How to Shift Careers While Going Through a Midlife Crisis

08 April 2022

When you are going through a midlife crisis, you are often enticed to reach out for changes in your life. This is the time that you might spend on examining where life has led you so far in your professional career. This phase is crucial in determining whether you’re going to look for a new job or you’re considering going to a different industry altogether.

You will feel that you are going through a midlife crisis when your moods change all the time and even habits that have become routinary to you will gradually change. You are forced to make big decisions even though you feel bored and unmotivated. You think deeply about changing careers because you feel you are tied down to what you are doing right now and there is no more room for growth. You might notice that you are losing weight or gaining out from all the junk food you’ve been consuming. You will slowly withdraw from your relationships and break things that you used to do a lot before.

It will be difficult but there are ways on how you could refocus your career while going through a midlife crisis. You might be cynical right now but there are lots of people across the world who emerge victorious from a midlife crisis, much better individuals than they were before the storm. Below are steps that you could follow in order to win back that focus to change your career.

1. Celebrate your victories.

In the midst of negativity, you will easily fall into the trap of discounting everything you’ve done for the past years since you joined the workforce. You will have the tendency to focus on what you weren’t able to do instead of celebrating your achievements over the past years.

Yes, you are moving to a completely different career, but it doesn’t mean that your past experience is already “irrelevant.” Everything you’ve gone through in life would add value to what you are about to do in the years to come.

Sit down and write the goals you have already ticked off in your list. When you see your list, you will realize that you have actually done a lot more than you can imagine.

2. Honestly assess your current situation.

Focus on what is happening to you right now while resisting the urge to compare your life to others. You have to be mindful when you start comparing yourself to others because you might be holding yourself to standards that are irrelevant to your goal. Look at your career and then dissect what about it do you find exciting. What about your career is unsatisfactory? What speaks to your heart regardless of how much money it will make you? Once you have the answers to these questions, the next course of action would hopefully be clearer to you.

3. Seek help from those who have gone before you.

You might want to open up to a mentor about what you are currently going through. These people might have gone through a midlife career crisis themselves. Reach out to them or even your friends who are currently going through the same thing. No one of you has to do this alone. They might give you their own tips on how they handled their midlife crisis or simply lend you a listening ear. They might give you a different perspective which could lighten up your fears and worries. They might encourage and give you the support you need for your desired career change. If you need professional help, don’t hesitate to talk to a therapist who could guide you in navigating through this situation.

4. Focus on a hobby.

Breathe and take a break. When you dwell too much on a certain issue, you might not find the answers and end up feeling more anxious and stressed. Cut yourself some slack and give your mind a rest by diving into your hobbies, new or old ones. You can do anything you want or need to get to the right headspace, may it be painting, gardening, writing, making handicrafts, exercising, playing the piano, etc. This will clear your mind and help you decide on what to do next with your career.

Working on a height-adjustable standing desk that is spacious and stable will help you focus on your interest instead of letting your mind wander.

5. Write down the pros and cons of a career change.

Once your mind is cleared from all these troubling thoughts, you should sit down and evaluate the pros and cons of staying or leaving your current job. Write down what you will benefit from the two as well as the disadvantages of both options. You should be fully aware of what you want and need so that you are able to honestly assess what each option will lead you to.

6. Specify your goals.

Since you are in the process of shifting careers, then that also means you would have to revisit your goals and plans for the future. Change them accordingly. To save yourself from frustration, write down SMART goals. They have to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. It would help you act on your goals instead of getting overwhelmed by them.

7. Look for opportunities everywhere including the company where you are currently working for.

Don’t close your doors to opportunities that are available in your current workplace. Approach your supervisor and ask for growth possibilities. This is your chance to tell your boss what your dreams, plans, and goals are. They will most likely give you an honest insight on what you could do next and even recommend you for the company’s new projects. Now the ball is in your court if these opportunities tickle your fancy or you really want to explore and focus your energy on other career paths.

8. Build connections with people from the industry you want to enter.

There are most likely events that you could attend where you could meet these potential contacts. If you show up with enthusiasm, there is most likely going to be at least one person who could give you pointers as you are about to thread a new career. You might also find people who are going through a midlife crisis and want to shift careers as well. When you find a contact in their industry, try asking that person if you can immerse yourself in their job for a day. That’s how you can see for yourself if the career suits you.