maybe you’re stuck in your current leadership position because your company doesn’t clearly see and value your potential.

Or it could just simply be that you want the challenge of starting fresh at a new organization (maybe even your own company as an entrepreneur).

 

6.Consider changing careers.

One of the most exciting things about the era we are living in is that information is so readily available and almost anything seems possible.

You may want to do something completely different for the next part of your work life.

New people. New organization.  New industry.  New career field.

You can take some of the skills you’ve built in the first part of your career and leverage them in the next chapter!

Final Thoughts.

 

Mid-career reflection can help you question or reinforce career decisions you’ve made up to this point.

But no matter the outcome, the act of reflecting on your choices throughout your career is a very healthy practice.

If you find yourself ruminating or feeling stuck in your reflection, that is a clear sign that you need to either get some support or start taking action to change your circumstances.

The first and most important action to take is to uncover the why behind what you’re feeling or experiencing.

And from there, you can determine the best longer-term resolution for you.

 

 

 

 

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