Employment is a huge issue at mid life. Coping with unemployment during a midlife crisis is a very common problem.
A quick snapshot of some midlife crisis employment / unemployment issues can include:
- At around 40 years old many workers reach a plateau in their salaries.
- It isn’t uncommon to face a job change or forced adjustment in how one has to work during times of mid life crisis.
- It isn’t easy to find new work at the same rate of pay as the old job.
- Statistics show it takes longer for older workers to re-find new work.
- The unemployment rate for people over 55 is at record high in the United States in the decade of 2010.
- Many times a person is in a midlife crisis due to divorce or separation. This often means having to find work for the first time after years of taking care of a family.
All this means, that in addition to having to cope with figuring out a new life, many times people in midlife crisis have to face hard choices on how they need to work.
As a result I spend quite a bit of time helping people in mid life crisis figuring out ways to better find work, revamp their businesses, close a business down and start a new business.
If you have been recently laid off, facing unemployment or having a bit of a problem finding work. This article is advice of my own experience and from lessons learned in helping others improve their life in times of crisis.
Advice for Facing Midlife Unemployment.
Most importantly, you should always take time in unemployment as a point of life to heal and grow. This statement is so important, it isn’t even a step. Rather this point should be weaved into every aspect and part of the process of how you go about finding work that matches to your life.
Also know, when unemployment first happens, most people act with fear. Acting to fear often rushes a person into worse situations. So, discovering how to release fear and the stories that come up from fear is a major part of the process.
So from these two points understand you are in a longer more complicated process. This isn’t as simple as going out to get a new job. Many different aspects need to be worked upon and explored thru in this time of readjustment.
(1) Realize unemployment is not a reflection of you, rather it represents a point of change. Don’t try to re-do what didn’t work before, switch it up a bit now.
(2) Don’t over sleep… Sleeping too much creates depression and then that sinks you further away from helping yourself.
(3) Often times unemployment causes depression. When that is the case don’t share your depression with another person in depression. Depression * Depression = misery.
(4) Exercise every day (it helps keep you fresh and also helps prevent depression).
(5) Consider a part time job as an option. Don’t turn down opportunities in the form of part time work. It can make a huge difference in self esteem and also in stemming the tide of bills.
(6) If possible or if inspired use it as a chance to shift your life into new habits and patterns.
(7) If possible start at the ground up at a new type of work… which you are more interested in doing than your “primary” skill base. Use it as an opportunity to step sideways and then literally into unexpected paths.
(8) Simplify. Remove anything from your life you don’t truly need anymore, . This helps make you more portable and able to transition into unexpected opportunities later.
(9) Take the time to clean up, repair or catch up on anything you were behind in. Do so in ways that minimize money use also, get creative in how you do this. At times this in itself will be the key to give you an insight or an opportunity to use as work later.
(10) Never push too hard into applying for new jobs. The big mistake many people make is either over-react or under react to over unemployment. So pacing yourself is critical in how you find a path thru unemployment. If you over apply for jobs you just become frustrated and then undercut yourself on the job applications that matter. Likewise don’t under apply either. My rule of thumb is I tell people to explore three path ways (not job types, but larger life style options of how to live/work) at once. In those three path ways.. don’t over apply for jobs. Only apply for 1 -3 three job opportunities at any one moment, in any given pathway at once. (so in reality working on 3 to 9 job applications at once, personally, I always would only do 3-5 applications at once) This helps create more options, without over doing it.
(11) At the start of the unemployment take a day or two to just freak out a bit and get it out of your system. It’s at first a big blow to ego, and no advice saying it isn’t wont feel right. Yet a bit later in the process you will realize it isn’t a reflection of yourself. To begin exploring and turning it around as an opportunity. A few weeks in you will need to take some time off to heal for yourself. Exactly when depends on each person.
(12) Don’t over-rely on others, you will quickly burn out friendships or family if you do. YET DO reach for help when you need it! Pride isn’t something you can live on. The balance of reaching out and holding back is a very hard line to maintain. No magic formula exists, rather you need to practice awareness and do your best to balance out the situation.
(13) Have your hobbies but don’t lose yourself 100% into any one thing. Moderation is key in all actives.. Don’t push in any one thing over 75%. You are at a fragile point of living so pushing too hard or hiding too much… just doesn’t help you live better. Often times people in unemployment situations end up getting themselves into unbalanced life styles. So making sure you have some routines, have some freedom and striving to grow in a balanced manner is a tough balancing act. Be aware of this and strive for a balanced lifestyle.. simple but balanced.
(14) Avoid alcohol or drugs. You are at fragile point in your spirit. Alcohol will depress your spirit and make it harder to move into a new life, and drugs will twist your lifestyle quickly out of balance.
(15) Don’t judge yourself based on what you do, begin discover yourself based on who you are. Many people don’t like themselves, they lose themselves at work. So when being unemployed they then tear themselves apart. Don’t do this, explore yourself and strive to helping yourself expand.
(16) Volunteer to help out at various places. Just connecting to others will create new options and help keep you connected to life.
(17) Don’t hide from friends or other. Still be part of your community.
(18) Don’t live to fear. Unemployment stirs up fear and that fear undercuts everything you do. This is a day by day process. Whenever you feel fear: then go exercise, then reach out to be in community, or volunteer. Part of the process is learning again how to truly be on your own. Fear only undercuts your nature.
The hardest part is releasing personal self judgement on how you define yourself to a successful job. That is a major dance in itself. Western culture really hammers in to each person to mainly be their work… and so you are working to release decades of that unconscious training. Realize, most people will feel shitty for a while as they take time to relearn who they really are. You cannot hide from feeling bad, rather you address it and learn how to be better person. That can be almost seemingly impossible, especially when you might have a huge pressure to support others.
But know you are not alone in unemployment: Countless people have faced similar problems from unemployment and found a path back into a stronger life. No matter how impossible it may feel, know this:
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!
The more impossible it feels
The more it means you have to switch up what you are doing to be even more yourself.
But since midlife transformation is all about change and flexibility: a person can often shift in surprising manners to better improve their employment situation. Ironically it is possible to use your midlife crisis to help improve your work situation!
So understand part of the process is PATIENCE, to give yourself time to re-adjust to yourself. It takes 3 months for your emotional state to come to balance after a major change like this. For many people it can be a year or two in the process of redefining themselves. So Patience is key. Quite a bit of the above advice is geared to help a person make it thru a longer duration of an unemployment situation. If you try to rush to find a new job, conditions won’t really change, nor, will you change your own habits and patterns for latter when it happens again. Chances are you will experience unemployment again, so it’s best to pace yourself and get some good habits under your belt the first time around.
So you have to use the unemployment as an opportunity to grow and change yourself to be a more aware person. Once you get it down, you will discover flexibility. Then as your life unfolds in the future, you will shift as needed and change your jobs in a more fluid manner to always be in balance between yourself and society.
This is a starting point for what over the years I have found to work. Be aware, depending on where you live and your culture, there will be many variations to what I have written.