As people look back over their working lives it is not uncommon to find them asking questions about service, achievement and satisfaction. Some may be in positions where the opportunities for development through work are limited and they may increasingly identify with the view that there’s a considerable difference between twenty years of experience, and one year of experience relived twenty times! Unsurprisingly, this feeling can be expressed in employee’s engagement with their work. Gallup, for example, has found that the percentage of actively disengaged workers tends to be highest among those aged 40-49. Workers in this age group were almost 1.5 times as likely as those aged 18-29 or those aged 60 and older to be actively disengaged (15% for both the youngest and oldest age groups).
Faced with the evidence, Gallup concluded that, once employees are past early adulthood – the years when many are learning their chosen profession – they become significantly less likely to strongly agree that their workplace is a source of personal development.
Evidence from psychological research confirms what shared experience would suggest: that life goals and motivation tend to shift, as people grow older. As many coaches would confirm, mid-life is a time when people re-evaluate their goals and make changes accordingly.
Sometimes the incentive to make these career changes may be fuelled by a sense of dashed expectations. Hannes Schwandt, an economist at the University of Zurich found that young people overestimate their future happiness, and so feel disappointed as life goes on. But as people approach 60, they start underestimating their future happiness, and then are pleasantly surprised by reality.
For many, accumulated wealth, relative security and a desire to really make a difference or to “give something back” propels individuals in mid-life toward something of a career crisis. E B White captured their quandary: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
The experience of a number of mid-life career changers shows that applying professional expertise gained in another sector to the development sector is possible. Making the career change, finding desired vocational purpose and really making a difference can all be achieved in mid-life.
If you have the desire to apply your skills and significant experience to make a real difference in the development sector I invite you to enrol now for an introductory Impactpool “Mid-Life Career Change” webinar on June 21 at 12.00 BST. In just an hour you will gain a helicopter view of some valuable ways to undertake the self-assessment process necessary to take stock of your transferable capabilities and experience; how to manage the risks associated with a mid-life career change; the importance of vocational values in this type of career move and a four step plan to manage a successful career move to a new role that really matters to you.