IT IS common in your career to experience hurdles that sour your job satisfaction and confidence and threaten to derail your career progression.
Some, such as career burnout and a mid-life crisis, can have a more significant and lasting effect than others. However, each hurdle needs to be identified and tackled before it harms your progress at work.
Tackle stress and avoid career burnout
It is important to know how and when you get stressed. This allows you to avoid executive burnout.
Have a clear understanding of what is expected of you at work and accept that you cannot do everything. Prioritise and make more time for the most important tasks.
Occasionally, say "no" and manage the expectations of your boss. Learn to delegate some of your tasks.
This sounds easy to do but can be tough if you have very high standards, or you don't trust anyone but yourself to get the job done. If you want to free yourself, you have to learn to let go.
Identify someone whom you can confide in and "let off steam" when you need to. Although this is an old clich, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Clearly define the borders between work and personal life, and discuss these with the key stakeholders (your manager, colleagues and family members) so that their expectations are well managed.
Protect your personal time by ensuring certain periods are kept completely "free" for you or your family and that this time is absolutely sacred and non-negotiable.
During your workday, try to secure at least one free hour to take a break. Enjoy a good lunch, go for your regular exercise session, read the newspaper or take a walk.
People have different sleeping requirements, so determine your minimum need and stick to it, otherwise you may under-perform on the job.
Conquer boredom at work
Boredom affects even high-flying executives and entrepreneurs who have already achieved a lot in their career.
They are competent and successful professionals who are well-respected throughout the organisation, yet they may find that the work has become routine and offers them nothing new to learn.
Repetitive, tedious work, excessive control by managers, limited job variation and career progression opportunities within a company can lead to job boredom, which is also a common reason for staff turnover.
It can be a contributing source of stress for employees who feel a lack of challenge or appreciation. Due to reduced productivity levels and the sheer amount of idle time spent just being under-utilised, job boredom can be even more damaging than overwork.
In fact, many people feel unmotivated and unexcited because they have been feeling bored at work for some time.
Therefore, employers need to design workspaces and assign responsibilities to keep their workers involved. Limiting task repetition, varying assignments, and encouraging employees to participate in the company's mission are some ways to engage them at work.
If your work consists of repetitive tasks such as data entering, talk to your boss about training for a different task to combat boredom and match your skills and strengths.
When boredom threatens to overwhelm you, take a break or vacation so that you can recharge your energy levels before returning to work. The best way to cure boredom is curiosity. Learn more about your company as if you were a newcomer.
Prevent a mid-life crisis
A mid-career crisis is like a wake-up call. It is often characterised by a questioning of personal identities and values, which results in dramatic career shifts by those considered successful in their organisational roles.
Many people find that they experience emotional upheavals in their early thirties, while others don't experience a career crisis until they are in their forties or fifties.
A mild form of the mid-life crisis may be a slight loss of enthusiasm for the work you used to love. However, in its serious form, you may want to quit your job, leave the family or take off for a long journey around the world.
Middle-aged professionals may find it difficult to embark on a new career chapter and thus are reluctant to change at work, even though they feel depressed or resentful. However, they should realise that it is up to them to take control of their lives and move to a more fulfilling career.
Instead of trying to avoid a mid-career crisis, consider the benefits of being prepared for one. Mid-lifers should ignite their passion and energy for work.
Some people may want to just stay in their current jobs and focus on making their personal lives more meaningful. Others may determine that it is not a new job they need but rather a few adjustments. Sometimes a change in the work setting can make a huge difference in job satisfaction.
You can also seek advice from a headhunter or career counsellor, enrol in a course to upgrade your skills, scan the classifieds or look for a hobby. Be positive and use this midlife milestone as an opportunity to recreate yourself, your life and your career.