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Overcome your mid-career doubts

17 August 2021


It’s nice to know what to expect when you arrive at work. Having a workplace routine is even considered beneficial for the company’s productivity and the staff’s stress levels. But what if that routine starts to feel like a rat race? Do you catch yourself wondering if you’re truly happy with your job and the flow of your career? Is your gut feeling yelling at you that your job is not giving you any fulfillment anymore? Low energy levels, dreading every workday, not being able to keep your spirit up around the workplace… all sound like a recipe for mid-career doubt. Bear in mind, it’s not uncommon for mid-career professionals to feel like they’re stuck in the wrong place.

Experiencing mid-career doubt – or even a mid-career crisis – is rough. Recognizing that the initial excitement of a bright and promising career path is slowly fading away as you’re evolving into your job position, might feel paralyzing. The restlessness that comes with this professional discontent might make you question everything else in your life too. We spend a big chunk of our lives at work, so it’s no surprise that our career influences our general mood. Don’t worry, doubts and crises can be overcome. You don’t necessarily have to tip the steering wheel to feel like yourself again, but if that’s what you need: jump!

How to overcome it

In order to overcome this unease, you need to figure out where exactly the shoe pinches. Is it your job itself that’s causing you doubts or is it the organization as a whole that doesn’t sit right with you anymore? Do some introspection in order to identify the key factors that are causing you distress.

If it’s your job itself that’s causing you doubt, it might be a good idea to have a heart-to-heart talk with your employer. Perhaps a different work scheme or a change of office environment might already do the trick to bring back some spice into your career. Having new targets to strive for or being around a different team could be that breath of fresh air that you’re yearning for.

Another possible remedy is to change gear within the company you’re at. You could apply for an open spot or negotiate a switch in your current range of tasks. Your employer would probably hate it to see you go, so it’s beneficial for both of you to find common ground.

There’s also the option to try to look at your job with newfound eyes: you surely have an impact on the people you work with and the people you work for. Ask them why your job is worthwhile, that might reignite the spark to keep on doing what you’re doing.

When to leave

If the root of your doubt turns out to be the organization you’re working at, the tips above probably won’t work. Cultural fit is crucial for a long-lasting career partnership. If you do not agree with the mission and values of the company you work for, the chances that you will feel any satisfaction from your job are small. Leaving your job is a big step, especially if there are other factors at play such as the financial risk that might occur or how outsiders would perceive you. However, having a job that you don’t hate will increase your happiness significantly. Take some time to figure out what you really want, career-wise. Build further on the skills that you’ve acquired at your current position and focus on your strengths and interests. You probably have a better view of who you are and what you want in life than when you entered the labor market as a fresh graduate. Use those insights to pursue your own happiness, even though it can be intimidating.

Being stuck in the middle of something is not the best feeling in the world, but doubting your career does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Performing a job has a learning curve and once you’ve entered a certain stage, you need to figure out if your work vision still matches your vision on life. The tips mentioned above might do the trick to make you feel professionally satisfied again. If that’s not the case, then it’s better to reevaluate and to make the leap to a different career path. Unsure where to start? Get to know your strengths, interests, and career drivers via our online career orientation tool. Create a free account on mycareercompanion.com, fill out the questionnaires, and get an overview of your professional profile! Do you already have an account? Update your myCareerCompass by filling out the questionnaires once again. Don’t forget to tick the box that allows you to be contacted for job opportunities that match your profile!

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