How to cope with mid-life career stagnation

Career burnout is a very real issues, affecting a large percentage of the workforce. Career stagnation may be borne from feelings of boredom, or the idea that you might just be stuck in a dead-end job.

In the modern economy this mental crisis is becoming more prevalent than ever. Rapid upward mobility just isn’t possible anymore and employees can find themselves maintain the same role and responsibilities for decades with little change to routine or duties.

If you feel stuck in your work, you might just be tempted to flip your life upside down, take a new job and start fresh. Before you do however, you might want to seriously consider a few ways to ‘unstick’ yourself from a stagnant career.  

Don’t be your job title

Too often people will base their entire identity around what it is they do for work. There remains the belief that our employment should give meaning, structure and purpose to our lives. Adhering to this however, will blind you to an entire world of character-defining actives outside work.

This doesn’t just apply to one’s personal life. Your job title shouldn’t restrict your activities during work hours either. Your role shouldn’t prevent you from learning new skills or taking on new responsibilities and challenges.

If you are a veteran employee, why not seek out new opportunities such as mentoring? Volunteering to train new employees can give you a fresh, new perspective on your job. Contributing to the success of others can also give great personal satisfaction.  

Explore new opportunities within the confines of your current work and you might just find that your role isn’t as restrictive as you once thought.

Finally, don’t forget to focus on those things that are important to you outside of your career. Your self-worth isn’t gauged by your income. Start to see your employment as a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself.

Find ways to align your passions with your work

When you can’t find fulfilment in your work, you may feel as though you have lost purpose which can negatively affect your job-satisfaction as well as your own personal life.

Find ways to align your passions and interest with what you accomplish during office hours. You may discover skills that are applicable to your work or make connections with co-workers who share you interests.

This could lead to opportunities for collaborative work and broaden your list of responsibilities and opportunities in the office.

Know when to leave

I you’re really at your wit’s end. It may be time to switch careers entirely. If you have several decades of work experience behind you, you’d be surprised how easily the skills you’ve acquired can be transferred to other roles.

If you’ve worked in software development, you might want to try your hand a technical writing. If you have managerial experience, well you’re likely qualified to take on most any management role that interests you.

Starting a new career really only requires three things: consistency, perseverance and a willingness to learn.

This decision shouldn’t be made likely however, and it’s wise to learn about some of the challenges faced when considering a mid-life career change.