30 Dec What is a Mid-Career Crisis and How to Deal with it?
The work dynamics are shifting rather drastically than ever before. In the backdrop of such rapid developments lurk several challenges that according to experts were non-existent until a decade ago. Mid-life crisis is a term we are all familiar with, but the mid-career crisis is a new-age fallout of swiftly evolving technology. Here I have enunciated the origin, symptoms, and countermeasures to overcome this crisis.
What is a mid-career crisis?
Conventionally, professionals considered themselves fortunate to land a decent job foreseeing the prospects of climbing the ladder gradually and retiring from more or less the same organization. The past two decades have been witness to a barrage of technological developments and associated changes. These advancements in turn triggered an onslaught of changes in the industry and business models. Business leaders had no choice but to adopt these changes to stay relevant and compete in the market. And in order to do so, a lot of newer technical skills were required and eventually experts to drive the change.
All of a sudden the hiring market demanded prospects with the latest skills and other expertise in tandem with the evolving technologies. And everyone was expected to upgrade or relearn to keep their jobs. In the rush to adapt to these changes, professionals resorted to upgraded tools and training, and out of nowhere, there was a sudden surge in the trend of jumping ships for better opportunities owing to the myriad doors of possibilities that were abruptly thrown open. This race is what created a platform for a mid-career crisis. With the growing options, professionals felt the need to constantly make decisions in favor of career growth. But a couple of years into this competitive struggle, it suddenly dawned on many that they have lost sight of what truly matters to their mental well-being and life as well. I know it sounds very much like a mid-life crisis, so know that a mid-career crisis is a major part of the former but equally independent of it.
- Lack of enthusiasm at work
- A perpetual sense of dissatisfaction irrespective of good pay and success
- Blurring of personal goals
- Incompatibility between personal and professional values, expectations, and competence
- Foreseeing a lack of growth opportunities in the current role and organization
- The age-old human attribute of comparing and despairing over other’s growth
- Growing restlessness and defensive approach towards your own shortcomings
How to address a mid-career crisis?
We all want to lead a meaningful life. A life without purpose is a drain of talent, possibilities, and happiness. When you miss the deeper meaning in your life, is when you suffer from a mid-life crisis. Similarly, a career that starts feeling purposeless and obsolete in view of your future life is when you are suffering from a mid-career crisis. Hence, it needs to be addressed urgently and you should apply yourself to the following tasks:
- Differentiate between a Challenge and Crisis
Very often, you shy away from a challenge eventually affecting to the extent that you view it as a crisis. Challenges are the seedlings of growth and hence need to be viewed as opportunities for progress. Evaluate if what you feel is plain fear of being incompetent to face that challenge or you are simply uninterested in applying yourself to the challenge. If it’s the latter, be sure that you are facing a mid-career crisis.
- Retrospect and Define your Expectations
Once, you know you are going through a crisis; you need to first calm yourself and understand that time changes you and also the world around you. So do not hesitate to make a conscious effort to retrospect and determine what has changed and what your pain points are. How have your personal values and goals shifted over the course of your career? What is it you want as part of your growth NOW? Have you discovered a deeper meaning to your life and career that will contribute to that aspect? Where do you see yourself a couple of years from now? Answer these questions and you will be able to define your expectations and goals that may seem completely contradictory to your previous ones, and that’s absolutely fine!
- Keep them real
When defining your changed approach, ensure you’ve got it right this time. Keep it real, achievable, and above all personally gratifying irrelevant of the income or position. Even if you choose to make a 360-degree shift from a coveted position in a global organization to an entrepreneur, remember to give yourself the time and patience to achieve your goals with perseverance.
- Explore possibilities in the current role
Before judging your current position as a dead-end, explore any opportunities for growth in consultation with your employers and mentors to avoid regretting your decision in the future. Tie up all the loose ends to get a clear picture of your current situation and future prospects without taking a hasty decision. Even after your efforts, if you realize you are still stuck, by all means, take the dive!
- Accept the fact and embrace the change
Once, you decide to go for a career change plan, accept the premise of your decision, and be open to new challenges. Never has a newly created path been smooth or without bumps. Embrace all the pebbles, potholes, and bumps to fulfill your expectations.
- Restart with a Fresh Perspective
You have chosen a different path purely out of the need to connect with your inner passion which seemed to be fizzling out in your previous career path. Always condition your mind to remember this perspective, because even the most satisfying jobs are guaranteed to present a low phase at some point in time.
I have tried to bring to the fore a holistic view of this concept. And if you have noted, everything boils down to just one aspect – PASSION. When you lose your passion in a particular role even after investing efforts in trying to revive it, you should call it a day and articulate your perspective in life and career. This is a situation where you are the victim of your own decisions and judge as well. So judge wisely and pass a verdict that will redeem you of your crisis.