From time to time, we all experience feelings of boredom, dissatisfaction or even exasperation in our jobs. Most of us muddle through, knowing these feelings ebb and flow, as they often do throughout a long career. But what should you do if those feelings persist and grow stronger with each passing week? When you are longing for change and beginning to resent work, you might be on the road to a professional midlife meltdown. In other words, you’re approaching career burnout.
You realize it’s important to be careful in this situation. You’ve probably known people who faced a similar dilemma and took leave, not only of their senses but their jobs as well. These restless souls decided suddenly to resign and jump without looking. Gutsy and a bit foolish, yes? But that’s not you. At least you don’t want it to be.
Well, what can you do to keep from going through this type of crisis? Let’s break it down. There are five steps you can take to avoid a midlife meltdown, thus saving your career, relationships, and mental state.
#1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
As the old saying goes, “Perception is reality.” You don’t need anyone else to validate your emotions or tell you that you’re wrong. There’s a reason for your angst or malcontent, even if you haven’t discovered what it is yet. Let the feelings flow, and you may discover the cause of or solution to your problem.
#2. Add a Few Minutes of Mindfulness to Your Routine
Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique used by successful professionals to avoid stress, negativity, and frustration. When you focus awareness on the present, it becomes impossible to dwell on the regrets of your past or the worries of your future. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises are all popular forms of mindfulness. Consider adding one or more of these activities to your daily regimen to stave off a midlife meltdown.
#3. Determine if the Situation is Temporary or Not
Once you have accepted and pondered the situation for a while, consider whether it’s a temporary irritation or one that’s bound to continue. How long are you willing to tolerate the current state of affairs? If your job is unbearable or you dread Monday mornings, it might be time to make a plan or take action and make positive changes.
#4. Investigate a Different Career
Do you daydream starting a more fulfilling career? If so, check out this epic list of potential jobs and resources: 11 Midlife Career Change Ideas that Don’t Suck. These positions take less than two years of education and pay a starting salary of 40k – 76K. You may discover a more satisfying professional life is not out of reach.
#5. Plan to Become the Entrepreneur You’ve Always Wanted to Be
If, however, you long to start a side-hustle or become a full-time entrepreneur, you will need to do some investigation and devise a plan. Do you know what type startups to consider? If so, have you researched your competition? How much money can you get your hands on to fund a potential business? How long can you afford to go without a steady income?
All are critical questions to answer before leaving your current position. Check out this basic guide from the Small Business Administration to help you start a business plan. While some people don’t think a structured plan is critical to success, I firmly believe even a shortened version can save you thousands of dollars and countless headaches throughout the first few years of your startup.
Following these five steps regarding your career can help you steer clear of a midlife meltdown. You can have a satisfying professional life again. But it will take patience, research, and commitment. Let’s face it, anything worthwhile does!
Remember, life is better when we lift each other up.