Believe it or not, there’s such a thing as a mid-career crisis. In total, we spend over 13 years of our lives working, so if that’s feeling out of alignment, it can have a big impact on our emotional wellbeing. You might feel like you’ve lost motivation for projects that would normally excite you, you might feel undervalued in your current role, or you might find that you’re constantly tired, and the thought of going into the office (or opening your laptop) makes you audibly sigh and reach for a third cup of coffee when, let’s face it, you’re only meant to have one or two. In this blog, we’ll look at how to figure out why you’re feeling stuck, and the things you can do to get your career mojo back.

  1. Make time for yourself

If you’re feeling stuck or unhappy with your current career or job, the first step is to work out why.

Maybe you’ve ended up in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there. Prioritising time to think about what you really want to be doing should be your first step towards becoming unstuck. Set aside time in your day for yourself; time to not only consider what you love doing, but also the kind of lifestyle you want, and what your dream day or week looks like.

Take the time to figure out what makes you happy at work, and what doesn’t. Consider some of the following things:

  • Do you like the industry you’re in?
  • Are you challenged (in a good way) in your current work situation?
  • Do you feel like you’re using your skills and experience to the best of your ability?
  • Do you like working for other people, or would you prefer to be self-employed?
  • Do you like a strict work day that starts and finishes at a certain time, or do you like to be flexible and dictate your own hours?
  • Do you work best in an office, or from home?
  • Are you excited by the prospect of changing jobs, or careers?

Then you need to decide what’s most important to you, and what you can compromise on. If your current employer can’t give you what’s most important to you, then it’s probably time to start planning your next steps. This could include upskilling through extra training and external courses, or simply updating your CV as a starting point.

  1. Grow your network 

We often hear the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” when it comes to career progression. Don’t wait until you’re ready to leave to start expanding your networks! Reach out and align yourself with a recruitment professional; talk to them about your current position and how you’re feeling with your career and get their advice on the market you currently work in, and what opportunities there might be. Recruitment specialists can provide great insight into not only job hunting and hiring, but also a particular industry in general and the way things are heading. They’re recruitment experts for a reason, and can help to steer you in a certain direction or just give you general career advice.

  1. Surround yourself with inspiring people

If you’re trying to get in shape, it’s easier if you hang out with people who love doing exercise and who lead a healthy lifestyle, right? On the other hand, if you’re surrounded by people who never exercise and eat a pie for breakfast every day, it’s going to be hard for you to stay on track. Basically, look for people who are on a similar journey to you; it’ll help you to up your game, and keep you motivated to achieve your goals.

If you want a career change or to set up your own business, seek out people who are not only doing that already, but excelling at it. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead, because they’ve been where you are and have come out the other side of it. 

  1. Work on your personal brand

Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room? What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to be perceived and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

Also, make sure your LinkedIn profile (or any business platform you use) is up to date, and that it communicates who you are effectively, and what you want to be known for.

  1. Be accountable

It’s easy to say or think to yourself that you’re going to do things, and then not do them. We get it; life gets in the way, and circumstances change. The only way to grow and learn, and achieve your career goals faster, is by holding yourself accountable. Tell other people what your goals are and align these goals to a timeline, so you have other people along on your journey with you, to you accountable too.

  1. Make sure your values are aligned 

All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy. For example, do you value work-life balance but your employer values working as many hours in a day as humanly possible? Do you value equal rights and pay for employees but you know your employer pays people differently, based on things you don’t agree with?

Your values are super important, and they help to identify whether it’s the job that’s not right for you, or if it’s the organisation. Determine what it is you’re looking for in an employer – we’re talking about your non-negotiables – and go from there.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone

This one is short and sweet, but so powerful! Your comfort zone is your safe place. Have you ever heard the saying, “change nothing, and nothing changes”? For any positive change to happen, you need to step outside of your comfort zone.  

  1. Learn to embrace failure

Failure is part of life, one that we need to become comfortable with. It’s a chance to learn and grow, and become better than you were. A University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

  1. Build your resilience

Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going. Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. So how can you build your resilience? Here are a few useful tips:

  • Change the narrative: When something bad happens, we often ruminate over it; reliving the feeling over and over again. Change the story to one that favours the lesson in the situation, and how you can use it to move forward and grow. E.g. Maybe you were made redundant from your job – how can you turn it from a negative experience, into a positive one?
  • Face your fears: Fears can be debilitating – even seemingly common ones like public speaking or heights. Instead of trying to talk ourselves out of facing our fears, we need to tackle them head on in order to beat them, or at the very least, make them not so overpowering.
  • Practice self-compassion: We need to confront our uncomfortable feelings with kindness and without judgment. How would you talk to a friend in a similar situation? Approach your own feelings with that same kind of empathy and warmth.

Building your resilience takes time, but it’s something that will benefit you in every area of your life; not only in your career. 

  1. Ask for help

It can be hard to ask for help – it can make us feel vulnerable, and like we’ve failed at the thing we were trying to do. But in reality, no one person can be expected to have all the answers. We need a group of people that we can go to for help and ask for advice; people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and help us to celebrate success. You’re most like that person for someone else! Surround yourself with those people, and make sure you reach out when you need to.

The most important thing to remember is this: You’re not alone. It’s estimated that most people will have at least 12 jobs during their lives, and the most common age to completely change your career is 39. The Covid pandemic has caused many people to re-evaluate their lives and what’s most important, and your career is a huge part of that balance.

If you need advice on your career or your next moves, get in touch with our experienced Grada recruitment specialists today!