How to Overcome a Mid-Career Crisis in 7 Steps
You started your career with dreams and aspirations, charting a course toward your definition of professional success.
Yet, somewhere along the way, you realize your current career path aligns differently from those initial ambitions.
This realization can be the spark that ignites a mid-career crisis.
But here’s the silver lining: A mid-career crisis isn’t just a time of confusion and frustration — It’s an opportunity to reassess and redefine your path forward.
This blog will share the common signs and causes of a mid-career crisis and seven steps to overcome it.
Common signs of a mid-career crisis
If you’re unsure if you’re having a mid-career crisis, there are some common signs you can look for to help you determine if you are.
Feeling unhappy at work is a sign of a mid-career crisis
If you’re regularly unhappy in the workplace, don’t connect with your company’s culture, or feel fulfilled, it could be a sign you’re having a mid-career crisis.
The lack of enjoyment when tackling daily work tasks can indicate that your current role doesn’t align with your passions or goals.
Feeling unmotivated is a sign of a mid-career crisis
Continually feeling unmotivated in your professional life and having difficulty completing tasks promptly can be another sign of a mid-career crisis.
When you don’t have challenging, meaningful work, it can be easy to lose your motivation, leading to procrastination or avoidance of the task altogether.
Questioning your skills is a sign of a mid-career crisis
If you’re questioning the relevancy and worth of your skills or whether you have the right qualifications, it’s a sign that you may need to reassess your current role or switch up your career path.
It could be that you need more confidence in which direction to take or require more specialized training for different roles.
7 steps to overcome a mid-career crisis
Accepting your feelings, trying a new hobby, and exploring new industries are steps to overcome a mid-career crisis.
- Accept your feelings
- Disconnect and take a break
- Upskill to offer more value at work
- Explore new industries
- Look for new opportunities
- Try a new hobby
- Be ready to make a difficult decision
1. Accept your feelings to overcome a mid-career crisis
You can’t fix an issue you don’t acknowledge, so take time to explore and understand your feelings.
This means being honest with yourself about your dissatisfaction with your current path.
It may feel overwhelming, but acknowledging your feelings is vital in overcoming a mid-career crisis.
2. Disconnect and take a break to overcome a mid-career crisis
Sometimes, you need to step away from your job, and life stresses to gain clarity.
Recharge with a vacation or weekend getaway to clear your mind so you can come back refreshed and better equipped to tackle your mid-career crisis with an action plan.
3. Upskill to offer more value at work to overcome a mid-career crisis
Suppose you want to stay in your current industry.
In that case, upskilling can significantly increase your marketability as an employee and make you more attractive for a promotion or other opportunities at your current company.
Look into relevant courses and certifications, or even consider returning to school (your current employee could even cover the cost!) that can help you gain new skills and broaden your knowledge in the field.
4. Explore new industries to overcome a mid-career crisis
Sometimes, the best way to overcome a mid-career crisis is to explore other industries and roles that may be more fulfilling.
Think about what you love doing and research different roles within those industries that could potentially match up with your skillsets and career goals.
Even consider hiring a career coach to help you identify new industries where your skills would match.
5. Look for new opportunities to overcome a mid-career crisis
Once you have figured out what role is best for you, it’s time to search the job market for new opportunities.
Start networking, seeking mentorship, and looking online to see if any openings match your criteria.
Be bold in applying to roles that you may not be fully qualified for yet either – they could be the stepping stone to a more fulfilling career.
6. Try a new hobby to overcome a mid-career crisis
Trying a new hobby or activity can be a great way to remove the focus from your career and open up more possibilities.
It could be something as simple as taking up a language, learning to paint, or traveling – the choice is yours!
Taking time out of your day to do something that you find enjoyable will help you cope with the long-term transition period in your career.
7. Be ready to make a difficult decision to overcome a mid-career crisis
Once you have identified the root cause of your mid-career crisis (low wages, toxic company culture, or micromanaging boss) and taken steps to explore new opportunities, it’s time to plan for a difficult decision.
Consider making a pros and cons list of whether you should switch career paths or stay in your current role. Again, a career coach or recruiting professional can help you explore new opportunities if you resign.
You should also talk through this transition with family and friends for their perspective so you can make the most informed decision.
Common reasons for a mid-career crisis
Unmet expectations, lack of career mobility, and shifting personal priorities are just a few reasons you could experience a mid-career crisis.
Unmet expectations can cause a mid-career crisis
Your workload may not match your current pay scale, or your career trajectory has gradually shifted away from what you expected it to entail.
Either way, misalignment in your career can lead to dissatisfaction as an employee.
Lack of career mobility can cause a mid-career crisis
You’ve upskilled or attempted to negotiate a new salary, and…it fell flat.
If you cannot progress in your career or feel stagnant in your role, it can lead to dissatisfaction and feeling unchallenged.
Regrets about the past can cause a mid-career crisis
You hastily declared a college major or felt pressure from outside expectations to choose a particular career path.
Now, you feel trapped in a career that doesn’t reflect who you are, your values, or what you want to create for your life.
Shifting personal priorities can cause a mid-career crisis
Your personal priorities may have shifted since you chose your current career path.
You could want to prioritize family, health, and well-being more than when you began working or feel the need to pursue a different hobby or passion.
Turn your mid-career crisis into an opportunity
A mid-career crisis can be a launchpad to a new and better stage of your professional life.
The key is identifying the signs and underlying causes, taking action, and making the necessary changes to find a career choice that aligns with your values, passions, and the impact you want to make in this world.
By following the seven steps discussed in this blog, you can overcome your mid-career crisis and find your career satisfaction.
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