How does one deal with mid-career crisis ?

Life begins at 40. I have another 40 to go which will be better than the previous.

Rewind to few years ago

What more could I have asked for in life ? Working in Information Technology for Europe’s largest mobile phone retailer, managing multi-millions pound projects. A 2 bed room posh flat in West London. A family and a handsome son. All that changed in few months when recession hit hard — big time.

Few months at home gave me a lot of time to think. I could have perhaps found some job to pay the bills — but my heart was not there. I had some time to think — long term. Am I satisfied with where I am today ? or is there more to me.

Majority of us are fans of one or more celebrity sports persons, musicians, singers, motion picture directors, dance performers, photographers and various artists. There is something unique about them. They have their own individual identity — a brand. They are well known globally for their unique skills, style and achievement.

These celebrities are known as themselves, by their name, and not for their job titles or the employer they worked for. Of course, they do not come easy. It takes years and years of practice and hard work and not many are lucky though.

And that is exactly what I felt was missing in my life. I had earned money, lost it later on though. However, in my 17 years of corporate career, I did not have my own identity. Nobody knew me except for my family, relatives and few ex-co workers. This is not how my life was meant to be.

My job title, my corporate experience, the organizations I worked for means nothing to me when I leave this world. I felt nobody would care if another Information Technology expert left this world.

For those who experience mid-life crisis — the best thing to do is go on self-discovery journey, even before you quit the job, to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their life.

It could mean

– Do Nothing — Relax — Spend quality time with family.
– Upgrade skills. Not necessary an M.B.A. — It could also mean presentation, public speaking, business communication etc.
– Pursue what you wanted to do all your life. Looking after senior citizens, join an NGO, volunteer work.
– Back to the corporate world after a sabbatical doing something different.
– Start your own business ( The toughest of them all )

Where do you start your journey of self-discovery ?

A Local Library

When you do not have any work commitments, you have a lot time to go through each and every section of the library. Search for books not just from work point of view. Self help books, books about coping with failures, mid life career crisis are of great help.

Business Networking Events

Check for networking events for your industry (retail, telecoms, banking etc.) and your profession (finance, marketing, technology, project management etc.). You never know you might personally connect with people and also discover your dream career, which you never knew existed.

Research on the World Wide Web

There are many career consultants. Also, if you go through job listings for your industry, there are many job roles in your industry you did not think of.

Once you have earned enough to sustain for few years without income, it is the best time to take a break to do what you always wanted to do in life.
Never burn the bridges. It will come back to haunt you.

One must explore multiple career options in one’s life. You got one life. You are not meant to be an accountant, engineer, or marketeer all your life. It doesn’t matter if you have to start fresh in another field. You won’t regret later.

Never under-estimate your work experience. There are organisations who will value your experience as consultant.

If writing is your thing, then writing in your area of expertise is another option you can look at.

Fast Forward to Today

I have learnt new skills that I never thought of. All self-taught with extensive research on the net and reading books. Saved money on an M.B.A.

I started a monsoon photography project which got cut-short because of a car accident.

I have no regrets of quitting my corporate career to pursue what I wanted to do in my life.

Life has not been easy. God has thrown many challenges for me which I have gracefully accepted.
If there are no more challenges, I should make a soft-launch of my website this year.

I have got years of diversified knowledge that I have gained that I can write about on LinkedIn and my own personal blog.

For years I wondered what is my own identity. How will I be known when I leave this world ?

I think I have found the answer.