Career crisis: Here's how you can deal with it

There are several reasons why individuals experience career crisis. Here’s how you can deal with it

Neha SinghUpdated: Saturday, November 26, 2022, 09:13 PM IST

There are many millennials who are facing career crisis. According to studies, many successful professionals can begin to feel dissatisfied with their jobs in their mid-thirties. They may feel stuck in a rut, wondering, “Is this all there is to the rest of my professional career?” Or they may regret previous decisions, such as the path not followed.

“It’s been a while that this feeling of dissatisfaction with my career choice has been creeping in. I have been a journalist for over 13 years. I started quite young. Today, at 35, I don’t want to continue with my career. My professional life feels monotonous. There’s no financial growth and I feel the need to more to something more financially and creatively satisfactory. I have not tried yet to move away from the field, but there are days when I question my choice. I want to try something new to get out of the career blues and I am planning to work towards that by the end of the year,” says Mumbai-based media professional Vaibhavi.

Why people experience career crisis

Khyati Birla, a Personal Empowerment Coach, and Cognitive Behavioural therapist says individuals experience career crisis when they feel disconnected from their work. “This is more likely to happen to professionals who choose a work path that is not their true calling. This is referred to as having a misaligned career. What should I do if I’m in the wrong field or position? As you determine what to do next, your regret becomes the cause of your professional crisis,” she says.

There are six main stages of career that lasts three to four decades. The initial stages of one’s career also have the highest potential for misalignment. “The milestone when you acquire your higher education or college degree, is known as the aspiration stage. At this point, you need to do some serious introspection to understand what you want to get engaged with in terms of the industry, position, or job that you want to perform. Young people who plan to become employed must set aside time to develop their awareness,” she explains.

Individuals might have chosen their profession under social, cultural, or familial pressure. These problems worsen when they get frustrated with their jobs. This should not be taken lightly.

“Another element that contributes to a career crisis is unfulfilled job objectives. People are also often ill informed about what it takes to build a career in a particular industry for e.g. a client of mine confessed she never knew it would be so hard to work in the glamour industry. ”I thought all I had to do was look good and attend parties and I would land work.I thought this was all to it.” With another client,he had worked long and hard on a particular project and his expectation of an increment and a promotion was not met as desired which induced a career crisis in him. This reason is frequently driven by professional expectations, which might include those related to the position, pay, educational experiences, and the level of responsibility that comes with a given job. When these expectations are not met, people demonstrably go through a career crisis,” she shares.

Signs of career crisis

Regret: I wish I had done things differently or taken that opportunity then

Disillusionment: This is not what I imagined my work would be. Is this what I will have to do for the rest of my life until retirement?

Apathy: Being unable to care about professional parameters

Lack of motivation: Being unable to recapture the drive, or find the will to finish work

Lowered self-confidence: Self-doubts, questioning one’s worth, etc; Trouble getting through the day

Behavioural changes

Tardiness, tiredness

Feeling demotivated and melancholic

Lackadaisical — not showing any enthusiasm or care

Irritated with the smallest of things

Oversensitive to the smallest of things

How can one deal with career crisis

The majority of the time, a working professional experiences career crisis for the first time. “The future path is unknown, and this uncertainty may induce them to adopt a mindset that is unsuitable for dealing with what we are going through. In addition to being something that one may not have dealt with in the past, the anxiety that it can bring can make things even more challenging. It can leave one unprepared to handle the flood of feelings and emotions that a professional crisis can cause,” Khyati adds.

To give a simple example: What do we do with an engine of a car has heated up? We switch it off. Right? Similarly, take a break.

Once well rested, evaluate your professional life. Why are you doing this work? Are you unhappy with the work, or is it something else — like the team you work with, the work pressure, the company policies, or something else? Some people can misunderstand this concept and label it a career crisis but in reality, it could possibly be a temporary burnout due to dealing with frequently high pressured situations or even for e.g. a maladjustment between personal work ethic and the company’s culture which could be possibly easier to resolve than a career crisis.

“If you find yourself disliking the idea of working even after a break, you need to ask yourself some tough questions, work with a professional, and plan the next stages of your life with complete awareness. People who are not self-aware are having trouble formulating appropriate and realistic plans for their lives,” she explains.

On the other hand there are people who are completely self aware about what they want to pursue next and have switched careers successfully as is seen post Covid. Whatever situation you find yourself in, it always helps to talk to a professional.

“Coaches can help you take important decisions regarding your career. They will also talk about any wrong job decisions you may have made in the past that may have contributed to the emergence of this issue. A Life Coach can help you gain clarity and confidence within so that you can overcome such confusing thoughts.They will talk about your personality, self-awareness, alignment with your objective, and what demotivates you to face the day,” Khyati adds.

Once they have resolved your issues and established alignment between what you are passionate about, what the world needs, and what you can be compensated for, they will assist you in formulating a workable plan of action so that you do not have to start over. They help you make your professional life enjoyable by maintaining a work-life balance.

(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )

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