6 Things To Try To Get Out Of A Midlife Career Rut
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Tell me if this is you -
You’ve been working at the same job for 10 years (or more). You like your workplace and it’s a good job, but not a great job. The pay is OK, and you believe if you continue to do well at work, you’ll get promoted to a higher-paying position.
You aren't thrilled about your job.
You aren’t as energetic as you used to be.
You aren’t as driven as before
Some days, you even feel like phoning it in.
You’re worried about something.
You think it’s too late to change jobs.
You’re having a midlife career crisis.
You’re stuck in a rut.
You realize you're stuck - What are you going to do to get out?
From my experience, this is what I can tell.
It’s clear you are stuck in a rut if you don’t feel ambitious enough to climb out of bed, feel scared to leave your job, and if, sometimes there are days you want a career change desperately, but have no idea where to start.
If this sounds like you, I’ve listed below “6 things you MUST-TRY to get out of a rut” and make a midlife career change.
6 things that can help you get out of a midlife career rut
1. Have bold career goals
If you’re struggling to achieve your goals, here’s the plan that helped me succeed.
Pen It Write down what you want to achieve on paper. Empty your mind and write it down. Use a paper pen if you can, it makes a huge difference.
Itemize It Categorize them into manageable bits, and from most important to the least. Preferably break them down into smaller, doable steps. Timeline It Give yourself an achievable time limit. And stick to it. Support It Find someone willing to help you achieve your plan. For me, this has always been the most important part. Celebrate It Take pride in your achievements. It could be as simple as scratching the item of your list or taking a little time to do something you enjoy.
2. Face your fears
"I'm afraid of losing my job", you might say. But here's what you might really be afraid of..
Afraid you won't get another Yes, when you're in a job, you feel safe from the big bad world outside. You might think - will anyone ever give me a job again? Think about how you got your first job. Did someone take a chance with you? Can't it happen again? Afraid of a bleak future Yes, without a job it feels like life itself has collapsed. But, are you your job? Who are you without a job? What's your true identity? Afraid if losing face Yes, if you don't a job then society will not be kind to you. But what matters more? You finding your path, or what people think? Afraid if letting people down Yes, it's hard to imagine how your family will survive if you can't support them. But that doesn't mean you end up living a life of fear at work. What will make you feel free?
Fear is debilitating, and facing it is the only real choice we have. Address the right fear, and liberation will follow!
3. Challenge your expectations
You started a career change with enthusiasm and optimism. But your energy faded and fizzled out! WHY? Because your expectations might be misplaced. Here's what I hear very often.. I want absolute clarity Sorry. That's impossible. At some point, you will have to take a leap of faith. I want a eureka moment It may or may not come. How long are you willing to wait? I want a smooth transition If you are lucky, you might have just a few hurdles. Completely smooth transition? There's no such thing. I want it quick Then it might end up not being good enough! Look up the Project Manager's triangle. Making it quick impacts two other things - quality and cost. I want it all once You can't change everything at once. Maybe you change sectors first, then find a role you like and eventually make the money you desire. Take it in steps. What do you think? Try challenging your expectations and assumptions?
4. Back up a little
You’re feeling stressed out at work, and the only way out of that is backing up a little bit.
Spend time with family and friends. Take a step back and go from chaos to clarity. Give yourself permission to be at peace.
Mentor a colleague
Sometimes it’s good to remember where you came from and the fundamental skills that helped you become who you are today. Why don’t you try mentoring a colleague? This might give you enough traction to get out of a rut.
5. Make friends
Your career is your responsibility. But when you’re stuck, not knowing which way to move forward, you can’t do it entirely alone. How can friends help?
Get advice or talk things over with a friend. Use this time to clear you head.
You never know who’ll inspire you to take the first step. Talk to the right people who can show you the best possible direction.
Every person you meet could potentially help you out of your rut. Don’t be shy to ask for opportunities.
6. Find a career coach
What are the signs that you might need a career coach? Here are a few...
I want to escape the rat race and find my own path.
I want to stop jumping between jobs without a plan.
I want to upskill and gain confidence for a new start.
I want to develop a career that speaks to my soul.
I want to change my career, but don't know how.
I want a career suited to my skills and strengths.
I am anxious about my career growth.
I am returning from a career break.
I want mid-life career advice.
Are you thinking of any of these? Then a career coach might be able to help you. I signed up for a coach for the first time when I took on a new role at work. It was the biggest one I had ever done, and he was key in making me succeed. He guided me away from confusion and helped me find my own answers.