How to figure out your mid-year career crisis

Aug 09, 2018
Sometimes you just don't know if you should stay or go from your current role, and the mid-year slump doesn't help. Ed Heffernan offers some advice to help you make your decision.

You wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t get the career blues at this time of year. Summer weather causes it, holidays cause it, year-end causes it, the football causes it. If you’re just about to go or are going or have been on a summer holiday, you probably recognise that feeling that creeps in: what if I was doing something else every day?

Self-reflection can be a great thing, but it can also be a disabling force in your career if you mistake ‘the grass is greener’ mentality for anything other than it is. Tough times make us all question our professions, but it’s important to know whether you are really at a crisis point or if you just need to re-group and re-focus. 

Analyse your current career 

How do you really feel about your role? Are you feeling too comfortable, like you’re resisting innovation and change, or like you don’t have a future?

You should enjoy your job and feel like you’re working in a supportive environment but a level of stress and pressure is important to ensure you’re working at your very best. Without it, most of us stagnate or naturally stop pushing for more. If you feel you can do over 90% of your job with no challenge and still feel firmly in your comfort zone, it’s time to look for something else.

When you’re out of your comfort zone, often you have to embrace new ways of doing things to ensure you deliver. If you find yourself blocking innovations and change, it may be a sign you are becoming disengaged from your role. A motivated and fulfilled employee should never stop questioning how they can make the most of their role. If you find yourself becoming stuck in your ways, it’s definitely time for a shake-up. Keeping yourself open to new ideas, people and thinking is incredibly important if you want to continue to advance your career.

Evaluate what you can do 

It’s important to understand if your discontent is something you can fix without moving on, or whether it is the push you need to move on to a new role or company.  Your career is your responsibility – see if you can re-ignite your career-mojo before making any rash moves.

Look into your role and see if you can find a new challenge. For example, perhaps there is a meaty problem that needs fixing. Everyone experiences challenges in their working environment but not everyone takes steps to deal with them. Businesses demand creative thinkers who act on intuition, and demonstrating that you can design and deliver a solution, outside of the official remit of your role, will get you noticed.

It’s also worth considering further study. You may not be in a job rut but you may be in a learning rut. Consider the opportunities around you – not only within your field of expertise but also externally. All learning is complementary; it’ll benefit everything you do.

Decide on your plan

The single worst thing you can do is ‘dip your toe in the water’. Never embark on a job search in a half-hearted manner. Always be committed to your course of action, whether it’s to stick it out for another year and try to make the gains you need to secure a promotion, or leave for the right reasons. Never leave a job half-finished or under bad terms. It’s critical that you are clear about what you need to secure in your next appointment to give you the new focus you need. Don’t just jump for the next sexy salary hike – ensure the role gives you the remit, responsibility and purpose you can commit to.

Ed Heffernan is the Managing Director of Barden.