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Dealing with a career crisis

Working for large companies or organizations has many potential advantages – structured career paths, sponsored training and development, good pay and benefits, security of employment, opportunities to expand skills and experience, overseas assignments etcYet it is common for many who have had successful careers in their chosen professions to become unhappy, disillusioned and demotivated. This can happen for many reasons :

– relationship issues with direct reports, peers or line management
– lack of opportunity for further advancement
– too long in a specialist role, typecasting
– a new role has taken them away from their core competence
– organizational change or crisis, cut backs, uncertainty about future

None of the above may apply and you may still be unhappy. If this is the case you may have issues with work/ life balance, personal issues which are affecting your work performance, or there is a ‘side of you’ which is not finding expression in your current career.

So the first and most important tip is to undertake an accurate diagnosis, ideally with the support of a career coach, to get to the root cause of your dissatisfaction. This may require a lot of reflection on your behalf and teasing out over time. Of course, your wants and needs are not static and will naturally  evolve over time, as you grow as an individual (regardless of your career status).

Once you have completed this first step my next tip is to do nothing precipitous, that you may come to regret. A cool head is needed to weight up all your options. There can be a temptation to take all those corporate perks for granted and to jump ship into unchartered waters, which may hold risks that are not immediately apparent. Evolution towards an end goal and a specific action plan to address specific issues may be the best option. This is not to rule out a change in career direction, as long as you realistically assess all the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’.

If you conclude that there is limited scope to change your work situation change your perceptions about work, and the place work has in your life.  For example, develop outside interests to give you satisfaction that you cannot achieve at work. Develop the mental discipline to leave work issues at work. Learn to accept the aspects of your job that you cannot change. Whatever is happening at work learn not to take it personally. In terms of maintaining a positive disposition develop the habit of appreciating daily the good things about your work, and life in general. Yes, count your blessings !

Finally, if you are feeling demotivated while you work through a career crisis continue to give of your best at all times and strive to maintain high standards of personal behavior. This can be a challenge if others are behaving badly towards you or there has been a decline in standards across the organization. To do otherwise will only exacerbate issues you have and undermine your self esteem.



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