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Surviving the Mid-Career Slump: 7 Tips to Take Your Marketing Career to the Next Level

Stephanie Geiger, Government Marketing University (GMarkU)

We’ve all been through it… we reach a stage in our career where we feel less energetic and motivated at work, finding ourselves stuck on a career plateau. You may have mastered your current role or become familiar with your industry, but you’re still far away from retirement. The excitement you felt at the beginning of your career may be gone and you might need new challenges to jump-start your enthusiasm. Many refer to this phenomenon as the “mid-career slump.”

The mid-career stage is a period even the best of professionals can pass through, comprised of confusion, change in attitude and a sense of frustration that often leads to a crisis. Many—if not all—of us will experience a mid-career slump. Some have regrets about paths not taken or professional missteps. While others feel a sense of boredom in their ongoing routine of work. But the solution is not always finding a new job.

When it comes to addressing a mid-career slump, there are several questions you should ask yourself, including what actions can you take to improve your professional satisfaction? How can you combat the dullness and tedium of your workday life? And how can you tell if it’s time to make a drastic change?

Don’t worry, there is hope! Here are seven tips to help you answer each of these questions and, ultimately, overcome the mid-career slump.

Reflect on your career and reframe

The field of marketing is vast and there are a variety of positions in the industry, including content marketing, brand management, communications, digital marketing and more. Marketing roles are vital for businesses but are also required across nearly all industries—government, healthcare, education, non-profit, and so on.

The first step to overcoming any slump is assessing your current situation from a holistic viewpoint. Take the time to figure out why you’re struggling by looking at every facet of your life—both personal and professional. A good place to begin is by asking yourself is it my job or the organization I’m in?

Once you identify the root of your career slump, take action and create a plan with clear objectives. A formal plan can serve as a tool for discussing your goals and priorities with your boss and a learning guide to make sure you’re acquiring the skills and experience you need to move forward. Outline steps you’ll need to take in order to accomplish each goal, whether its landing a promotion, continuing education or changing your current role entirely. A life coach can be a great resource during this step. The distance between your dreams and reality is called ACTION – and that is what life coaches can help to do – wake up the inner spirit that yearns to breathe.

Finding your voice

Have you ever found yourself stifling your ideas because you’re afraid of being shut down? Speaking up at work can be intimidating, but if you speak your mind respectfully and thoughtfully, you can improve self-confidence, self-esteem, and also set the stage for a promotion.

Build your personal brand and know that your thoughts are worth sharing. Whether it be with the position you strive for to push your career forward, elevating your voice within your current role or changing careers altogether, knowing the value you bring ensures your confidence conveys and allows others to put their faith in you.

Taking your career to the next level

Whatever your career goals may be, success does not happen overnight. However, there are many steps you can take to ensure you’re on track for achieving your goals. Here are tried and true ways to reach the next level in your career:

Continuing education

Mid-career professionals must set themselves apart from their peers if they want to progress. Whether you invest in certificate programs, a master’s program or training programs,

having years of on hands experience paired with higher education can help you advance to the next step in your career. Online education also offers you endless opportunities to grow your knowledge at a pace that works with your schedule.

Take on new responsibilities

Taking on new responsibilities to diversify your personal portfolio and what you bring to the table is a surefire way to excel in your current role or help you land a new position. Stepping outside of your comfort zone to acquire new skill sets is imperative to advancing your career.

Mentorship

Mentor relationships are extremely beneficial to your personal and professional development, which is why many companies and outside organizations invest heavily in offering these programs. The best mentor relationship works for both you and your mentor. Consider seeking out a mentor as these can be lifelong professional relationships that can also lead to some great friendships and minds to lean on.

Continue to grow your professional network

Finding common ground with new connections can be daunting. One group that may be easy to connect with is your local alumni chapter. Joining a local marketing association chapter and communities that specifically align with target industry can also serve as an effective way to network with your peers and continue expanding your connections.

It’s never too late to define your career

We’re often so wrapped up in our current roles that we don’t take the time to focus on our own development. Feeling unhappy in your career may be a sign to ask yourself if you’re pursuing the right path. By following the seven steps above, you’ll can create a customized strategy to achieve your goals.

A career in marketing can take you in many different directions and finding your niche is critical to advancing in your career. The mid-career stage may feel overpowering and never ending, but taking charge of your destiny will lead you to new opportunities. It does not matter what stage you’re at in your life, take risks to align career goals with your happiness and sense of fulfillment.

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