A mid-career crisis can happen to anyone. It can hit even those who objectively have the most fulfilling jobs. When it does, it inflicts pain on the individual and causes productivity losses for employers. Yet, the phenomenon remains stigmatised and under-researched, leaving crucial questions unanswered. What are the causes? Why does this malaise seem to strike in mid-life?
Millennials, are often portrayed to be overly optimistic, expecting significant increases in life satisfaction, rather than anticipating the U-curve. During the mid-career phase, a person has no clarity about future and become hopeless about career and carries this low mood or unexplained bouts of depression. The person doesn’t feel motivated or ambitious as usual. There is a change in eating, sleeping and habit patterns. All these changes or symptoms are initially noticed by family, friends and colleges rather than by the person himself.
What is a mid-career crisis?
A period of stress/depression or emptiness in between the age of 35+ -60+, due to unhappiness with a job, health, relationship, family or overall life. With time, the person starts losing interest in things. People don’t find the meaning in life. It’s a period of doubt over personal and professional abilities.
Professional impact of mid-career crisis
Employees of all segments are susceptible to such crisis. It impacts mostly when a person is about to start a new business or close an old venture after a decade of working. At the age of 40, unemployment, sudden job shift and forced adjustment to work in the organisation after so many years of work experience leads towards mid-career crisis. Sometimes person’s ability do not match with the organisation and due to financial reasons the person continues the work or job also heads towards dissatisfaction in life.
Effects of mid-life crisis
Men and women who think little of what they want out of life and more about others often suffer such crisis more. People who avoid conflicts and put tight rein on their emotions are more inclined towards such situations. Women do face these experiences at some point in their lives. It is an emotional crisis which hits the confidence of the person. Men are more prone to this crisis.
“As an expert I would believe that balanced approach of work life balance helps to overcome such situations. Career and relationships are equally important in life. Person should get involve in hobbies, areas of interest and personal dreams”, says Dr. Nisha Khanna, a psychologist.
Nisha says, “A person should take care of physical health as well as emotional health as ‘I’ is equally important as ‘WE’. Independence along with interdependence is identically essential pillar of life. Hence a person should think that an individual growth is significant aspect of life like career, relationship and social growth. Support of a partner, family and friends to boost the confidence and self-esteem of the person aid to change the perspective from negative to positive of the concerned person as such crisis stays from 2-5 years of life”.
Coping with mid-career crisis
– Plan your future. Invest more thought into the years ahead than behind you.
– Think about what you’ve learned about yourself so far. Consider your strongest abilities and things that please you, as opposed to what your parents or society expected of you when you were young.
– Don’t be afraid to make changes. A new career choice is not an unreasonable move.
– You have a better chance of succeeding, if your choices are based on knowledge and experience, rather than youthful blind ambition.
– It is absolutely necessary to make use of a support network; individuals should discuss major life changes with their colleagues, friends, families, professional therapist or counselor.
As we age, things often don’t turn out as nicely as we planned. We may not climb up the career ladder as quickly as we wished. Or we do, only to find that prestige and a high income are not as satisfying as we expected them to be. At the same time, high expectations about the future adjust downwards. You have to allow your midlife to be a time of creative change. Although it may be painful at first, it can be your greatest opportunity for having the life you want or gaining a sense of peace.