Are you bored with your job? Do you feel burnt out at work? Has it gone bad at the office?
I have been a financial advisor for the past 30 years. Most of my clients are now into their mid to late 50s. And recently I have heard more rumbles of dissatisfaction about work life.
An abundance of research suggests that “middle life” on average is the most difficult time of life. In 2007 David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald found that self-reported satisfaction takes the form of a “U” curve. The curve is high in youth, bottoming out in our mid-40s, then recovering again as we get older.
From the abstract of the study:
A robust U-shape of happiness in age is found. Cetris paribus, well-being reaches a minimum on both sides of the Atlantic, in peoples mid to late 40s.
Is it possible that longer life spans are pushing out this mid-career/life crisis into the 50s for some? Ken Dychtwald, in his provocative book Age Power, writes about a new life stage that rises up between 40 – 60 that Dychtwald calls “Middlescence”.
Today, with the postponement of old age that is being caused by extended longevity, we are witnessing a new life stage – middlescence – rising between 40 and 60. Like adolescence, it is emerging because a sizable group is not quite ready for life’s next stages – in this case, late adulthood and old age. Also, like adolescence, this new middlescence will likely turn out to be a period of high-spirited growth and ascension, not retreat and decline.
Jessica Sweet, who owns wishing well-coaching, works with professionals who want more meaningful work. In a recent Forbes article, Jessica writes:
“Traditional careers, like nuclear families, are welcoming new and less common models into their ranks. Gone are the jobs that allowed you to retire with a gold watch after 40 years. Now people bounce from job to job, career to career, and job hopping is rewarded in some companies. Staying in one job too long can indicate complacency.”
Demographic and economic shifts might be contributing to increasing cases of “Mid-Life Career Crisis”. I have noticed this trend with my clients as well as some of my friends and family. If you or someone you know is going through a career challenge, here are three recipes that might help.
Recipe 1: Get Quiet
In a world where information is coming at us with increasing frequency, the ability to use our intuition becomes increasingly valuable. It is our intuitive mind that can cut through all the data and provide answers to our most pressing career questions. Getting away from all the noise and data gathering is critical because experiments have revealed that intuition favors a quiet mind and a stable nervous system. Methods of cultivating a quiet mind improve the odds of being attuned to our intuition and it is likely that our intuition will reveal the path we should take to transcend our mid-life career crisis and move into our next chapter. There are many ways to get quiet including; Yoga, Meditation, Breathing Techniques and other mindfulness practices, extended time alone in nature, gardening and more.
Are you getting quiet regularly to allow your intuition to bring you ideas for your mid-life career crisis?
Recipe 2: Get Coached
Bill Gates said “Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast, or a bridge player”. Almost all world-class athletes have coaches, often several of them. The same way a talented coach can improve the performance of a world-class athlete, so too can they help with other domains of life: marriage, parenting and a mid-life career crisis! For some, the word “coach” does not resonate so you can call it: advisor, consultant or anything else. The point is that some problems and challenges are beyond our ability to solve alone and we need help. Not from a google search, but from a caring and competent human being where there is good “chemistry”. Maybe it’s a specialized career coach – or it can be another advisor: financial planner, accountant or in some cases a friend or family member. But getting an outside perspective to guide us can make all the difference in the world because they can be objective and see the things we don’t see.
Are you getting coached (or any outside help) to get through your mid-life career crisis?
Recipe 3: Take Action
While getting quiet and getting coached should help spark ideas and set you on the right path, in the end, it is only through action that you will transcend your mid-life career crisis and move on to the next phase of your life. It’s amazing how many people get bogged down in analyzing, planning and organizing, when what they really need to do is take Action. When you take measured action, not only will additional resources come your way, but you will get critical feedback that will help you adjust your course and refine your approach to transcending your mid-life career crisis.
Actions may include; revising your resume or Linked-in profile, calling an old college friend, attending a meeting or seminar, applying for a job, asking a center of influence to have lunch, picking up the phone, sending an e-mail or a text message to the right person. The right actions to take may come from recipe 1 (your intuition), recipe 2 (getting coached) but in the end, you will need to act.
What actions are you taking to get through your mid-life career crisis?
If you are in your mid-50s and in good health, you may live another 30 or 40 years. If you are starting to feel uncomfortable on Sunday night thinking about the work week, you may be experiencing a mid-life career crisis. And even if you can afford to retire it’s a long time to lounge around.
So regardless of your financial situation – your mid-life career crisis needs to be dealt with and getting quiet, getting coached, and taking action might help.