After you’ve been working for 20 years or more, it’s natural to assume that you know how to manage your career. However, a study by Harvard Business Review found that mid-career professionals need help if they want to avoid being undervalued and overworked.
The researchers found that professionals between the ages of 40 and 48 were the group most likely to make work decisions that led to less-than-successful outcomes.
This was partly due to the pressures of keeping up with daily demands and feeling stressed about making changes. Employees often felt trapped between the need to innovate and the fear of being penalized if they took risks that didn’t produce quick gains.
if you think you’re heading into a rut, there are many ways to recharge your career. Try these suggestions for dealing with fear and boredom and achieving more balance in your life.
- Focus on strategy. Distinguish between leading and managing. Think about the purpose and impact of your work as well as how to get it done. Look for opportunities to influence and inspire others.
- Ask for feedback. Let your colleagues know that you value their opinions and advice. Thank them for their input and use it to enhance your performance.
- Cultivate your network. Warm up old contacts and reach out to new ones. Schedule at least one coffee date or business lunch a week. Join committees at your professional association and attend networking events.
- Find a mentor. Find someone you trust with expertise in areas that interest you. Remember that mentoring can be helpful at any stage in your career.
- Continue learning. Sign up for training sessions at work and browse online for certification courses. Subscribe to industry publications and discuss them with your colleagues.
- Practice deliberately. Apply what you learn to your daily work. Set goals for increasing your productivity and accomplishments.
- Review yourself regularly. Evaluate your career at least once every six months. Update your resume and social media profiles. Set specific goals to strive for.
- Practice self-care. You’re more likely to have a successful career if you make your personal wellbeing a top priority. Eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
- Strengthen your relationships. Spend time with family and friends. Build a network of support with loved ones who know you and care about you.
- Maximize your leisure time. Use your hours outside the office wisely. Develop a hobby that challenges and relaxes you. Participate in cultural activities and team sports.
- Deepen your spirituality. Connect with something larger than yourself. Clarify your values and purpose in life. Pray, meditate, and read inspiring texts each day. Join a spiritual community with others who share your beliefs.
- Work smarter. Free up more time and energy for the things that matter to you. Plan your week in advance and coordinate errands. Leverage technology to complete tasks faster. Figure out the times of day when your performance peaks and use those hours to focus on your top priorities.
- Lighten up. You can enjoy life while taking your responsibilities seriously. A cheerful attitude may even help you to achieve more. Take frequent breaks and see the humor in difficult situations. Turn household chores and office paperwork into a game.
Your mid-career years can be an exciting time to learn and grow. You can make dramatic changes like changing jobs or starting a new business or make smaller adjustments in how you approach your current position and daily life.