So there I was in late 2004 wondering why I felt like I did after 35 years working in NHS management.
Now (through serendipity) I’ve stumbled on an article in the March 2006 edition of Harvard Business Review that explains it all.
Apparently, I was suffering from ... MIDDLESENCE!!!
No it is not some new illness... it is a new expression describing the 'fedupness' of so many people between 35 and 55 years of age working in the corporate world. Amen to this article I say
Are you in a dead end job? - If so welcome to middlescence.
And just like your younger siblings known as ‘adolescents’ you have a choice - rattle the cage, shake the tree and make a difference or just stay there in your own world keeping quiet and moaning but actually doing nothing positive about it.
Here is a copy of the abstract of the article. You can see it here
Robert Morison, Tamara Erickson, Ken Dychtwald
March 2006 Issue
Abstract: They make up more than half your workforce. They work longer hours than anyone else in your company. From their ranks come most of your top managers. They're your mid-career employees, the solid citizens between the ages of 35 and 55 whom you bank on for their loyalty and commitment. And they're not happy. In fact, they're burned out, bored, and bottlenecked, new research reveals. Only 33% of the 7,700 workers the authors surveyed feel energized by their work; 36% say they're in dead-end jobs. One in three is not satisfied with his or her job. One in five is looking for another. Welcome to middlescence. Like adolescence, it can be a time of frustration, confusion, and alienation. But it can also be a time of self-discovery, new direction, and fresh beginnings. Today, millions of mid-career men and women are wrestling with middlescence--looking for ways to balance work, family, and leisure while hoping to find new meaning in their jobs. The question is: Will they find it in your organization or elsewhere? Companies are ill-prepared to manage middlescence because it is so pervasive, largely invisible, and culturally uncharted. That neglect is bad for business: Many companies risk losing some of their best people or--even worse--ending up with an army of disaffected people who stay. The best way to engage middlescents is to tap into their hunger for renewal and help them launch into more meaningful roles. Perhaps managers can't grant a promotion to everyone who merits one in today's flat organizations, but you may be able to offer new training, fresh assignments, mentoring opportunities, even sabbaticals or entirely new career paths within your own company. Millions of mid-career men and women would like nothing better than to convert their restlessness into fresh energy. They just need the occasion--and perhaps a little assistance--to unleash and channel all that potential.