Has it dawned on you at some point that you are not feeling fulfilled in life? It happens, to more of us than I think many of us realise. It is in relation to work that this can most show up, but it can also affect us more generally.
Yet another survey tells us in the UK that around one third of us are not feeling fulfilled in our work, particularly those in their late 30’s to mid-40’s. For those in that age range, and others, it would come as no surprise since some form of self-searching about their direction is not uncommon, and some would argue quite healthy. Of course you might just need a change of job at work, or as the survey points out, it might be about the degree of responsibility, involvement, variety and autonomy that you have.Then again, you might consider doing some more thorough-going career review and exploring how far you’ve actually moved on in yourself and need something more different.
Yet for many, it isn’t just the job but other factors that can come into play too. What people joke about as a “mid-life crisis” is often also about reaching a point in your life where the old assumptions no longer seem to apply. You aren’t necessarily so enthusiastic about your work. Your priorities and values might have changed. You might no longer have the same flexibility, perhaps now having children and and financial commitments. There is a sense around 40 that people aren’t immortal and that they want more from their lives than what’s been happening so far. It’s like there’s a realisation that there isn’t an endless life after all, and they don’t have endless time to make things work out. Other changes can come in parallel, major illness, a redundancy, changes at work affecting your role, societal changes, a relationship break-up, and so on, which can lead us to question where we’re going and what we really want. Some too might be frustrated by a conflict between what they really want and what seems possible.
The sense of not feeling fulfilled in life can spread across our lives as a whole, which is one reason perhaps why people don’t just change their jobs, but also their lifestyle, where they live, their family set-up, and other things. Many even move countries. It can be worth exploring, however, what that desire for change can be about, since you might otherwise find, after the upheaval is over, that the same problems have somehow followed you, because the real issue didn’t get addressed.
It isn’t necessarily that you need to change your job, or start a new career, and many do that, but that you do reflect on what’s really going on and devise ways to manage the situation so that the lack of fulfillment doesn’t end up costing you. The above-mentioned survey doesn’t, as published make much of career development, but it is worth pointing out that some organisations do actually invest in career development for their staff, and support them in finding ways to evaluate what they do, and to make changes if that’s what seems right. However, you can do that for yourself. Career coaching is one way of doing that and you can learn more here.