You have been sailing along your career path happy as a clam. Your career is in good shape. Promotions have been coming right on schedule. You are feeling good about your prospects for reaching your career goals.
Suddenly, you hit turbulence on your career path. Advancements seem to be few and far between. You continue to do good work, but nobody appears to notice. One or two of your peers, no more capable than you, are getting ahead of you. We have many more Career Help Articles Now Available.
The job that once was so much fun is now drudgery. Malaise is the order of every day.
It is becoming crystal clear that the road to the corner office is getting narrower. There is not going to be room for everyone. You begin to wonder if you will be able to achieve your goals … on schedule or at all.
What’s happening? You are hitting the mid-career crisis.
Don’t panic. It happens to almost every one.
This trauma can occur at any age, but it most frequently takes place at about the time of that dreaded 40th birthday.
“Forty is definitely more significant than any other age,” says Christopher Stack, executive vice president of a New York executive search firm. He believes most of the significance is self-imposed.
“At 30, you’re too young and at 50 too well established – hopefully – to feel that pressure,” Stack declares.
In his book, The Corporate Steeplechase, Dr. Srully Blotnick says “the forties is the most dangerous decade for people in business … (people) in their forties are straddling, for the last time, the gap between promise and fulfillment.”
So what can you do about this threat to your peace of mind, your career success and your family life?
The first thing is to realize that the mid-career crisis is real and it is tough. It can be devastating if not dealt with in a pro-active way.
“When people reach a career crisis … very often it’s because they’re just plain tired of the treadmill,” according to Carolyn Smith Paschal, an executive recruiter from California. “At that age, people have been through a lot of struggles – getting through college, negotiating the early years of a job and a marriage, starting a family.”
Back off and put the situation in perspective.
You are probably entering a time when you will be at the peak of your ability and in a position to make your experience pay off.
You have already lived longer than Mozart, who had composed his great works before he died at age 35. Alexander the Great passed away at age 34, but not before he conquered Asia Minor. Steve Jobs had created the Apple computer dynasty and moved on to start another enterprise by the time he was 30.
But you are considerably younger than Churchill was when he led the Free World to victory in World War II. You still have a way to go before you reach the age when Henry Ford hit pay dirt with his Model T. When he was nearly 40, James Michener, author of scores of books, including Tales of the South Pacific, was told that if he had not written a book by age 35, chances were he never would.
The fact is, at 40 you are less than half way through your career.
You Do Not Have To Become Obsolete.
Recognize that you do not have to become obsolete. You can avoid this trap if you choose to work hard enough to accept and learn new ways of doing things.
Start by kicking yourself in the backside the first time you oppose a new order of things because “that’s not the way we have always done it.”
A change of duties frequently helps. Recognizing this, many companies are deliberately shifting people at the mid-career point to different jobs. Others are granting longer vacations and sabbaticals, instead of bonuses.
If your employer offers you a chance for new duties, take it. After all, the risks associated with a new challenge are not greater than continuing to butt your head against the glass wall.
If a change is not possible, renew your efforts to find the advantages in what you are doing.
Come to terms with reality. Not everyone is going to win the race.
Consider other options. How can you be happy where you are? Can you enjoy your career goals you have attained? What about continuing to work hard enough to maintain your current position relative to the rest of the world and to earn your pay? Do you really want or need to be king of the mountain to enjoy career success? We have many more Career Help Articles Now Available.