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    Monday
    Sep202010

    Career Challenges at 50: Unfulfilled in Your Career?

     

    At fifty, many of us feel we finally know what we are doing professionally, have a lot to offer others, and are wiser than ever before. On the other hand, we may also be sensing that this is our last chance to make our mark on the world; that our energy, while strong, is beginning to wane; and that others – amazingly – see us as ‘old’. If this is your situation, how do you think about your career?

    Broadly, you are likely to be in one of three situations.  We have some thoughts on each:

    1. In a job, safe but unfulfilled, perhaps even quite unhappy.
    2. In a job, but feel that changes are coming, and you may not be there much longer.
    3. Out of work.

    In each situation, the key to is take control of your career by putting yourself through a process of thinking about your options, and then taking action.

    Ronald at 53, is now a senior manager. He’s got a classical British manager’s background: degree, financial training, and lots of experience in big companies. That is actually not quite true. He’s been in the same company now for over fifteen years, but during that time it’s changed hands three times. He’s been variously Strategy Director, Business Development Director, Business Planning Director and now Chief Financial Officer. He now works mainly in Paris, sometimes in other places, often on other continents, but lives in the countryside in Britain. He earns very well, but his quality of life is low.

    What keeps most of us in a job we find unsatisfactory are the benefits: the stability, status, package, accumulated knowledge and expertise. But if you are chaffing at the bit, and facing ten or fifteen years before you retire, these may not be enough.

    In social studies, there is a hierarchy of questions which might help you to understand where you are.  If you ask yourself how are you doing and you reply “ok, has been better – just tough at the moment” – the subtext could be......I am ok with this place/this situation. We are running hard as we have a tight deadline or someone’s on holiday.  That sounds ok – it’s a tactical response and you are probably mainly ok.

    If you ask yourself what is going on?  You may answer differently; perhaps along the lines of “we are shifting focus.  There’s a new crew in charge and they are going in a different direction”.  This sounds more strategic and there may be issues arising for you which challenge your approach, your values perhaps.  It is at a different level of importance anyway.

    The next question you could pose is “why am I doing this?” This may be an irrelevant question.  If so, then great.  If you think about it seriously and find there are big issues for you, this is at a level which could be more profound for you and your working life.  This may be the point at which you ask yourself if you are happy to stay in this situation or whether you wish to shift your world.  Safety is important. Staying unfulfilled is a choice that for some is not acceptable.

    With age and experience comes wisdom.  We are not always great at appreciating just what we are able to contribute as we gain wisdom.  It is easy to under appreciate ourselves and the contribution that we can make.  We might be self-deprecating (a wonderful British trait), we might carry regrets; we might have lousy feedback from the workplace and in our domestic lives.  Never forget thought that as you travel through your life, it is becoming richer and you have more to give.

    It is possible to understand and appreciate your value.  You have to take some time to do it though.  You might just surprise yourself and find a route to greater fulfilment.

    Experiment with asking yourself these questions:

    • What do I need to do to keep myself learning, in terms of technology, visions, leadership?
    • How do I stay fit and healthy enough to work productively?
    • How do I manage myself so that I balance the demands of work, home, and family?

    Read our 100 Essential Career Change Tips and 85 Mid Life Career Change Tips eBooks for comprehensive and structured guidance through your career change.

    At Position Ignition we allow and guide you to be honest with yourself about whether you need a career change or alternatively to make adaptions to your current career or role. As we are not attached to any employer organisation or industry we focus solely on the client and what is best for him or her as an individual.

    There are a number of ways we can help you get clarity on a major decision such as this. Our Career Guides offer personalised, one-to-one support and guidance to assist you in finding a rewarding career or making your current career more rewarding. If you’re looking for ‘takeaway’ easy-to-follow tips to give you some food for thought and to help you independently shape a plan of action, our ‘100 Career Change Tips’ eBook is a convenient source of user-friendly advice that you can access at anytime, wherever you are. And, of course, there is plenty of free tips and advice on the rest of our Career Blog.

    Authors: Simon North, Position Ignition Co-founder & Guide, and James Caplin, Position Ignition Guide.

    www.positionignition.com

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