Someone close to me is going through a mid-life crisis. His job became so unbearable he decided to quit his job before he could find a new one. His industry’s ecosystem is so small that if he chose to stay in the same industry, his prospective employer is also his ex-employer.  This is so like jumping from the pan to the fire and back again.

This is very sad. Not everyone is a risk-taker. Starting a business or mastering forex might not be everyone’s cup of tea. When you reach a crisis like that however, you deserve to give your future a good thought no matter how risk-averse you are. Although not everyone want’s to take risk, this predicament does ask for an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach.

I can’t give a good suggestion since I am not standing in his shoes. Maybe a good idea is to think vertical and then horizontal. Like maybe to get employed in the same industry but upstream for a supplier or downstream by stepping into a client’s. Perhaps look for a job that moves you sideways without stepping away too far from your comfort zone. However since it is a mid-life crisis, one shouldn’t put it away anymore. If you op for the safe approach, this problem will inevitably come up again in the next few years. By then you becomes older, statistically more likely to fall sick, have demands from the family and is less employable compared to young entrants.

A safe solution in my opinion is to get employed first to solve bread and butter issues but start making a change. Do not stay put, do not serve your employer blindly-faithfully anymore. Unless one is a top management talent, everyone is dispensable. Buy some time for yourself, use it as a temporary shelter to get a career change going. Pick up a skill in between, maybe moonlight a second job or start a home-based business. Give yourself a reboot.

I want to share this video with everyone unfortunately it’s in Mandarin. It is an inspirational made-in-China variety show targeted at young people. In this episode, the guest of honour is a retired anthropology professor whom I am a fan of.

In this 40+ minute segment, Professor Yi Zhongtian tells us why he delayed his education during his teens for a 10-year ‘labour camp’ in Xinjiang China. He tells us that everyone needs to have a dream and to boldly work towards that dream – the bottom line is to be able to survive, to secure the next meal. However he proudly declares that he wants to be rich, that everyone must be hungry and aspire to have money (even academics LOL, totally agree).

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