Stuck at a mid-career crossroads? Here’s why.
If you are a mid-career professional woman who has achieved career success – like landing a well-paid role, leading a sizable team and heading up important projects – and find yourself feeling lost and confused, instead of the professional pride and fulfilment you thought you’d feel, this is for you.
On paper it looks like you’ve made it.
You should be happy. Right?
But instead, there is a part of you that dreads going to work. You’ve struggled to deliver the quality of work you are known for and you’re functioning pretty much on autopilot.
Not to mention, you’re likely working long hours that are leaving you exhausted and with no energy to enjoy your weekends.
The real question that’s rolling around in the back of your mind is…
“How much longer can I keep doing this?”
Or even worse,
“How will this affect my family, my health, and my professional reputation if nothing changes very soon?”
After more than 10 years supporting mid-career women to navigate the ups and downs of a dynamic career, I’ve seen this scenario play out for women in every industry, across all job role types.
If this is you, I’m going to suggest that it’s 100% normal.
Think about it.
Most of us head into the world of working with a clear enough vision for the first 15 – 20 years or so.
It probably included a good job, a house, maybe a partner and a couple of kids – throw in a bit of overseas travel and … voila! Happy days!
Then one day you wake up and realise you have all of that – and yet you ask yourself … is this all there is?
You’ve delivered on your vision.
You’ve achieved everything you set out to achieve. But now there is no clear picture to guide your next move.
Many women pride themselves on having it all figured out – but here you are with nothing figured out. You know what you don’t want… but you’re not entirely sure what it is you do want.
I call it the mid-career crossroads.
What makes it even tricker is that you’re probably super talented, with a broad range of experience. You’re capable of pretty much anything, which leaves you with way too many options to choose from.
And to top it all off, you may have had a negative work experience that has knocked your confidence and left you wondering if you’re really cut out for more anyway.
So here you are.
Without a clear picture of what’s next, it’s likely that you’ll remain stuck.
You’re probably entering a new phase, both professionally and personally.
Perhaps the kids have completed their schooling, or even moved out. Or you’ve hit menopause, and EVERYTHING is changing. Or you’re caring for elderly parents, or they’ve passed away leaving you with a decent-sized inheritance – which opens up even more opportunities.
And you’re entering a new career phase too.
Which means …
It sounds like it’s time to pause, reflect and give your work and life a complete audit.
It’s time to be curious and to dream a little. Imagine how you’d like to be spending your time, sharing your wisdom and putting your hard-earned experience to work over the next 10 – 15 years.
What type of life would you like to create for this next phase?
Work and life don’t happen in isolation – so plan them out together.
Even though it might be scary, you get to choose. Remember, we only get one life. Let’s make it fun. Let’s make it count.
Spend some time getting clear on what type of work you love to do, what you’re passionate about and where you can add the most value.
And take note of what you’d rather never do again. For me that’s easy. NEVER again will I head up an audit process or be responsible for creating new policies and procedures. I know what I’m good at – and these aren’t it!
But most importantly, give yourself some grace as you work through these important questions.
It can be tricky to figure this out and it’s likely to take some time.
Be patient, while also excited as you craft your new future.
You’ve got this.