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Mid Career Itch?

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May 27 2011 - Are you aware of the Mid Career Itch or Mid Career Blues? Well, every one of us who are working in private firms, government offices , corporates or even academic institutions have faced this situation or will definitely face it once in our career. There are very few people who are fortunate enough to have found their "dream job" and practically many of us can identify with being "burned out", or "getting monotonous" or "stuck in a rut" at various stages during our career. A large number of professionals in various job functions have faced the proverbial "Mid Career Blues". This usually begins after 5-6 or more than 10-12 years of work experience. The term "Mid Career Itch" refers to the beginning of depression and lack of self believe caused by dissatisfaction or unhappiness at work. It is that phase in one's career when the person often feels lost and is incapable of deciding on the right career path.

At times you are also not happy with the way you are leading your life because of your job dissatisfaction. At one point of time you thought that this is the perfect job for you, and you are doing your job very well, but things are not working fine. You start working harder but with no results. The more you burn yourself out, the more dissatisfied you are. But do not think that you are the only person going through this phase. Remember that everyone at one time or the other in their career experience this. So what went wrong?

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Mid Career Itch
Mid Career Itch

Adverse Effects of Mid Career Itch
  • Irritability
  • Poor punctuality
  • Lack of contribution at work
  • Lack of concentration
  • Increased stress levels
  • Deterioration of health

Following are some causes that lead to mid career crisis Cause 1 : Monotonous Job Nature
One common reason for career itch is when your work becomes very monotonous, when you are working on the same profile for many years, when you see there is no scope of growth in your job.

Cause 2: Unsatisfactory Compensation
Another cause of such a situation is when you are paid less as compared to what you need to get as per your qualifications, work experience and your performance. Compensation considerations also come into foreplay when you know exactly how much your peers are getting in other organizations or in the same organization.

Cause 3: Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is another cause of mid career itch. In today's competitive world, you can see few of your peers are moving ahead of you in the race. There can be many reasons for this: your own "laid back attitude" or "favoritism shown to your colleague" or "he/she is definitely better than you". This is especially true for technology and engineering jobs where not keeping pace with technological changes can be very dangerous as it leads to a gap in skill levels and a person feels technically handicapped in comparison with peers.

Cause 4: New Job is worse than the previous one
Last but not the least, you change your job thinking that it will be better than the previous one and after few months, you realize that you are in the wrong job.

An amalgamation of any of the above factors or all of the above factors leads to career blues. Things to Do
  • Do not wait for the management to find out that you are facing a career crisis. Be proactive and inform the management that you are running into a crisis, so that they can help you.
  • If you find your job monotonous and you do not want to change your present organization, look for opportunities within the organization, check out what other job profiles match your capabilities. Approach the management and apply for a relevant position. You can also present a presentation or a business case to let them know that you can do something more.
  • When you are have the mid career itch, you feel that your job has become monotonous, there is nothing new to offer both by you and by the company, then look at other options like yet another job switch or higher education.
  • To make things better, take a break. Spend quality time your family, friends and children. Take a holiday. Refresh yourself. If possible, develop new skills and hunt for a new job. And if you learn new things you can experiment with your new learning's in a different atmosphere.
  • Switching to a new job is a good way of getting rid of mid career itch. Your work experience in one particular field can be helpful to another organization.
  • Another solution is to change your domain altogether. This requires a transfer to a different division or a city. However this may not be always possible.
  • Learn to make decisions.
  • Be bold to make changes.
  • Stay out of office politics.

Important Note Always remember quitting a job is the not the only solution to get rid of mid career itch. Unless and until you have some other causes like you have out grown your responsibilities and roles in the current company or the company doesn't have any more opportunities for you. To get rid of the mid career blues, try to always maintain a good work-life balance. Maintain good relationship with your colleagues and develop the ability to build teams and encouraging them and work with them. And most important of all review your career. Keep a five-six year milestone. Review you career growth, your achievements, success, failures in the present company and then, decide on whether to continue in the same role or change the role/industry, etc.

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