“This just isn’t working for me anymore! I have to get out and find something else.”

I hear this from so many clients as they reach mid-career.

What happens in mid-career that leads to this sense of dissatisfaction and what can you do about it?



There are easily recognisable characteristics of someone who is in the mid-career stage: 

Has been in the workforce for a good length of time.

Has often settled into a particular career pathway and made some progress up the career ladder.

Feels like they are stuck in a bit of a rut.

Has no idea what to do about it.

Family is becoming more independent.

Beyond these, here is a list of signs that indicate that a person will want to make a change soon. However, these things will make it hard to transition easily. These are less obvious, but add to the story:

Hasn’t reviewed their CV for some time.

Have stopped taking advantage of professional development opportunities.

Is not active on LinkedIn.

Doesn’t have an active network of professional contacts within or beyond their immediate industry.

Is not successful in getting promoted to more significant roles.

Doesn’t feel any challenge in the tasks they are doing.

Doesn’t know what to apply for next.

Performance at work is starting to lessen.

Do you see yourself there?

The Mid-Career stage is often one where a recalibration is needed. It can be a time to step back and reflect more deeply on your career. This can lead to deep feelings of dissatisfaction. It can also be a time where courage and bravado shape the decision-making process and outcomes.

It can be extremely hard to get your head up above where you currently are, in order to see the opportunities that exist. Courage is definitely needed. Bravado – not so much! 

Starting Points

You have to start somewhere. It’s easy to simply apply for a lot of new jobs, without really giving much thought to the bigger picture. People often assume that a simple change of jobs will do the trick and will lead to a more positive outlook. But this kind of approach doesn’t always deliver what we hope it will. Knowing what you want, or where you actually want to move to next requires a bit more work.

The key is to Slow Things Down and Do the Right Things First.

The following is a list of important starting points.

Work out what’s not working in your current role:

Identify specific things and see if you can make any changes. Small adjustments might make your situation much more satisfying. But if the issues are bigger, make sure you can explain why you might be moving.

Do your homework:

Take time to research new career pathways, career opportunities and the entry requirements. Find out as much as you can before you take the leap.

Identify your Skills and Strengths:

You must have a good idea of what your skills and strengths are and be able to back these up with evidence. Skills that are specific to your current career are fine to include. But make sure that you also identify your transferable skills, because these are the things that will help you make the transition to new roles and new career pathways. You will be able to use them to ‘Pivot’ into new things that might be outside your scope at the moment.

Think about your work values:

These are the things that make work satisfying and enjoyable.

Update your CV:

Get help with this if you haven’t done it in a while. Optimise it by using lots of key words. You will need to customise it for each job you apply for.

Update and use your LinkedIn profile:

Make sure that you are up to date here and that you have linked to a wide range of people. LinkedIn is a very strategic place to be active. Recruiters and potential employers are regularly using it, so you need to know how to get visible to them.


This is one of those things that a lot of people don’t like doing. But it really is such an effective way to get yourself known and to find new opportunities. You will probably have a good network of people you can talk to. Work out how to approach people in a way that doesn’t come across as if you are ‘desperate’ to find a new job.


You might be seen as more relevant if you have completed recent training courses. Ask yourself what you can do to update your skills or learn new ones.

Revamp your Personal Look if necessary:

It might have been a while since you took a good look at how you come across to others. Is it time for a new haircut? Or some new clothes that are more up-to-date? Think about the kind of image you want to portray.

The process of changing careers can appear daunting. But a successful transition can be a very positive and energising thing.

Coaching through the process can be a great way to get things moving if you don’t know where to start.

Janet Tuck

Janet Tuck

Career Management Specialist

M: +64 21 526 387
E: janet@careerclinic.co.nz

Did you recognise yourself in the list of characteristics above?

Do you want to discuss how to transition in your career?

Coaching is a great place to start the process. It will help you:

  • Focus on the right things.
  • Understand what you have to offer.
  • Create an Action Plan of stages in the process.
  • Work through things that might hold you back from making a move.
  • Develop your marketing material i.e. CV and LinkedIn profile.
  • Give you the confidence you need to be successful.

To find out more or book in for a Career Transition Coaching Programme contact:

Janet – 021 526 387

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