When everything feels like a chore | Overcoming midcareer malaise

Midlife career malaise is real. Even for really successful executives and professionals.

You might recognize it as feeling generally uncomfortable or uneasy – in a way that’s difficult to define.

And at midlife, we’re already losing our illusion of immortality. We see that opportunities aren’t endless and that time is finite. It’s perfectly natural to search for excitement and more meaning.

And that was before the Pandemic and the “Great Resignation”

A recent study found that three out of four professionals surveyed said the Pandemic has altered their career plans.

49% said that the Pandemic has caused them to reflect on what they wanted from their career, or employer, prompting them to look for other job opportunities.

I’m kind of surprised it’s only 49%

Thinking deeply about what you really want out of your career, and for your life, is a natural and healthy part of midlife.

It’s also pretty intimidating. Even when you’re feeling dissatisfied and uncomfortable where you are. Especially when you’ve invested so much time and energy establishing yourself as a professional or building a business.

So the natural reaction is to suppress feelings of apathy and lost purpose and that ‘autopilot’ mode. And bury yourself in your work. Hoping the feelings will pass and that you’ll somehow get your mojo back.

Then another January comes around and the feelings come back, again. You’re a year older and you repeat the cycle.

There is a better way.

I’ve learned that pushing down feelings of discomfort doesn’t make them go away. In fact, researchers have found that bottling up emotions had an adverse effect on your body and your mind.

The constructive way to deal with these feelings is to acknowledge them, discover the underlying cause, and create a productive response. And that’s pretty hard to do when you’re so close to the subject.

Here’s the good news.

You’ve got more options than you think.

And you don’t have to abandon what you’ve created to fly to the island and open a margarita stand.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Don’t fall into the trap of slogging through to retirement in the hopes that you’ll find satisfaction.

Give yourself the gift of some thinking time to reflect on what’s really working well for you – and what’s driving you up the wall. Write it out longhand.

Because it’s only when you confront and name a challenge that you can start to solve it.

What are your Top 3 opportunities?

What if you made just one of them happen?

What’s stopping you?

Leave a comment below and let’s get over that thing holding you back.

Doug BrownWhen everything feels like a chore | Overcoming midcareer malaise