What would your career report card say?

Our children brought home their report card in the last week. We are very fortunate that they both generally enjoy learning and are doing well in school. Overall, they both did great even though there were some areas that they wanted to improve upon in the next term. Ah, report cards. All of us have had good and challenging experiences with this. Report cards are important as they give us some data and feedback on how we are doing. They point out where we are doing well, and what we can focus on to improve. I recently was doing some research on issues around the midpoint of a professional’s career. They call this group the “middlescence”, also known as mid-career "restlessness”. I came across a great article on this subject published by Harvard Business School. The study is based upon a survey of 7,700 workers aged 35-54 conducted in 2004 by the Harris Interactive group.

The mid level career report card results:

25% have managerial responsibility

30% put in 50 hours a week or more at work

43% feel passionate about their jobs

33% feel energized by their work

36% felt they are stuck

40% report feelings of burnout

33% agrees in top management integrity

25% disagree on the corporate HR policy

20% are looking for a new role

20% are looking for a major career change

This is not a great report card. I am not being negative, however, my perspective is that we live in very complex times in the workforce. There are many shifts occurring at the same time – globalization, technology, time famine, speed of response and the level of competition. You combine this with external focuses such as aging parents, debt load and a more fearful world, and lack of trust in government and authority in general. Let me say that I am a pragmatic optimist. I still think there are terrific opportunities and that the world of work is a worthy place to extend our talents and passions. I also know that we live in a far more complex and dynamic world. Like most report cards, it is a wake up call to determine where we are at and what actions we need to take to improve upon. Next week I will be sharing the 7 key elements that keep us stuck in this negative cycle.