Midlife career woes, boredom, and low motivation? Uncertainty about “where to go next”? 3 reasons why smart people like you and I are stuck in a rut until today.
Midlife career change: A new job is not enough anymore
According to the Harvard Business Review, “On average, life satisfaction is high when people are young, then starts to decline in the early 30s, bottoming out between the mid-40s and 50s”. These career woes hit “senior-level executives as well as blue-collar workers and stay-at-home parents”.
This yearning for change is not like any other before! I remember, in my early 30’s, changing completely the career sector every two years was no stranger. But I never lost my “flame” for working. Now, in my late 30’s, I started to understand why people talked about the mid-life crisis. Changing a job or sector did not seem to be enough anymore.
Midlifers’ secret feelings
I remember, for months, typing in the search engine several positions. Some of them could be a dream job years before. And how I felt indifferent! Or perhaps even horrified. It seemed that the whole industry just bored me out.
Yes, desperate we are! Where to go? Good question! Because most of us are completely lost. Reality does not seem to fit into our world. “This is the best sector, I will never make such money elsewhere”. “I need to go back to school for years for another diploma if I want to switch”. Or “Launching myself in a completely new domain is so scary”.
So we can stay for years in the same job. And during these years long? We struggle to get out of unpleasant feelings… A secret fear of decreasing our performance… Or this terrible effort to hide our lack of motivation…
But why are we stuck in an effort to change? Below are three reasons why smart people like you and me get stuck in a rut until today:
1. We don’t understand why we want this midlife career change.
Some mid-lifers have all to be happy: family, good job, children… “I wish I could have enough time and money to travel and enjoy the best in life, without doing anything”, said one of my friends. Is that really what we want? Doing nothing? Or changing just for a change?
For me, retrospectively, I think there was one thing I did not recognize consciously: “I wanted to do bigger things“.
What else as normal as this wish? The state of a midlife crisis, feeling stuck, burned out, lack of passion… happens when our mind voices out its needs of “self-realization”. Do you remember the hierarchy of needs? Most of us when the basic physiological, safety, love and esteem needs are met, yearn for something higher, the “self-realization”.
So you might not know until now, but a mid-life crisis is your inner-being wanting bigger things!
Action: Write down “I want to do bigger things” in big capital letters on a piece of paper. Take a breath. Observe how you feel.
2. Midlifers conditioned by their “constructed reality”
I am fascinated by cosmology and astrophysics. Because I find that the more we discover about the universe, the less we agree that reality is something that exists really.
Yes, reality is simply our constructed beliefs. A job with financial freedom, doing what we love, work when and where we want? Simply irrealistic! I always believed I needed a CV, with a diploma, searched for a job in a similar sector to enhance my chance. Didn’t you?
But I will tell you, people, who realize the most beautiful things, don’t like the word “realistic”. That’s how they succeed. They believe in the impossible.
Action: Take a piece of paper and list all that you believe related to your career change. What you believe you can. What you believe you cannot. Underline “self-limiting beliefs”.
3. Midlife changers forget their own power
Since when I know I’m powerful? Well, I believe I knew it when I was small, until 17 years old perhaps. I believed in magic. I had dreams. I thought “I could”. The older I grew up, the less powerful I believed I was. Do you relate?
This forgetting causes us to limit ourselves from illuminating our potentials. We underestimate ourselves. We overestimate the challenges of our lives.
Action: Recall a time when you truly believed “you could” while others said you couldn’t. How did you feel?
A meaningful midlife career change today
But there are three reasons why smart people like you and me are stuck until today. 1) We don’t understand deeply why we want this mid-career change, 2) We are conditioned by our “constructed reality”, and 3), We forget that we are powerful beings. Be aware of these today, and observe how it changes the way you react.