Anyone can face a mid-career crisis. Even when you are at a successful position with a fulfilling job, there can be mid-career crisis. For a woman professional, this is very common.
You know you are in a mid-career crisis when you face any of the following situations in your professional career.
- You are not enjoying your work
- You continuously ask yourself whether you want to continue with your present job or whether you should look for something else
- There is decreased motivation
- Productivity goes down
- You are not satisfied with your work
- You want to avoid coming to office
- You feel stressed, tired or depressed
- You unnecessarily lose your temper
- Once you are back home, you are in a grumpy mood etc. etc.
So many of us have faced or will face this phase in our professional life one day or the other. Why only professional life? Even in our personal life too, we face this mid-life crisis.
What are the causes that lead to this professional crisis?
If we carefully observe, such a crisis usually appears when you are in your mid 40s or early 50s. That is why, it has rightly been referred as mid-career crisis.
There can be external factors that aggravate mid-career crisis. For a woman, the external factors are the main causes of a career slump. You have a family to look after, you have duties of your in-laws and parents, your children are growing up and you are worried about their studies and future, you are not being able to give time to your spouse, you are not being able to attain a perfect work-life balance and so on.
When it comes to internal factors, these are mainly related to your job and work profile. You have failed to reach your professional goals, there is no progression in your career, there are no new opportunities for you related to your field, you are not learning anything new….all these definitely contribute to mid-career depression.
For young professionals, such crisis, even if it appears, does not make any difference as they are in that enthusiastic phase of their lives where they can experiment, change and work. If they don’t like one job, they can easily move on to another job. But, when you attain the age of 45 or 50 years, you have already made a mark in your company. You feel, “Oh! I don’t want to appear for another interview”. You feel, “What am I doing here? Am I really happy with my job? Am I getting the right package for my job? Is this sufficient for me and my family? What is my future in my job? What am I learning?” and so on. Such questions crop into our mind frequently.
How to handle mid-career crisis?
As already mentioned, mid-career crisis can happen to anyone. When it affects you, it inflicts pain, stress and suffering. It is a loss for the company as well, as your productivity goes down. Yet, this phenomenon at workplace has never been given much importance on the part of the employers and the HR and many important questions remain unanswered. Usually, get rid of a mid-career crisis remains on the hands of the professionals themselves. And many of them resign. But, should resignation be the only solution for this?
How can HR help?
At an official level, HR and employers should come up with mid-career mentoring programs. While many professionals go to mentors in their early phase of their career, many are not aware of the fact that mentoring is actually a life-long process. There should be a corporate culture that should address mid-career dis-satisfaction and should provide support to employees to reorient themselves or to explore new opportunities. Some remedial measures can be:
- Organizing skill-training programs
- Occasional recreational trips
- Meditation and recreational programs
- Providing different job opportunities within the same company
- Or giving sabbatical breaks and so on.
How can you help yourself?
While a mid-career crisis is not something that you as a professional like to face yet, when you actually face the situation, you cannot give into it completely to take a toll of your life. Infact, mid-career crisis gives you a chance to re-evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. It is you who have to take up measures to get rid of your weaknesses or work more on your strengths. If your company is not doing anything for you, it is you who have to take the necessary steps as mentioned above. Take a break, learn something new, take up a new hobby, explore more, meditate and relax, rejuvenate yourself to start the second phase of your career with more vigor and enthusiasm.
Mid-career crisis is not the end…
Mid-career crisis is not the end of your professional career. Infact, you can say, this is just the beginning of a new “YOU” and a better “YOU”. When you start your new phase of your career in your second innings, job satisfaction increases again, and if you are lucky, you can reach even higher levels than earlier in your job. So, mid-career crisis is not that bad provided you know how to handle the situation and essentially form a U-shaped career curve.
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