Welcome to Mid-Career and Another Round of Imposter Syndrome

Mid-Career is a time frame that is a bit open to interpretation. It’s not like you wake up one day and say, “today is the day I start my Mid-Career.” And that’s exactly my point. You’ve become an experienced professional. There is no welcome, or if there was, it happened a while ago. You’re here, now what’s next?

You’re sitting in your vehicle, holding a warm cup of coffee in your favorite “#1 Dad” mug, staring at the office you go into every day.  And you think to yourself, “now…how did I get here again?”

It turns out, most of us work for a long time.  A really long time.  And we thought High School would never end.  Along the way, there’s a subtle, psychological evolution happening that may take a while before you realize.  We’re so focused on goals and life events ahead of us, we’ve lost sight of the trail we’ve blazed.  Pause for a second now and recount your post-school life.

Welcome to Mid-Career
It’s not quite the same thing as Middle Earth, but if that makes your life more intriguing to think of it that way, more power to ya!  Mid-Career is a time frame that is a bit open to interpretation.  It’s not like you wake up one day and say, “today is the day I start my Mid-Career.”  And that’s exactly my point.  You’ve become an experienced professional.  There is no welcome, or if there was, it happened a while ago.  You’re here, now what’s next?

You’re going to be here a long time.  Some will say, “if you’re bored, why not change it up?”  And those who get comfortable, often have the rug pulled out from underneath them.  Brace yourself, Life is coming.

Another Round of Imposter Syndrome
There are plenty of good articles about dealing with Imposter Syndrome.  There’s not much I can add to them.  What I did notice was that most of them don’t address the fact that you can deal with it multiple times over the course of a career.  Maybe it’s something you are constantly battling?

Thus far, of all the articles I’ve written this year, I’ve struggled with this one the most.  I’ve rewritten and modified it to go many different directions.  It was like I was experiencing a mini-bout of Imposter Syndrome as I wrote, feeling like my inability to string cohesive words together to make any kind of point would in fact prove that I shouldn’t be writing in the first place.  And this is what made me decide that, more than ever, I need to get this one out of my system.

I made a pivot a few years back when I decided not to pursue coding any further, taking on the role of a Technical Program Manager instead.  I dealt with the ghosts who shamed me, saying I clearly wasn’t good enough to be a top notch developer.  Then, came the ghosts who said I had no right in this new position because I had no training in management.  And, when I earned the senior moniker, these ghosts continued, “and exactly how are you any different than before?”

I seem to be going through a tug-of-war between confidence and doubt.  Considering I’m 10+ years into my professional career, I imagine that battle is no where near complete.

The Pursuit of Happiness
What a bleak article, eh?  But there are some simplified takeaways:

  • For most of us, our work/career spans the majority of our life.
  • Along the way, risks arise and can become issues.
  • Mentally, you can easily fall into a trap.

These are things to be aware of, whether you are early in your career, struggling though challenges now or dealing with the repercussions of a series of unfortunate events.  You might be simply going through the motions, unaware of how deep you might be in a rut.  The simplest question, and one to ask yourself often (pro-tip:  setup a regularly recurring reminder):  are you happy?

For me, the answer is Yes!, but I’m not satisfied.  I enjoy my role now and have found this blog to be a welcomed creative outlet that helps me tweak and tune how I approach my career and life.  In fact, I’m more motivated than ever to keep learning new things and perfecting other things.  This hunger propels me forward.  I do make mistakes (often!) and others might be judging me, but there’s too much I want to do to let that slow me down.  Bring it on, Life.

So…are you happy?  If not, ask yourself Why?  Take time in answering that.  Then start making a game plan.  It’s never too late to start pursuing happiness.