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Guiding Mid-Career Academics: An Academic Career Coach's Approach to Job Satisfaction

Updated: Jul 30, 2023


A female professor teaching university students
Photo obtained from Canva.com

The mid-career stage can feel like an overwhelming intersection of professional projects, committee roles, student supervision, and, very importantly, family obligations. Feeling torn between your academic role and your personal life is a common experience. It's in these moments that the thought of leaving academia might cross your mind, especially when you feel like you're stuck in a perpetual cycle of work and stress. These thoughts are completely normal. The financial stability that comes with academia is significant, and concerns about maintaining this security are valid.


Here's what I want you to know: THERE IS NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL SOLUTION. Everyone's journey is unique. If you are a mid-career academic, let me tell you that it's okay to consider leaving academia. But, it is also okay to want to stay in academia. What's critical is not to let these thoughts rush you into making a decision.


Being negative and focusing solely on the difficulties doesn't lead us anywhere; instead, it obscures the many positives of academia and the skills you have cultivated that can be used in other roles or sectors. My approach as a career coach and senior academic is to shine a light on the positive aspects and explore all possibilities calmly and objectively.


There are ways to improve your situation or achieve job satisfaction if you wish to remain in academia. The first step is to identify your challenges. Once we pinpoint these, we can start to look for solutions or alternatives. Is there a possibility to delegate certain tasks, adjust your workload, or perhaps switch to an administrative position?


Remember, your feelings are valid and shared by many. You're not alone in your struggles or fears. Academia can be challenging, but it can also be incredibly rewarding with the right strategies and support.


As a career coach, I am here to support you through this journey, focusing on potential solutions rather than dwelling on problems. Take your time, reflect on your options, and remember: rushing doesn't lead to clarity. With patience and perseverance, we can navigate through this phase together. Stay strong, stay positive, and know that you have the ability to shape your academic journey in a way that best aligns with your aspirations and lifestyle.


Hi! I'm Dr. Marina Silva-Opps. If you're hungry for more insights on academic career success, career reinvention, time management, productivity, and personal development, visit my LinkedIn profile and website, where you can explore a wealth of additional content. And remember, I'm here to help!


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