Career Advice for Those Over 40: Averting a Midlife Crisis and Finding Meaning in Work

What is a Midlife Crisis and How Does it Manifest?

A Midlife Crisis or the crisis that stalks those over 40 years of age as they come to terms with what they have achieved so far and reckon with their failures and setbacks can be dealt with provided such individuals find newer and innovative ways to find meaning in what they do and by planning the next stage of life till retirement.

Indeed, in popular and bestselling books on self-help and work-related topics, how to avert a midlife crisis is often given place of prominence since this is something that is all too common for those in their 40s.

Before we proceed further, it would be pertinent to discuss what a midlife crisis is all about and what are its symptoms and how does it manifest in working professionals.

A Midlife crisis typically happens because when working professionals have either not achieved much or that they do not find any purpose or satisfaction in what they do.

In addition, a Midlife Crisis can also strike those who are unable to move forward with their higher ambitions and feel thwarted due to a number of reasons including familial and peer pressure to either push the boundaries of what they can do or slow down and devote more time to their families.

Apart from this, in recent years, it has also become common for those over 40 to find themselves laid off from their jobs especially in the Manufacturing and Tech Sectors and realize that other firms are not willing to hire them since they are too experienced for junior positions and not experienced enough for senior positions.

Lastly, a Midlife Crisis can also strike when those over 40 realize that they have hit a plateau since they are at a stage where they can neither move upward nor downward.

Exploring Other Options Outside of their Present Careers

So, does all this mean that those who are facing a Midlife Crisis are doomed and have to spend the rest of their working lives stagnating in their careers and personal lives? While this is necessarily not the case, some experts believe that Midcareer professionals should instead look for opportunities for growth and fulfillment that are either outside of their current work or personal circles.

In other words, Midcareer professionals can either start their own ventures so that they find meaning in innovation and inventiveness or can be freelancing where the freedom to experiment and try out new things can infuse them with a renewed sense of purpose and mission.

Indeed, given the fact that the Generation X or those who are now in their 40s were the Original Internet Generation, there is nothing to say that they cannot find their Mojo again and plunge into newer pastures with much enthusiasm.

Thus, it is our view that those who have crossed 40 look for opportunities where they can rekindle their creativity and find meaning and purpose with renewed vigor.

Some Practicalities

What supports this contention is that most of those over 40 would have had some savings to fall back on and for those who have stayed in their careers without many interruptions would definitely be rich enough to try alternative options.

In addition, they would have also put something away for their families which means that they need not have to worry too much about the monetary aspects.

Apart from this, Midcareer Professionals would also have built a wealth of connections and networks where they can tap into their contacts and find other opportunities as well as friends and colleagues as well as peers and connections who can help them in the next phase of their lives, indeed, the fact remains that for those in their 40s, the most important thing is to ensure that they can map out an action plan till the time they retire and ensure that they remain in the reckoning till that time.

Finding Meaning in the Present Jobs

There are some experts who believe that Midcareer Professionals need not always do what has been discussed so far and instead, they can find meaning in their present careers as well.

Indeed, the fact that Midcareer Professionals are important enough in their present jobs to ask their higher-ups for change of roles or more responsibilities or the freedom to experiment and that they are valuable enough for the organizations to get their way means that finding meaning in work without leaving their jobs is something that is doable.

A compelling reason why this is a better option can be that given the present state of the job market where seasoned professionals and novices alike are finding it tough is something that should be mulled over.

More importantly, as the saying goes, A Known Devil is better than an Unknown Angel, means that this option is a very viable and pertinent one to take.


Lastly, a Midlife Crisis need not lead to frustration and disenchantment among those who are grappling with it.

Instead, it can be a chance to reflect and review what has gone well so far and what can be done to better the condition instead of feeling depressed and demoralized. There are any numbers of ways in which one can rejuvenate oneself and we have dealt with a few of them in this article.

To conclude, Generation X is about to take over the reins from the older generations in politics, business, and public sectors and hence, this is the time for new beginnings rather than feeling dejected and depressed.

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Career Development