I turned 40 this summer, and I was surprised that it didn’t roll off my back like some other birthdays have.
Midlife is a big deal in a lot of ways, and not just because I think we’re officially grown ups now (even though we still might not feel like it).
There’s a lot of talk about how our 40’s are prime time for a mid-life crisis. There are real stories of people who do experience real crises – changes in behavior, drastic changes in mood, disruption of marriages or relationships and more.
But then there is the subtler “midlife crisis” that many people have. The one that’s maybe not a full blown crisis that wrecks everything, but can leave a person feeling angry, sad and unfulfilled.
Why does this happen? And what can we do about it?
Psychological Development and Being Unhappy at Midlife
We are constantly developing from the moment we’re alive, and that doesn’t stop when we reach our 20’s.
Somehow, though, we’ve gotten this idea that when we reach adulthood the process of development is complete – we’re “full grown” and that’s all there is.
But it’s simply not true.
We continue to develop psychologically in midlife and beyond.
When you look at the stages of development for each age group, there are specific challenges we are attempting to work out during that phase in our lives.
It just happens that during midlife, we’ve gotten to the point where we’re trying to make sense of our own usefulness and purpose, or alternatively, whether we’ll be stagnant and not reach the goals we set for ourselves earlier in life.
So we begin to wrestle with big questions like:
Why am I here?
Am I making a difference?
Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?
Does what I’m doing really reflect what my values are?
And if the answers aren’t what you want them to be, that can spell big trouble for your mood.
Unhappy at Work: Why all of this Makes Us Cranky in the Office
When you are thinking these thoughts on the inside, and then you’re faced with a boring, meaningless, stressful day on the outside, it causes distress.
And when those boring, meaningless, stressful days seem to have no end in sight, you can become really unhappy.
It starts to feel like a trap where you’re not only caught physically by having to show up every day, but you’re caught psychically as well.
Your company seems to own your soul and has a stranglehold on the impact you’re allowed to have on the world. And if you’re not making the impact you want and instead feeling forced to waste that effort on something meaningless, it’s pretty upsetting.
Still, when any of us are caught in a stressful situation long enough with no visible means for exit, our reaction is to get “depressed.” It’s too much energy to constantly keep up the anger that you might initially be feeling.
This depressed state is the “midlife crisis” so many people face. Again, it’s maybe not the Ferrari-buying type of crisis, but it feels like a crisis anyway.
It’s pretty critical when your whole life feels caught in a trap you don’t see any way out of.
What to do if You’re Unhappy at Work
If you’re unhappy at work because you feel trapped in a job that doesn’t reflect what you want to do or be in your life, you should think about moving on.
Yes, there are many reasons to stay stuck, but the truth is this isn’t just some weird passing phase that you shouldn’t be feeling anyway.
This is a real signal from your psyche that you’re in pain.
It shouldn’t be ignored or dismissed as something “silly.” It’s very real in both its symptoms and its causes, and it’s actually an indication that you’re growing and questioning where you want to be in your life.
I know that there is a huge part of you that is feeling stuck for financial reasons, but if you’re not content just to stay stuck there are real ways out, no matter what the reasons for being stuck where you are.
The very first step to making a change?
Download my free guide:
Discover the 5-Step Formula that Turns Unhappy Midlife Professionals Into Fulfilled Employees
This guide will show you the exact process I use when I work with my individual coaching clients – a process that has been shown to be very effective.
So don’t stay stuck and confused. Download the guide above and see the exact roadmap you need to follow to find a meaningful career!