Do you feel restless? Are you wondering what to do with your life?
My research on occupational change, described in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, suggests growing adults experience cycles of discontent every five to ten years with the average cycle occurring every 7.5 years. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963
Although we all have our own rhythms of change, we generally proceed through alternating developmental and transition periods. Transitions are times we question who we are and where we want to go. During developmental periods we make commitments to and work toward desired goals.
Simultaneously, we experience the career cycle of entry, mastery, and disengagement. During entry, we enthusiastically learn new tasks. In mastery, we’re confident and productive. If our work is no longer challenging, we lose enthusiasm, productivity, and confidence. This disengagement stage of the occupational cycle tends to parallel life cycle transitions.
Individuals, who feel they’re no longer deriving desired rewards, may change jobs or pursue other options. Al, 40, was bored with his systems analyst job. Few job perks, parenthood, and the death of his mother, precipitated reevaluation of goals. Al decided to pursue his passion, farming.
Some adults stay with the same job, but create new challenges. Eva, a retail manager, always finds new ways of improving productivity.
Traumatic experiences such as illness tend to precipitate reevaluation. When Mark, a fast track executive, was 30, a series of jolts including political hassles and serious illness forced him to reassess goals. He decided to establish his retail business.
With an average life expectancy of 85 and growing, it’s possible to change positions or create new challenges at 40, 70, or older, and still have years of happiness. Recently widowed, Beatrice created her bookkeeping business at 89.
Are you experiencing a transition?
Answer yes or no: 1) don’t have a sense of purpose; 2) I’m often bored; 3) I’m not productive; 4) I often think of quitting my job; 5) I have few growth opportunities at work; 6) I can’t attain desired goals with current employer; 7) I’m not in good physical shape; 8) I don’t have a healthy lifestyle; 9) I have a birthday within two or three years of 0.
Six or more yes responses suggest you may in a disengagement stage of your career cycle. You may also be experiencing a life cycle transition.
Take advantage of growth opportunities your transition provides. Reassess goals and make needed modifications.
Career and Life Stages
The Beginning Career
Late adolescence, ages 18 to 24 or older, is a critical period. Adolescents try on different roles to assess appropriate fits. Decisions they make about career and life goals affects their life careers.
During the Age-20 Developmental Period, a person’s first full-time job is undertaken. Needs for expansion, career mastery and self-motivation prevail. Little self-evaluation occurs. Lifelong patterns may be established.
The Developing Career
The Age-30 Transition, approximately ages 28–33, marks the beginning of the developing career. Values, priorities, and goals shift; a more balanced life is valued. Short- and long-range goals are pursued. Productivity, fulfillment, excitement and creativity are enjoyed. Job and other life changes may occur.
The Maturing Career
Age-40 Transition, ages 37–45, marks the beginning of the Age-40 Developmental Period. Need for job satisfaction heightens. Creative leadership peaks, and interest in guiding the young blossoms.
The Strengthening Career
The Age-50 Transition, ages 48–53, marks the beginning of Strengthening Career. During the Age–50 Developmental Period needs for job satisfaction and a balanced life deepen. Innovative leadership and mentoring activities continue.
The Continuing Career
The Age-60 Transition, ages 58-63, leads to the Continuing Career. Many Questers in this stage tend to flourish. Many individuals explore and evaluate varied career options, including retirement and travel.
The Flourishing Career
Age-70 Transition, ages 68–73, marks the beginning of the Age-70 Developmental Period. Decisions to continue paid employment, volunteer, or pursue education or a more leisurely lifestyle, are contemplated and made.
The Enriching Career
Age-80 Transition precedes the Age-80 Developmental Period. Inspiring stories of Questers show how they continue to grow. Career advancement includes making varied contributions to humankind including social service and educational activities.
The Enduring Career
Many outstanding people did not reach their prime until 90. Dr. Helen Flanders Dunbar, psychoanalyst, and pioneer in psychosomatic medicine at Columbia University, called people in their 90’s “nimble nonagenarians.” Questers in their 90s are adaptive, authentic, and whole. Their wealth of experience, knowledge and practical skills can teach younger generations a great deal about life if they take the time to watch, listen, ask, and respect.”
The Actualizing Career
During The Age-100 Transition and the Age-100 Developmental Period, Quester Centenarians continue to be in control of their life careers. They’re involved, productive, creative, authentic, healthy and wise. Dr. Euphgraim P. Engleman, University of California San Francisco’s longest tenured professor, was going strong at 103.
As more adults live beyond 110, new attitudes toward continuing career growth and retirement are developing.
Would you like to make any changes in your attitudes and lifestyle to increase the chances you will live a long, healthy, productive life? Is there something you have always felt drawn to but have not yet pursued? Remember, contemporary career development is a continuing quest to improve the fit between your evolving personality and developing career. Only you can establish your own rhythm of change. It is never too late!
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life provides information and guidelines that show how to realize your desired life career: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963; www.questersdaretochange.com