Mid-career crises - Deepstash

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Mid-career crises

Mid-career crises

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.

Life aspirations

  • Young people are overly optimistic and expect significant increases in life satisfaction. 
  • As we age, we become disillusioned as our aspirations evaporate. 
  • When we bottom out, we come to terms with our circumstances and accept life. 
  • People over 50 tend to underestimate their future satisfaction, and increases come as an unexpected surprise, which raises satisfaction levels.

Dealing with a mid-career malaise

At the individual level

  • Recognize that mid-career dissatisfaction is a normal and temporary stage.
  • There is hope at the end of the tunnel.
  • It is OK to feel regret from unmet aspirations.

At the company level

  • HR could create mid-career mentoring programs where those in a mid-career low can learn from their older colleagues who already went through it.
  • Corporate culture can openly address mid-career discontent. To support employees in this process, they can help them explore new opportunities in the firm.

Mid-career crises do not discriminate

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.

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