Workers in the UK including those in leadership and management are less happy than in France, Germany, the US, Canada and Australia, said a report by recruitment agency Randstad.
As a result of the study (involving 45,000 employees from 32 countries) it is estimated that 9.9 Million British workers are unsatisfied with their jobs. As a result Randstad said the disillusionment increased staff turnover and absenteeism, and could account for problems of low productivity.
The report also highlighted that people at the start and end of their career are the happiest, and people in the ‘middle’ of their working life (aged 35 to 44) are the least happy. This phenomenon has been dubbed the mid-career crisis. It is people in this age group that are most likely to be in leadership and management positions. Is that the problem?
Here are my thoughts and tips on how to avoid the mid- career crisis and if you are already in ‘one’, how to escape!
My first thought is this; be honest, managing people is one of the most challenging parts of your job, am I right?
When we start out in our careers very few of us will have gone straight into a job that involved managing people. We were the ones being managed. We had the opportunity to get on with our own jobs without the complexity and demands that management brings. At some point we have the burden of ‘people management’ thrust upon us and it is at this point that the ‘job’ changes.
For some it is the start of an exciting new journey that they both wanted and knew they would be good at. For many however it is the start of a nightmare that takes their focus away from the job that they love.
I have met many managers that lament their previous roles that were free from the shackles of management. Teachers that have become deputy heads or heads find themselves embroiled in endless admin and separated from the classroom and children. Sales managers that were exceptional sales people and promoted on that basis, only to find they didn’t have the same passion for their work anymore.
This is often the reason for a mid-career crisis and one of the reasons why management and leadership people lack motivation and aspiration. They would like to turn the clock back and just do their old job but they can’t. They are chained to the ‘money trap’ as they have mortgages and families to support. They struggle to do this on their management wage and can’t simply resign their responsibilities. So in effect, the mid-career crisis and the mid-life crisis are pretty much hand in glove!
To avoid the mid-career crisis:
If you are already in that mid-career crisis:
If you are not happy at work then you won’t perform to the best of your ability. You owe it to yourself and to your employer to do what is right for you and ultimately right for them too!
Head of Training
Originally published: 14 October, 2013