Four remedies for the mid-career blues

by Adeline Teoh August 23, 2016

Whether you began your career as a bright young thing or a slow and steady grafter, there’ll probably come a time when, despite your success, your job satisfaction will drop. You’re not alone.

It’s well recognised that younger workers tend to be excited by the novelty of their new roles, while older workers are happier because they’re comfortable in their roles and their careers have progressed. It’s those in the middle of their careers who are most prone to experiencing a slump.

A paper by Zacher et. al. in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology suggests the slump occurs between a worker’s late 20s and early 40s. Fortunately, this age contains a good balance of youth and maturity, which allows you to pursue a range of different tactics to re-energise your career.

Here are four things you can do to address a mid-career slump.

1.Find a passion outside work

Believe it or not, what you do outside work affects the passion you have for your job. The key is balance; if you spend all your time with your head buried in your business, it’s hard to sustain enthusiasm for it long-term. Step away and focus on a hobby, or honing an unrelated skill, and you’ll soon be able to see your work with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm.

2.Find expert advice

Seek wisdom from someone, such as a trusted advisor or peer, who’s been through a similar experience and managed to keep a steady hand on their career. Not only can they provide guidance and advice, you can learn from their mistakes. They also make good role models.

Alternatively, sometimes becoming the person who gives advice can give you new insights into your own career, and reinforce your own well-developed skills and knowledge. It’s possible to fall in love with what you do all over again, while simultaneously helping someone else on their journey. If you work with or know a younger broker, make yourself available to them if they have questions or problems.

3.Diversify

Training as a broker doesn’t mean you have to be a broker for life, but it’s not everyone’s dream to leave the office and become a sculptor. So what can you do to switch things up? Consider branching out within the industry by picking up new skills that complement what you can already do, then focus on developing laterally. Learning new skills stimulates your brain, and the finance industry is broad and accommodating if you want to change paths.

4.Set new goals

One of the reasons you lose interest in your career is because you’ve already seen some success. Becoming a broker and setting up your own business are two early challenges you’ve already faced and conquered. The lull might come from the lack of a new challenge to ignite you; perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been stimulated and you’re fishing around for the next thing.

Set yourself goals that will stretch and inspire you. They may be competitive in nature, or a matter of pushing yourself professionally, whether that’s extending your professional network or acquiring different kinds of clients.

A mid-career slump is a temporary event that most of your peers will go through at some point between their late 20s and early 40s. The best thing you can do is recognise it and meet it with balance, wisdom and a vision for your future success.

Contact PLAN Australia for more inspiration and new challenges.

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