Have you ever dreaded going to your office on a Monday so much that you called in sick just to lie in bed? Does your office desk feel more like a cage than a working place? Are you exhausted of doing the same daily routine over and over again? Is your job not giving you the happiness that you thought it would?
According to a survey, many individuals who are in their 40s or 50s are suffering from a stumpy level of happiness compared to anyone. A psychological study shows that happiness decreases to an all-time low during midlife and rises again at age 50 and above, manifesting a U shape pattern which is commonly called the “happiness curve.” The research suggests that, from the adventurous and exciting experiences of youth, those in midlife undergo a transition of a temporal slump of happiness due to their persistent grind for status and achievement or because of fear in living the rest of their lives not in the way that they’ve dreamt of. This is one of the reasons why many middle-aged individuals have shown a dwindling interest in the workplace.
However, during midlife, we are somewhat afraid of switching to a different career path because of an ancient, traditional notion that we may have to stick to a single job or it’s the unemployed life for us. Because of this societal pressure, we are forced to stick to our current jobs and profession no matter how boring or unfulfilling it may be. Furthermore, we become afraid of disappointing our families or friends who would think that we should have figured it (Profession, Career, Success ) out by now and that switching to a new job is somehow an indication of failure and terrible, life-changing decision.
Though in modern times now, it is fortunate that the workplace doesn’t seem to share this idea of having one job throughout your entire life any longer. Switching career paths is no longer something one has to be ashamed of but in fact an opportunity to have a more satisfying work life.
Considering a midlife career change? Check out our recommended books for further reading at the end of the article.
What are the causes for a Career Change?
According to the common belief and having lived half of the mortal lifetime, midlife causes people to reexamine all the choices that have been made so far and all the choices will have to be made in the future. During this time of evaluation, many find themselves imprisoned in their current career choices which they probably were chosen out of peer pressure or family and other people’s expectations. Unable to love their work, many find themselves clogged with the abysmal feeling of perpetual boredom and unfulfillment. Sometimes middle-aged employees realise that they have worked for their whole career span but still gone unappreciated by their employers and hence find the need to escape this scenario, something to the likes of finding a better grazing field.
Surprisingly, even those who have climbed their way at the top of the corporate ladder find themselves suffering in a midlife crisis, looking to switch from a passionless office job to a more fulfilling and rewarding work with an exciting pace and sense of adventure.
Questions to Guide your Career Path
Switching career paths is undoubtedly scary, but it can also help to set up a new milestone in life. However, if you have weighed your options and considering a change, then perhaps you might need a new perspective on your current job first.
Here are some questions that might be helpful to come to a decision about the potential path to be taken:
Do you need a job change or do you simply need a different environment?
Not everyone entirely hates their job, Or do we?. We may have chosen our current career paths because it was our passion and we sincerely believed that someday, it could bring us satisfaction, wealth and happiness if we prod along and just stay long enough.
Sadly, a monotonous routine and an inhospitable working environment can push a lot of people over the edge. If you are starting to lose your passion for a job that you previously loved, then you probably are still in the right career path but not in the right place.
Look for a company or an organisation that offers the job you are passionate about without sacrificing that fulfilling and rewarding workplace environment. Be a part of a team that does not only demands your talent and interests but also provides room for growth for self-improvement.
What work gives you the most happiness?
Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. If you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom career-wise and it is taking a toll on your emotional well-being, then it may be time to begin a new quest for happiness.
In order not to make the same mistake again and waste precious time working on another life-draining job, find one that suits the endeavours you can be happy about. What are your favourite things to do? What are your hobbies and interests? With the work experience and fundamental knowledge you amassed along the years, it will be easier for you to start up your own business or take full advantage of your potential and talents toward your search for excitement and happiness!
It is never too late to start over, but it is when you give up.
What goals do you want to achieve in your career?
It has been advised repeatedly by elders never to make a decision based on a temporary feeling. Otherwise, you may regret the choice you have made just because you haven’t given it a night to think over.
It is good to establish a rationale for why you are staying or leaving a job. This well-thought reason could become the deciding factor to help you decide on which path to take. Are you working to sustain your family’s needs or are you at the point of your life where you are no longer bound by such responsibilities and is simply looking for a new and adventurous path to take? Are you looking for a fresher alternative or is it a quest to establish your midlife identity? Whatever your reason may be, be sure that it will give you the happiness you seek without sacrificing the most important things in life.
Suggestions on Choosing your Next Career
Now, If you have decided to start a new midlife career path, then here are some ideas that you might consider taking.
Open your very own business.
If you are somewhat financially stable and can afford to utilise your savings for a little while, then starting your own business could be a good idea. There are many benefits to running in your own business. Most importantly, you are your own boss. You may have probably noticed it, but many employees are not quite fond of their employers. Although not everyone despises their employers, human as we are, most of us who are working for someone simply hate being told what to do if we are confined and there is no room for new ideas or creativity or receive that constant pressure of working hard all day, every day! without the due appreciation. Being your own boss frees you up from that pressure as you run your own business the way you see fit. It would provide you with an opportunity and you can become the kind of boss that you never had before.
Secondly, you might have the option to start a business based on your inclination, interests and your passion. If you love good food and cooking, then running a restaurant to serve your creative recipes would be a great idea. If you are fond of coffee or beverages and like to speak meet and greet people then maybe you can run a café or a bar. Are you looking to start something relaxing? Then you can have your very own spa! If looking to bring out your inner child and childhood passion? Build a gaming station, an arcade store or a recreation centre. There are various options available on how to go with it, but the most important factor is your dedication, sincerity and happiness.
Sell your own produce.
Do you feel like nature is calling out to you? Can you hear the morning tweets of the birds outside your house? Is feeling the warmth of the sunlight and the cool breeze of the wind a kiss to your cheek? Then maybe it is time to go out and go green!
If you are tired of the busy, buzz of the business world, then perhaps you can consider starting your own farm or orchard. Take a break from the smoking streets of the downtown and breathe some fresh air. If you have an affinity towards planting, then you can make use of this hobby to supply your own financial needs in addition to fulfilling your passion. Consider a flower or vegetable garden or a combination of both. Enjoy the rewarding fruits of your labour both in the literal and figurative sense of the word!
Bring out that artist that has been hiding within you.
Often middle-aged individuals regret the chance of not pursuing a career based on their own talents. Because of pressure, they abandoned their abilities in exchange for a job in the corporate world. Now that you have chosen to retake a more life-affirming career path, maybe it’s time to dig up your buried potential and bring it out in the open.
If you have the skill for painting or drawing, then grab a brush and begin by making a few masterpieces at a time. Moreover, you can also work as an animator or a comic book artist! If you have such a good eye for details and capturing the perfect moments, then think about going for a career in photography. Not only will you have a job based on your talents, but you will also be able to experience various environments and give you that much-needed freedom.
Also, let us not forget about the world of performing arts. Venture the music industry if your passion and skills are inclined to it. You can be a composer and be a part of a band or utilize your dramatic skills and perform in a theatre as an actor. Dancing might be a little difficult for those in midlife but, hey, it’s never out of the equation! If you have the skills and your family’s support, then the only person that will be holding you back is yourself.
Be a teacher or counsellor.
If you think that it is a tad too late to start doing all of the above, then why don’t you become an instructor for the younger generation? That way, you can still make use of your talent by passing it on. Seeing your students succeed in taking a career path that you had helped them build is in itself a great achievement.
A job in the education field can be one of the most satisfying jobs you can ever take. Now that you are at the point in life where you have seen and experience what life is mostly about, you can teach the younger generation not only on the subject they need to pass but also on how they should face life’s realities.
If you have the time, you can teach others by writing your own book containing all that you have learned in life – mistakes, regrets and lessons. A motivational book can be extremely helpful for those who are suffering a midlife crisis. If you consider yourself in a crisis and are going through therapy, then share what you have learned to those who are too scared to admit that they need one.
Fortunately, the digital age has made it simpler for aspiring writers to begin their work. With numerous tips and suggestions for writing, grammar and originality checker and tons of sources and references, writers do have it all at the tip of their fingers! Additionally, the online world offers multiple channels for their work to be published for all to read and appreciate.
Changing a career path will never be easy. It will take a lot of courage, thinking and even support from others around you. It is indeed frightening to think that many did and have failed. However, isn’t it better to try and fail than to never try at all? Take that first step to transform your dream from wishful thinking into a reality!
Check out our recommended books for further reading if you are considering a midlife career change:
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