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mid-career boredom...advice?
Old 04-22-2018, 08:30 PM   #1
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mid-career boredom...advice?

Hi all. I'm 50 and in the middle of a pretty successful career in a field I've enjoyed, however the past year or two I have this very odd, increasing feeling of boredom and just wanting to get out. There's no acute issue like a shitty boss or anything, just the normal irritations of stress, corporate bureaucracy, a changing landscape...It's more like I've climbed the mountain I set out to climb and now I don't know what I want to do. It's reminds me of that feeling of leaving college sitting around wondering "what am I going to do with my life?"

I can't seem to rekindle any serious interest & motivation. Believe me when I say I've tried. I've thrown myself into projects, tried to manage my negative thinking, and even shifted some of my time to 'growing the next generation.' But all to no lasting avail. When I was younger I just wanted to "make it," and now I guess I have. It seems totally insane that this would ever be a "problem" since I've had a lot of blessings. I've been a driven person, so hitting this new stage is very unexpected and I'm not sure what to do.

I'm still a couple years away from being FI, so I do need to keep earning. I appreciate the status I have and having health care, etc, and I do like to work when I'm engaged. My life has been quite dynamic to boot, so I'm not one who's waiting for the day I can finally pursue some adventure. I hate to hear myself complain about this, but when I look at the next 10 or 30 years it kind of freaks me out. I wonder, is this just a stage in growing older or what??

Have any of you been here? I'd love to hear how you handled it if so. Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2018, 11:47 PM   #2
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I got bored. Same old same old.

I applied for a different job in a completely different group. It involved a relocation. Very different.

It was the change that I needed and turned out to be a very lucrative move. Had another 10 great years with my employer.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:23 AM   #3
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Ditto for a friend of mine. He changed employers around the OP's age or perhaps even later. His new employer was smaller and more flexible and very much valued his contributions to the company. He loves his new job and is still working in his late 60s because he wants to, not because he needs to.

So change jobs.
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:32 AM   #4
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Hi all. I'm 50 and in the middle of a pretty successful career in a field I've enjoyed, however the past year or two I have this very odd, increasing feeling of boredom and just wanting to get out. There's no acute issue like a shitty boss or anything, just the normal irritations of stress, corporate bureaucracy, a changing landscape...It's more like I've climbed the mountain I set out to climb and now I don't know what I want to do. It's reminds me of that feeling of leaving college sitting around wondering "what am I going to do with my life?"

I can't seem to rekindle any serious interest & motivation. Believe me when I say I've tried. I've thrown myself into projects, tried to manage my negative thinking, and even shifted some of my time to 'growing the next generation.' But all to no lasting avail. When I was younger I just wanted to "make it," and now I guess I have. It seems totally insane that this would ever be a "problem" since I've had a lot of blessings. I've been a driven person, so hitting this new stage is very unexpected and I'm not sure what to do.

I'm still a couple years away from being FI, so I do need to keep earning. I appreciate the status I have and having health care, etc, and I do like to work when I'm engaged. My life has been quite dynamic to boot, so I'm not one who's waiting for the day I can finally pursue some adventure. I hate to hear myself complain about this, but when I look at the next 10 or 30 years it kind of freaks me out. I wonder, is this just a stage in growing older or what??

Have any of you been here? I'd love to hear how you handled it if so. Thanks!
Yes, it happened to me, more than just once. I made a list, on a piece of paper, of what I could do to increase the novelty, the challenge etc etc. and then I considered the price I'd have to pay for that.

Sometimes I made some changes, and other times I decided that being "bored" is a side-effect of having figured a lot of difficult stuff out, and to give that up means having to figure it out all over again, which is stimulating but also stressful. Frankly, more often than not I decided that while "change" sounded exciting, for me, I didn't need the extra stress, or the risk it might involve financially to give up the good thing I had going for something else.

But that's just me. I have several friends who re-invented themselves in their 40s and 50s, and are still going strong in their late 60s in their careers and from what I can tell, enjoying it.
I'm not sure if they are still working because the change was so exhilarating, or if it set them back financially to the point that they had to put of RE for a while.

Good luck figuring this out.
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:08 AM   #5
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If changing assignments within your company isn't feasible, you could try getting mental stimulation from something outside of w*rk - a new hobby, a volunteer gig, or even just changing up your daily and weekly routines. Look at the j*b as what you have to do to make it to FIRE, and do what needs to be done there, but put your focus on the other 50 waking hours you have each week.
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:34 AM   #6
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Changing positions within my own company was one of the best decisions that I made from a personal, financial, personal/industry growth, and a job satisfaction perspective.

It was against the advice of many of my then colleagues since they viewed the the target group as lesser beings than my current group. Within two years some of those colleagues were calling to see what positions were open. From my perspective it was a refreshing change and a huge opportunity. It turned out to be both.
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Old 04-23-2018, 12:25 PM   #7
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I changed laterally or up at least every 3-4 years in my MC.

I couldn't understand people who stayed in the exact same position for 15-20 years. I mean, of course, there's a huge amount of comfort in tenure and experience, and knowing that whatever is thrown at you, you can handle, but that gets old pretty fast.

When was the last time you got asked to handle something and had a brief rush of "ooh I'm not sure how to go about that..."? If you can't remember, it's been too long, and you need something new. Unless you're planning your exit in 2-3 years, in your shoes, I'd be looking for something to challenge me as that seems to be missing for you now.
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Old 04-23-2018, 12:56 PM   #8
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As others have shared, I changed jobs within my company at the 16 year point, moving from IT support on the engineering side, to IT project mgmt on the aftermarket side. When I made the change, the decision was aided by the fact that I was going to work for a supervisor that I knew and liked, but had not previously worked for. After a slow start, I enjoy my current job and plan to stay in it until I can FIRE. That includes declining different jobs that might include a promotion. By my math, a promotion won't really benefit me because my FIRE date is less than 2 years away. I've also stopped looking at different jobs in the company and I no longer care (very much) when a co-worker is promoted. I have managed to let go of any career related stress, I guess.

Helping me with that is working from home on Fridays. That really helps to shorten the work week in part because it means that I don't have to commute to the office which saves me 100 minutes in the day.
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Old 04-23-2018, 01:49 PM   #9
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See if you can arrange a short sabbatical. Two-three months is enough. For me it was only one month and I came back with a new outlook.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:14 PM   #10
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Maybe you need to spend more time surfing and posting on this forum for a diversion
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:29 PM   #11
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Hi

I'm not sure what career field you're in, but I was technically oriented, and yes, I had the same late mid-career blues as you do.

One thing that really worked for me was to observe what some of my much younger colleagues were doing in their respective disciplines. I was quite amazed at the rate in which technology had passed my generation by (although I was no longer a "hands on" professional at that point). I resolved to learn a new technique or concept as often as possible in order to bring myself into the "present" so to speak. Every day I learned something new, either on my own or from one of the "experts" in the business was a rewarding day. Maybe that's possible in your line of work.

Of course, once I had decided to ER and knew the release date from my prison of work, I adopted the "Wally" approach to my remaining sentence as did several of my colleagues who were doing the same.

Just one observation.

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Old 04-23-2018, 04:07 PM   #12
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Do you need to stay at your company for the retirement benefits? The "golden handcuffs" can limit what you can do, but a lateral move to a new job in the company is a good way to spark new interest. Or is there potential to cut back to part-time as a way to have more time away from work? I was able to do the part-time at the end of my working and it was great for me, kept the benefits and some income, while having more time for home projects and activities outside of work.

If there is not any golden handcuffs situation, then you can broaden your search for new jobs outside. You say you are a couple years from FI, but do you want to keep working past that point? If just wanting to reach that milestone and then retiring, it is probably best to stay within your company.
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:09 PM   #13
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I'm kind of in a rut myself.
Similar to what others have suggested, what kind of worked for me in the past was working on long term consulting assignments outside my department. I got a chance to build or learn something new in my new department. And then when I came back to my old job after about 6 months to a year, things have changed so much, that it's another learning experience to catch up on what has changed in my department.
One thing that a coworker is planning to pitch to senior management is to have managers do a 1 year job swap into a similar role in an upstream or downstream team. The change-up would help keep things fresh for people and it would serve as an opportunity to teams to share ideas and identify process improvements.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:37 PM   #14
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See if you can arrange a short sabbatical. Two-three months is enough. For me it was only one month and I came back with a new outlook.
I would LOVE to do this, but just not sure I can get away with it as I'm in a very competitive field.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:39 PM   #15
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Do you need to stay at your company for the retirement benefits? The "golden handcuffs" can limit what you can do, but a lateral move to a new job in the company is a good way to spark new interest. Or is there potential to cut back to part-time as a way to have more time away from work? I was able to do the part-time at the end of my working and it was great for me, kept the benefits and some income, while having more time for home projects and activities outside of work.

If there is not any golden handcuffs situation, then you can broaden your search for new jobs outside. You say you are a couple years from FI, but do you want to keep working past that point? If just wanting to reach that milestone and then retiring, it is probably best to stay within your company.
Thanks, yes I've considered the lateral move and looked into a couple opportunities but it seems a bit "the same" either way. Mid-next year I'll be fully vested in my 401k, so maybe that's a time to look at formulating a jump...I sort of wish I could just change fields altogether and start a new challenge as some here have suggested. Question is what!?
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:40 PM   #16
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Maybe you need to spend more time surfing and posting on this forum for a diversion
Good idea!!
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:45 AM   #17
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I'm going through a reinvention process regarding work and a new volunteer project.

I have found this book very thought provoking and helpful:
"The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention" by Pamela Mitchell.
I'm still working through the exercises.

Plus I am reading
"Drive. The surprising truth about what motivates us" by Daniel Pink.
This book is giving me insight into what intrinsic rewards I will need to be happy in the next life phase.

Good luck, OP!
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Old 04-27-2018, 05:02 PM   #18
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Rest assured, the next couple of years will come and go really fast. The older one gets, the faster each year rolls around.
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:09 PM   #19
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May channel your energy to something else.

I do enjoy my work and appreciate the pay checks and benefits. But my work is between 9:30 and 4:30.

I do daily workouts. Get involved with my kids' activities and help guiding them to a good career. Look for my next home site and think about how to build my next home. So many fun things beyond work.
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Old 04-29-2018, 07:25 PM   #20
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I'm going through a reinvention process regarding work and a new volunteer project.

I have found this book very thought provoking and helpful:
"The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention" by Pamela Mitchell.
I'm still working through the exercises.

Plus I am reading
"Drive. The surprising truth about what motivates us" by Daniel Pink.
This book is giving me insight into what intrinsic rewards I will need to be happy in the next life phase.

Good luck, OP!
thanks for the recommendations, I'll check them out!
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