A mid-career crisis can happen to anyone. It causes pain to the individual suffering from it and it also leads to productivity losses for employers.
A group of economists researchers found that mid-career crises are widespread and are not related just to the misfortune of a few individuals. They also found job satisfaction increases again and regularly reaches even higher levels than earlier in the career.
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The age-related curve in job satisfaction has been found in more than 50 countries. It affects senior-level executives as well as blue-collar workers, stay-at-home parents, childless couples and single people.
Generally, life satisfaction is high when people are young, it starts to decline in the early 30s and is the lowest between mid-40s and mid-50s. Then it increases again to levels as high as during young adulthood.
At the individual level
At the company level
There is increasing evidence that happiness through adulthood is U-shaped.
Life satisfaction falls in our 20s and 30s, then hitting a low in our late 40s before increasing until our 80s.
Being around other people and finding a community is a positive thing. The togetherness of family, friends, clubs, and connecting with our neighbors can be encouraging.
When we get older, happiness seems to rise again, probably because we gain more perspective or start prioritizing our relationships more. Understanding this trend and knowing you are not alone can help you through it.