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What is a mid-career dysphoria, you may ask? It is the sinking feeling that your career trajectory is not heading towards the direction that you seek for. It is of all the times we wonder in our heads, “Am I in the right career field?” “Am I doing what I am truly passionate about?” “Am I leveraging on my skills and expertise to its maximum potential?” “Am I creating something of value?” “Why does it feel like there’s a void in me that I can’t seem to fill?” “Why do I feel like I am stuck in a rut?” These questions can truly be harrowing and agonizing for mid-career professionals searching for life’s purpose and fulfillment, whilst needing to juggle between intense work pressures to earn substantially and the stress inducing personal and family demands at home.

Research has shown that when a mid-career dysphoria transpires, it will unequivocally impact one’s personal and work life as these two factors are interdependent, professionals may re-examine their career goals which may then lead to a major shift in their career trajectory, some may find themselves landing a new job, opting for work that is of vast difference with their current job field – starting from ground zero with miniscule remuneration in comparison to what they’re receiving at the moment if they were to stay in their current jobs.

Gianpiero Petriglieri, associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD stated that mid-career dysphoria runs deeper psychologically than what we portray it to be, where it is an “episodic moment” of frustration or “a particularly gruesome work project” that depletes you entirely. “Midlife is the time where you lose the illusion of immortality. You know your opportunities aren’t endless, and you realize that time is finite.”

Based on a 1996 article written by Andrew Oswald, professor of Economics and Behavioural Science of University of Warwick and a group of economists, they analyzed a survey of more than 5,000 British employees nationwide, which in turn resulted in the findings where job satisfaction essentially emerge in the form of a U-shaped curve, satisfaction rate declines from an average level in the early years of employment and then increasing exponentially up to the age of retirement.

Whitney Johnson, an executive coach and the author of several books including Build an A-Team stated that, “Professionals question: ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?’” She says that while “it’s natural and normal to experience professional restlessness,” We need to be proactive and figure out the next steps on how to go about this dilemma.

Here are some beneficial key points to look out for:

  • Reflect and reassess your current situation by identifying what is the cause of your professional discontent. “One reason for a mid-career crisis is that too much of your time at work is spent putting out fires and avoiding bad results, instead of pursuing projects with existential value” noted Kieran Setiya, a philosophy professor in MIT. Is the organization that you’re working for causing a sense of displeasure? Does it have to do with workplace culture or a sense of loss in personal and professional identity? The lack of development or career advancement or it is purely based on your routine and specialized job scope? Do bear in mind that to reevaluate your career trajectory during midlife might not be facile when you have numerous and non-negotiable commitments to take into consideration i.e. mortgage, your child’s schooling expenses, household expenditures.
  • Be multifaceted and seek for constant growth. Boredom can be one of the major setbacks in a professional’s career midway through, when one gets mildly comfortable in their everyday routine at work, you yearn for that adrenaline and dopamine rush from innovative pedagogical methods provided by mentors, self development online courses or even be in the pursuit of a vertical promotion. However, this suggestion may seem unorthodox to many but a lateral move where a different set of skills can be learned without a perceived increment in remuneration might be the possible remedy. One could even be proactive and seize every opportunity thus leveraging on their expertise to find and solve problems within their organization.
  • Set and create milestones outside of work. The inability to change what is ongoing in an organization shouldn’t deter you from finding insightful and valuable meaning in life when you’re not at work. For instance, incorporating activities that you’ve been putting on hold, it could be a pet project, a hobby, an interest that can come into fruition as a side hustle.
  • Contemplate if you require a change in career. It is worthwhile to deliberate over a seemingly dramatic move if none of the strategies above leave a desired effect. If you feel that your job is abstaining you from achieving greater heights, whether it being in terms of a personal or career development, precipitating your own demise may not be of surprise. People tend to think that remuneration is the only factor that is keeping someone in their respective jobs, but it could also stem from psychological elements such as a supposed “loss of reputation, prestige and status” of leaving a career path that you’re being wired and accustomed to. Switching career roles during midlife may be intimidating but only you know yourself the best, eliminating the risks you have in mind; in all probability, the unused skills and expertise you have in hand may bring you greater career prospects if you decide to take that leap of faith.

In a nutshell, it is undoubtedly conventional to experience a midlife career dysphoria after decades of churning the corporate wheels, fret not, because you’re never alone in this situation, thousands or maybe even millions of people worldwide face the exact same creeping syndrome. You are the captain of your own ship and only you can determine your own path, knowing which undertakings would best suit you – you will come to find that you have more to offer to the world than you initially thought.


26 January 2021

The 3rd NIEI Teaching Faculty Training for Bashu Secondary School, Chongqing, China was held online for a total of 29 principals / senior school administrators from various schools.

The session was opened by Mr Li Xiao He, Vice Principal of Chongqing Bashu Secondary School and closed by Mr Wan Yu, also from Bashu.

Dr Tan Ah Hong from NIEI Singapore conducted the training in Chinese.


NIEI Trainer’s Profile:

Dr Tan Ah Hong, NIEI Singapore

Link to profile:  https://www.nie.edu.sg/profile/tan-ah-hong


Related News:
Chongqing Bashu Secondary School and NIEI signed an online strategic cooperation agreement:  https://wisenetasia.com/chongqing-bashu-secondary-school-and-nie-international-pte-ltd-niei-signed-an-online-strategic-cooperation-agreement/

NIEI conducted first online training with Bashu secondary school in the 9th annual academic conference:  https://wisenetasia.com/niei-singapore-conducted-first-online-training-with-chongqing-bashu-secondary-school-in-the-9th-annual-academic-conference/

WiseNetAsia Knowledge Center
Copyright © 2021 WiseNet Asia Pte Ltd.  All Rights Reserved

Would Artificial Intelligence be the catalyst of jobs losses in the future?

One of the most controversial aspects of today’s technological revolution is the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs and human capital with the US being the leading country affected by this crucial shift. When would this revolution catapult Asia to being parallel with the US? Are human jobs undoubtedly going to be obsolete in the coming years? Are we heading towards a bleak outcome of the future?

According to a report by MIT and Boston University, an estimation of about 2 million workers will be displaced from their jobs in manufacturing alone by 2030. 11 Asian markets are thoroughly studied, 12% of jobs are at a high risk of being automated away in the next few years. It is of no doubt that if your job is repetitive and routine based, it is substantially at risk of automation. You might subconsciously ask yourself, could a machine possibly do my job? The answer is relatively subjective. It varies from different work sectors that one is in, with these listed jobs being the highest in the automation food chain, for instance, food and preparation services (81%), production operations (79%), office and administrative support (60%), transportation and material moving (55%) as reported by Brookings Institutions.

Could a machine possibly do my job? The answer is relatively subjective.

Many highly skilled jobs in developed markets will definitely benefit and be augmented by artificial intelligence’s (AI) existence (11%) than in less developed economies with a mere (6%). For less developed countries with a salaried workforce that fall under the high-risk category are mainly from Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Data from these statistics have been extracted and measured against different countries’ and industries’ forecasts on 17 categories of various emerging technology.

Based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) employment statistics, for specific job-related tasks, the data showed that AI’s effect on job automation would be massive on wealthier economies than the poorer ones (14% as opposed to 10%). Labor constrained countries like Singapore, China and Japan are highly likely to be the fastest to seize various jobs opportunities created by AI, this is particularly accurate as to which degree a job is required and enhanced is solely determined by a country’s different economic and social structures and its technological readiness.

Labor constrained countries like Singapore, China and Japan are highly likely to be the fastest to seize various jobs opportunities created by AI

An interesting excerpt from the book by author Daniel Susskind “A World Without Work: Technology, Automation and How We Should Respond”, “Machines don’t fall ill, they don’t need to isolate to protect peers, they don’t need to take time off work.” This noteworthy statement acts as a revelation to all, where one should constantly upskill themselves and be multifaceted in this everyday fast paced environment, one skill is insufficient for what is yet to come. Underdeveloped countries with specialized skilled workers find themselves wrangling on low wage labor needs to reposition themselves.

The human lineage has been constantly evolving since major events took place during the evolution of modern human species which have since begun approximately 4.2 billion years ago. It is inevitably now the race of the survivability of the fittest and that is us – homo sapiens. In reference to the book “Blueprint” by Robert Plomin, Plomin emphasizes on the significance of environmental forces where the fate of individuals and societies are relied upon structural, experiential, and historical factors. How did homosapiens gain dominance? It prominently stemmed from our ability to adapt from mild circumstances to extreme environments and our goals to achieve and strive towards a better future.

In practice or in theory, AI and automation should unbound humans from everyday mundane, monotonous or even threatening tasks that might put their lives at risk. In this day and age, humans should take on more intellectually stimulating and value-added assignments and jobs, companies would flourish, be more efficient and productive thus workers’ wages would subsequently be raised nonetheless.

As Andrew Yang mentioned in his book “The War on Normal People”, it is the government and corporate entities responsibility to identify displaced workers over a range of industries thus having the resources to pay for mass retraining regardless of age, but this notion and idea may be immensely far fetched as not every person would have the physical and mental capacity to be retrained in an in-demand field. To retrain young adults might not be that hard of a feat but the real challenge comes with retraining middle aged workers. The success rate for retraining retrenched middle aged workers due to automation is merely (15%). Effective dissemination of information by the government has to be done in real time, there needs to be employers who are looking to employ a large number of newly trained middle aged workers.

The success rate for retraining retrenched middle aged workers due to automation is merely (15%). There needs to be employers who are looking to employ a large number of newly trained middle aged workers.

Technology will continue to be deployed, employees should be given abundance of time to transition into new roles and pick up on new skills. An opposing fact to the above whereby circumstances might not be aligned with what the corporate firms or government might have in their agenda, those who are unfortunate in losing their jobs would have to seek for retraining and uplifting of skills within their own means by using severance pay or unemployment benefits to work in various other fields not within their expertise.

Automation will ultimately eradicate certain jobs, but as the world is at a constant pace of change where technological advancement will continue to prosper, more jobs will be needed when it comes to working alongside robots – data scientist, quantum machine learning analysts, augmented journey reality builder, genomic portfolio director. However, not everyone has the right skill sets or learning capabilities to take on source, channel or cryptographic coding, that may be difficult to grasp. However, jobs like teachers, therapists, artisans, healthcare professionals are to be high in demand. All of these jobs require a copious amount of social intelligence, creativity, compassion and empathy – jobs that prioritize emotional human attributes that AI have yet to fully manifest or maybe AI could embody these attributes in more decades to come and that is for us homosapiens to eventually find out.


December 2020

Successfully helped our client, a fast expanding retail chain in Western China to close the Head of Finance position


December 2020

Successfully placed the role of AVP Finance, Singapore for one of the largest diversified real estate investment trusts (REITs) in South Asia

December 2020

Closed the position of e-Commerce Operations Manager, Singapore for a regional airlines’ retail division