The following article by Rebecca Knight, a freelance journalist in Boston and a lecturer at Wesleyan University, might be of interest to clients wanting IAG on mid-life career moves.
We all have times when we wonder, “Am I at the right company? Am I in the right job? And is this all there is?”
These questions are especially agonizing for mid-career professionals who may be searching for fulfillment while juggling demands at home and intense financial pressures to earn. How should you address a mid-career crisis? What actions can you take to improve your professional satisfaction? How can you combat the dullness and tedium of your workaday life? And how can you tell if it’s time to make a drastic change?
What the Experts Say
Mid-career malaise runs deep. It’s much more than just an “episodic moment” of frustration or “a particularly gruesome work project” that depletes you, says Gianpiero Petriglieri, associate professor of
organizational behavior at INSEAD. “It’s a protracted feeling of, ‘Am I missing something?’” This type of professional discontent is relatively common in middle age, he says. “Midlife is the time where you lose the illusion of immortality. You know your opportunities aren’t endless, and you realize that time is finite,” he says. Even people who have achieved a great deal of career success aren’t immune to these feelings, says Whitney Johnson, an executive coach and the author several books including Build an A-Team. “They question: ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?’” She says that while “it’s natural and normal to experience professional restlessness,” you must heed “the call to action.” You need to be “proactive and figure out what to do about it.” Here’s how.
Reflect and reframe
For starters, identify the cause of your professional discontent. “When you have a sense of malaise, you begin to question everything,” Petriglieri says. “But you need to break down the problem and start with the place where it hurts. Is it your job? Or the organization you’re in?” Depending on your answer, “the prescription is different.” Of course, it’s not easy to rethink your professional path in middle age, when you’ve likely got a number of nonnegotiable commitments to consider — maybe a mortgage, a spouse or partner who has their own career, and children in school. If you find yourself dwelling on what holds you back, Johnson recommends “reframing the constraints.” When you’re young and you can live and work anywhere in the world, plotting your career path is incredibly daunting — “almost paralyzing,” she says. “But in middle age, the scope is tighter.” You know you “need to work in certain geographic regions” and “earn a certain amount of money” to live. “The constraints are actually helpful.” Read more