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The Mid-Career Boost: How to Fuel Your Career Tank

The days of a straightforward linear career path is a thing of the past. Career professionals are no longer following a vertical progression, instead choosing to move back, sideways, out and back again. The absence of linear career progression has highlighted the need for upskilling and keeping pace with the changing requirements due to technological disruption. 

Even for those who have stayed on track and not taken a sabbatical, a mid-career slump is pretty common. Most professionals start their careers on a high note. However, as the years roll on, they’re faced with promotion bottlenecks, loss of interest in work, and a career that seemed exciting ten years ago, but which seems to have hit an invisible wall. Mid-career malaise is more than just professional restlessness and the episodic feeling of frustration at a hectic project at work. Instead, it’s a protracted feeling of discontent and a fear of “missing out”.

If you’ve reached a career plateau, here are a few tips that can help you move ahead.

Set Goals

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Young professionals start their career on a high, elated by their first job, only to lose their motivation mid-career and hit a plateau. This is why it’s important to set meaningful goals. Take some time off to assess the current situation you’re in and what you want to achieve in the next five years. 

The targets that you set for yourself should be realistic and achievable. Instead of making sweeping changes in your life and career, work slowly, every day towards achieving short-term SMART targets that are challenging enough to keep you focused and interested. This will give you confidence and allow you to move to bigger goals.

Focus on Professional Development

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One of the best ways to bust the mid-career slump is by contributing time to professional development and upskilling. As technology continues to disrupt the way we do things, mid-career professionals and job seekers need to upskill so as not to get left behind in the rat race. By focusing on skill development and embracing new technologies, experienced professionals can capitalize on the opportunity that shifting job roles and skill sets can create.

Online learning platforms offer short-term courses on Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Cybersecurity, Digital Marketing, etc. These can be a valuable tool for reskilling and learning critical skills that the organization may require, without having to leave your current job. Apart from technical skills, professionals need to focus on soft skill training as well.

Make Small Adjustments

We wake up each day, go to work, work from 9-to-5, come back home, possibly hang out with family and friends and repeat this cycle over and over again. Over time performing repetitive tasks can drain your energy and lead to the slump. Unfortunately, to avoid this, people make huge changes in their careers. This can have an adverse impact on their life and their long-term career. 

Instead, it’s advisable to start small, possibly by making small changes to your routine, transitioning into a new role or by being a part of a new project. Shaking up your normal routine and rejuvenating your commitments can change your outlook. It can reignite your passions and help you get over the hump.

Time for a Career Change

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The mid-career disillusionment caused by monotony and challenges can be crippling. Stagnation in the current role, changes in employment status and career goals might make you want to make a career transition. 

Making a career transition can be profoundly rewarding and a bit scary. Take time to think about the areas that you excel in and the areas where you want to grow professionally. If your goals require reskilling, look at undertaking online mentoring and educational programmes.

Challenge Yourself

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Margaret Thatcher once said, “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.” 

It’s great to learn and master your work. However, once things become easy, it’s important to find ways to challenge yourself. Learn something challenging or take up a project that pushes you out of the comfort zone. To beat the mid-life career sump, it’s important to create goals and targets that you think are hard and work towards trying to achieve them. This will give you a sense of purpose and prove to your boss that you’re ready for bigger, high-pressure projects.

What do you think is the best way to get out of a mid-career crisis? Share your tips for beating the mid-career slump and excelling at work.

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