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You have a great job, so why are you unhappy?

You have a great job. People envy you.

People say, “Oh I’d love a job like yours!”

It pays well, it’s prestigious.

You are at a stage where you are now experienced, an expert, a master.

You’ve invested years in it.

So, what is this niggling feeling that you have that it’s not enough, it’s not good enough, exciting enough, just not something enough? It’s not doing it for you anymore.

Yes, you once loved it.

Yes, you once chose it.

Yes, this was your plan, you goal – to be the master, the go-to person, the subject matter expert. And now you’re here. Damn, you’ve even mentored and trained others toward this.

So, what’s wrong?

Are you a walking cliché with a mid-life crisis looming?

Are you just too tough to please?

Do you just need to suck it up and get on with it?

The answer is that there’s nothing wrong.

Research shows that many people in mid-career, even those with deemed prestigious or enviable careers, face a dissatisfaction with their careers at the mid-career stage. Even Michelangelo felt this way! Cope or Quit? Facing a Mid-Career Crisis (

Regret, lack of challenge, a natural cycle-end or a challenging environment?

So as the article suggests, it might be about regrets of the road not taken.

But it could be something else.

You’ve reached a comfort zone as an expert, and you’re not being challenged enough.

Or your career cycle has simply come to an end. Think of this in terms of a product life cycle – a new shiny product is introduced, we buy it, we get used to it, but over time technology moves on and a new model is introduced and the old one is defunct. When you started your career, you were new and shiny, then you became established, now you are an expert and maybe you are coming towards the end of this cycle and looking for something new. Some people have one cycle from early career to retirement, others have many.

Or maybe it's something in your environment or the culture of your current workplace that isn’t fitting. Is it toxic? Is there a mismatch between your values and theirs? Or the personalities you’re dealing with?

Whatever it is, it’s bothering you, and that feeling won’t go away.

They just don’t get it.

But when you mention it to you friends or family, they don’t take you seriously.

They don’t get it. They tell you to be grateful that you have your good career, your good reputation, your expertise, and the salary you’re earning.

Sure, what else would you want? Stop complaining – didn’t you study for this, invest years in it. Loads of people would kill for your job.

And so, you soldier on. Count yourself lucky. Put up and shut up. But still, that feeling won’t shift.

What to do

You deserve to be happy and fulfilled in work. You have years left in the workforce yet and you are talented and valuable with a lot to contribute. And you want to work and feel satisfied and happy in your job. It's not too much to ask, but it is down to you to make a change.

1. Park others’ opinions. Well-meaning as they may be, try to set the opinion of others’ aside. They are not living your life, doing your job or feeling like you. They are measuring your job against their own values or definition of success, not yours.

2. Journal. Get yourself a notebook for your “career musings” and do some journaling to figure this out. What’s working in your current role and what isn’t? How could things improve right now? What about the longer term? Try to project forward to 1 years’ time, 5 years’ time, 10 years’ time. What would you like to be doing into the future and in this space between now and when you stop working?

3. Generate Options

Do some option generating. A simple place to start is to ask yourself 2 questions:

  • Do I want a similar role or a different role?

  • Do I want to work in a similar organisation or a different organisation?

This gives you options:

  • Same role/same organisation Stay put

  • Similar role/ similar organisation Job search

  • Similar role/ different organisation Job search

  • Different role/ similar organisation Job search/Promotion/Career change

  • Different role/different organisation Job search/Career change

4. Get support. Speak to someone who “gets you”. That could be a mentor, someone who has been through this, someone you trust, or engage a professional coach/mentor. Weaker ties are more likely to be objective than those close to you, so try to seek out someone independent.

Get in touch for a free call. Further support services coming soon.

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