When you are in the middle of your career, it is easy to think that there are no more steps that you need to take to be successful. However, the middle of your career is often where your career begins to stagnate, and so it is paramount that you carry on setting goals and looking for ways that you can move your career on when you have passed the first hurdles of your career. Then, here are some of the top steps that you should take when you reach the middle of your career.
Take an Online Degree
Although you might think that you are much too old or experienced to go back to education, this is never the case, and you can never learn too much. Therefore, you should consider taking stock of the qualifications to your name and looking at taking another. This is especially important if you have been out of education for some years, as every industry changes constantly, and taking an online degree can help you to keep up with these changes and ensure that you know the most modern discoveries and techniques within your sector. Taking an online degree is often the best option when you have reached the middle of your career, though, as this type of qualification will allow you to study alongside bringing in an income in the job that you already have. This will then prevent there from being a gap in your employment history and will ensure that you are continuing to climb the ladder even while you take this online degree. You should consider opting for a university like Wilfred Laurier, which offers a range of degrees, such as a public safety management degree for those looking to take on leadership positions in the sector.
Create a 5-Year Plan
Although you might once have been filled with big ideas, these can quickly fade by the time that you reach the middle of your career, and you might have resigned yourself to the possibility that you will never achieve your dreams. However, rather than abandoning the idea of goal-setting completely, you should consider returning to the goals that you made at the start of your career and looking to see how you have moved on and progressed past these. You should then edit and update these to create a succinct five-year plan that can allow you to plot the short-term steps that you want to take to succeed and to ensure that you retire with a glowing career behind you. By creating this five-year plan and envisioning where you want to be, you will be able to motivate yourself to work harder and to keep on pushing your career forward, when it can be easier to simply sit back and work in the job role that you are already in, especially if this offers you a decent income.
Use Your Professional Network
By the time that you have reached the middle of your career, you will likely have built up a sound professional network around you from all of your years in your chosen industry, whether these people are simply your colleagues or people that you have met at trade shows and conferences. Rather than leaving your network as a passive element of your career, you should now take the opportunity that having a network offers you with both hands and consider getting them in on your plan to boost your career. For instance, you should explore the potential options with industry professionals that you trust and speak to them about their own experience in the industry. They may be able to offer you encouragement and motivation, as well as let you know of many of the great opportunities that are filtering through your industry at any one time.
Go for the Top
Many people get stuck in the middle of their careers as they are too scared to make the jump toward the position of their dreams. Then, rather than settling for a mediocre position, you should aim for the top. Even if you do not make it, you are likely to move your career on in some respect. For instance, you should consider taking on more responsibilities and leading independent projects, going that extra mile in everything that you do, owning your mistakes, and taking risks that may or may not pay off in terms of your career. You should also make your goals and dreams clear to others, as they may be able to offer you help or give you the opportunities that you need, especially if they are in a position of power. However, you should always make sure that you balance this with your ability to be a team player and to respect your manager and your work colleagues.
Get a Career Coach
You might think that career coaches are only useful to people who are just starting out on their career paths. However, this is not the case, and career coaches can be incredibly useful to everyone, especially those who have reached the middle of their careers and have no idea what to do next. Then, you should consider hiring a career coach with experience in your specific industry, as they are likely to have the knowledge that you need of what to do once you have reached many of the major milestones of your career and will be able to ensure that you are always able to have new goals and create new action plans that can prevent you from ever getting bored or feeling as if you are not challenged within the workplace anymore.
Knowing what to do when you have reached the middle of your career can be difficult. However, rather than simply settling for a second-rate career, there are many steps that you can take to ensure that you reach your career dreams at any age, from continuing your education to harnessing the connections that you have built up over the years in your industry.