职场上的中年人如何自救(How can middle-aged people in the workplace save themselves)

引言

我们都有过这样困惑的时候:“我是在合适的公司工作吗?我的工作适合吗?这就是全部吗?”

对于处于职业生涯中期的职场人士来说,这些问题尤其令人苦恼,他们可能正在追寻满足感,同时还要应付家庭需求和巨大的经济压力。如何解除职业生涯中期的危机?采取什么行动可以提高职业满意度?怎样才能克服日常工作的单调乏味呢?你怎么知道是时候做出重大改变了呢?

专家怎么说

职业生涯中期的问题根深蒂固。耗尽你精力的,不仅仅是令人沮丧的“一段插曲”或者“一个特别可恶的工作项目”,欧洲工商管理学院的组织行为学副教授吉安帕罗·皮特里利耶里(Gianpiero Petriglieri)说,“而是‘我是不是漏掉了什么?’”这样一种持久的感觉。他说,这种职业上的不满在中年人中相对普遍。“中年是你失去幻想的时候。你知道你并不拥有无穷无尽的机会,你也意识到时间有限。”这些感受,即便是那些在职业生涯中取得了巨大成功的人也无法幸免,高管教练惠特尼·约翰逊(Whitney Johnson)表示。约翰逊著有《建立一支优秀团队》(Build an A-Team)等书。“他们会问:‘这真的是我想要做的事吗?’”她说,尽管“经历职业上的不安是自然和正常的”,但你必须听从“行动的召唤”。你需要“积极主动,并且想清楚该怎么做”。以下是如何做到这一点。

反思和重构

在起步阶段,先找出导致你职业不满的原因。

皮特里利耶里说:“当你感到莫名的不安时,你开始质疑一切。但你需要拆解问题,先找到烦恼是从哪儿来的。是你的工作吗?还是你所在的组织?你的回答不同,处方也不同。”

当然,人到中年,重新考虑职业道路并不容易,因为你可能有若干不容推卸的责任。也许是抵押贷款,也许是由于有自己事业的配偶或伴侣,还有上学的孩子。如果你发现自己总是纠结于是什么阻碍了你,约翰逊建议“重构制约条件”。当你年轻的时候,你可以在世界任何地方生活和工作,规划你的职业道路是难以置信的艰巨——“选项之多简直令人无所适从,”她说,“但在中年时期,选择范围非常有限”。你知道你需要在特定的地理区域工作,挣足够数量的钱才能维持生计。“这些限制实际上是有益的。”

做些微小的改变

一个常见的现象是,你对你所在的组织机构充满好感,而对你所做的工作却心生厌恶。

皮特里利耶里说,一个可能的补救方法是考虑“你可以做出哪些小的改变,使自己更充分地投入到工作中”。即使你不能改变你的大环境,“你也可以改变你工作的微环境”。例如,你可以寻找一个激动人心、高度融入的项目,或者雇佣有不同背景的员工,或者加入一个能以新的、不同的方式拓展你的内部委员会或团队。你也可以尝试协商不同的工作安排或时间表,或者要求调到不同的办公室。打破你的日常惯例,“重塑职业承诺”能对你的愿景和展望产生重大影响。关键是深思熟虑地取舍:“你选择做什么,你选择和谁一起做,你选择在哪里做。”

专注于学习

中年人职业萎靡不振的罪魁祸首之一就是无聊。

“你的生活和职业是一个很大的学习曲线”,约翰逊说。但是当你四十多岁的时候,“你知道自己在做什么,并且很拿手,所以你会感到无聊”。昔日的学习和成就带来的多巴胺冲动已经不再。向老板要求升职——面对新的挑战和承担新的责任——是一个明显的答案。然而,约翰逊建议考虑横向调动。“问问你自己:‘向上攀升是唯一的出路吗?’如果做一些有趣的事情能促进学习和成长,也许你就大可不必攀登升职阶梯。”

如果没有吸引人的现成的职位空缺,约翰逊建议自己设计一个:“在组织内部寻找问题,然后说明为什么你具备解决问题的独特能力”。问问你自己:“我的同事面临什么样的挑战?是什么让我的客户感到沮丧?”然后,“是什么让我一次又一次地得到大家认可?哪些事情我觉得容易,别人却觉得难?”要有创造力。想想哪些方法可以利用自己的优势为公司赚钱或者省钱。然后说,“这是我们作为一个组织应该尝试的东西”。底线是,“绝不要坐等别人告诉你下一份工作是什么。去创造它吧。”

有意识地追求意义

根据皮特里利耶里的说法,对影响力的渴望得不到满足是烦恼和职业厌倦的另一个常见来源。

你可能会达到这样一种境地:你加班加点地工作,同时却在疑惑:“这一切都为了什么?” 记住,“意义是不会自动敲门的,”他说。“这就像爱情一样——必须不断地追寻、努力,而且你不能把它视为理所当然。” 他建议做出一以贯之的努力,与那些直接从你的工作中受益的人见面,不管他们是顾客还是同事。“当看到别人如何使用你的工作成果时,很难不发现其中的意义。”否则,你很容易忘记自己为什么要做这些事情,它会变得“太抽象”。

考虑职业转变

如果这些策略没有达到预期的效果,这可能是一个信号,你需要做出重大的改变,约翰逊说。“当灵魂深处有需要瓦解自己的感觉时,”她说,你不能忽视它。“如果工作时一直不在状态,随着时间的推移,你会加速自己的死亡。”她表示,尽管许多人说是金钱让他们从事一份摧毁灵魂的工作,但很多时候,正是离开一条已知职业道路所导致的“声望和地位的丧失”这样的恐慌让人止步不前。扪心自问,是什么让你安于现状;耽望前程,是否需要担当一些风险,进行一些实验。的确,在中年换工作是一件令人生畏的事情。但是,请不要忘记你所处困境的积极方面。她表示:“想必你已经获得了一些专业知识,而且你更了解自己——你不需要像20多岁时那样需要别人的认可”。利用这些知识,深入而仔细地思考一下,在现在的职业之外,你想追求什么。在这些情况下,来自职业教练的指导会有所帮助,皮特里利耶里说。

挑战你的假设

你在职业上萎靡不振的感觉也可能是你的工作显得过于重要的信号。

皮特里利耶里说,也许你正被一种企图让你永远沉迷于事业的文化所窒息。也许你的不适是因为你把所有鸡蛋都放在同一个篮子里了。你可能需要在工作之外寻求自我价值和生活满足感——也许是通过你的家庭或信仰,你支持的慈善机构,或者是你倾心的项目、业余爱好或热爱的运动。诚然,这不是大多数雄心勃勃者和成功人士习惯的思考方式。“你应该通过工作找到意义,否则你就会受到歧视,”皮特里利耶里说。为了克服耻辱,“你必须原谅自己。你还需要周围都是支持你的人”,他们不会因为你摆脱了传统成功的标准来判断你的渴望。毕竟,“你的时间不再是永恒的,所以推迟(实现职业之外的目标)会让你觉得代价高昂。如果不是现在,那什么时候开始?”

需要记住的原则

应该做的:

  • 诊断问题。问问你自己:是我的工作吗?还是我所在的组织机构?
  • 通过努力结识那些从你的工作中受益的人来寻找意义。
  • 考虑横向调动。这是一个接受新挑战和学习的好方法。

不应该做的:

  • 低估对日常惯例和环境做些微小改变带来的威力。
  • 被动等待机会。寻找你想要解决的问题,然后设计一份新的工作。
  • 把所有鸡蛋都放在你的职业这唯一的篮子里。想想如何通过你的家庭、信仰、项目或爱好来获得满足感。
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introduction

We all have such confused times: “am I working in the right company? Is my job suitable? Is that all?”

These problems are particularly distressing for workers in the middle of their career. They may be seeking satisfaction while coping with family needs and huge economic pressure. How to solve the mid career crisis? What actions can be taken to improve career satisfaction? How can we overcome the monotony of daily work? How do you know it’s time to make a big change?

What did the experts say

Mid career problems are deeply rooted. It’s not just a frustrating “episode” or “a particularly hateful work project,” says gianpiero petriglieri, an associate professor of organizational behavior at the European School of business administration. “It’s a lasting feeling of ‘am I missing something?’. This kind of professional dissatisfaction is relatively common among middle-aged people, he said. “Middle age is when you lose your illusions. You know you don’t have endless opportunities, and you realize that time is limited.” Even those who have achieved great success in their careers are not immune to these feelings, said executive coach Whitney Johnson. Johnson is the author of build an A-Team and other books. “They’ll ask, ‘is this really what I want to do?'” she said. Although “it’s natural and normal to experience professional unrest”, you must listen to the “call to action”. You need to be “proactive and figure out what to do”. Here’s how to do this.

Reflection and reconstruction

In the initial stage, find out the reasons for your professional dissatisfaction.

“When you feel inexplicably upset, you start to question everything. But you need to break down the questions and find out where the trouble comes from first. Is it your job? Or your organization? Your answers are different and your prescriptions are different,” petrieri said

Of course, it’s not easy to reconsider your career path in middle age, because you may have some unshirkable responsibilities. Maybe it’s a mortgage, maybe it’s because of a spouse or partner who has his own career, and children who go to school. If you find yourself struggling with what’s holding you back, Johnson suggests “restructuring constraints”. When you are young, you can live and work anywhere in the world, and planning your career path is incredibly difficult – “there are so many options that you don’t know what to do,” she said. “But in middle age, the range of options is very limited.”. You know you need to work in a specific geographical area and earn enough money to make a living. “These restrictions are actually beneficial.”

Make small changes

A common phenomenon is that you have a good impression of your organization and a dislike for the work you do.

One possible remedy, pitrilieri said, is to consider “what small changes you can make to get yourself more fully engaged in your work”. Even if you can’t change your environment, “you can also change the microenvironment of your work”. For example, you can find an exciting and highly integrated project, or hire employees from different backgrounds, or join an internal committee or team that can expand your business in new and different ways. You can also try to negotiate different work arrangements or schedules, or ask to be transferred to different offices. Breaking your routine and “reinventing your career commitment” can have a significant impact on your vision and outlook. The key is to make deliberate choices: “what you choose to do, who you choose to do with, and where you choose to do it.”

Focus on learning

One of the culprits of middle-aged people’s job depression is boredom.

“Your life and career are a big learning curve,” Johnson said. But when you’re in your 40s, “you know what you’re doing and you’re good at it, so you get bored.”. The dopamine impulse brought about by past learning and achievement is no longer. Asking the boss for a promotion – facing new challenges and taking on new responsibilities – is an obvious answer. However, Johnson suggested considering lateral mobility. “Ask yourself, ‘is climbing the only way out?’ if doing something interesting can promote learning and growth, maybe you don’t have to climb the promotion ladder.”

If there are no attractive and ready-made job openings, Johnson suggests designing one: “look for problems within the organization and explain why you have the unique ability to solve problems”. Ask yourself, “what challenges do my colleagues face? What frustrates my clients?” Then, “what makes me recognized again and again? What things do I find easy but others find difficult?” Be creative. Think about ways to use your strengths to make money or save money for the company. Then say, “this is what we should try as an organization.”. The bottom line is, “never wait for someone to tell you what your next job is. Create it.”

Consciously pursue meaning

Another common source of tiredness and dissatisfaction with his career is Pieri’s desire for influence.

You may reach a situation where you work overtime and wonder, “what’s all this for?” Remember, “meaning doesn’t automatically knock on the door,” he said. “It’s like love – it has to be pursued and worked for, and you can’t take it for granted.” He suggests making a consistent effort to meet people who benefit directly from your work, whether they are customers or colleagues. “It’s hard not to see the meaning of how others use your work.” Otherwise, it’s easy to forget why you want to do these things. It will become “too abstract”.

Consider career change

If these strategies do not achieve the desired results, it may be a signal that you need to make significant changes, Johnson said. “When there’s a need to disintegrate your feelings deep in the soul,” she said, you can’t ignore it. “If you’ve been out of shape at work, you’ll accelerate your death over time.” She said that although many people said that money made them engage in a soul destroying job, it was often the fear of “loss of prestige and status” caused by leaving a known career path that stopped people from moving forward. Ask yourself, what makes you content with the status quo; Looking forward to the future, do you need to take some risks and carry out some experiments. Indeed, changing jobs in middle age is a daunting thing. But don’t forget the positive aspects of your dilemma. “You must have gained some expertise and you know yourself better – you don’t need recognition like you did in your 20s,” she said. Use this knowledge to think deeply and carefully about what you want to pursue outside your current career. In these cases, guidance from professional coaches can help, petrieri said.

Challenge your assumptions

Your sense of professional malaise may also be a sign that your job is too important.

‘maybe you’re suffocated by a culture that tries to keep you addicted to your career forever, ‘Mr. petrieri said. Maybe your discomfort is because you put all your eggs in the same basket. You may need to seek self-worth and life satisfaction outside of work – perhaps through your family or faith, charities you support, or projects, hobbies or sports you love. Admittedly, this is not the way most ambitious and successful people are used to thinking. “You should find meaning through your work, or you will be discriminated against,” petrieri said. To overcome the stigma, “you must forgive yourself. You also need to be surrounded by people who support you”. They won’t judge your desire because you get rid of the traditional criteria of success. After all, “your time is no longer eternal, so delaying (achieving goals other than your career) will make you feel expensive. If not now, when will it start?”

Principles to remember

What should be done:

  • Diagnose the problem. Ask yourself: is it my job? Or my organization?
  • Find meaning by trying to meet people who benefit from your work.
  • Consider lateral mobility. This is a good way to accept new challenges and learn.

What should not be done:

  • Underestimate the power of making small changes to daily routines and the environment.
  • Passively waiting for opportunities. Find the problem you want to solve and design a new job.
  • Put all your eggs in the only basket of your career. Think about how you can achieve satisfaction through your family, beliefs, projects or hobbies.