Mid-Life Crisis in the wake of a booming startup ecosystem in 2019, giving shape to your ideas and paving the way to ‘own’ a business from scratch is a compelling route compared with limiting oneself to a 9-to-5 job. The entrepreneurial route in 2020 will beguiles individuals to begin something new and start afresh from ground-up. This could be one of the reasons why many professionals in their late-30s are now looking into leaving their regular jobs to set foot in the startup game.
But, what is the root cause of the problem?
The dynamics of the job market are overall tough. The expectations you might have had initially are not met in reality causing dissatisfaction. This is often the case when people end up with dead-end jobs just to get by in life and constantly hoping that ‘one-of-them’ will help them get to the big table someday. Professionals, often, end up with a job that doesn’t nurture growth and personal development. Of late, working closely with some of the mid-age founders I discovered that some of the common reasons why they want to do a startup
In today’s era, corporates function like machines, devoid of emotion or lack the necessary thought-process towards enriching the work experience of their employees. Even if the field involves an element that the professional is passionate about, the desensitized environment sucks the joy out of it. Safe to say, most 9-to-5 employees today feel out of place by the time they have reached their mid-years.
We are always told or have a self-driving force telling us we have bigger things to do in our life. This is the drive that pushes us to study hard in school or run that extra kilometre in our efforts to stay fit. When stuck in a job that is not fulfilling, one can feel this ‘drive’ dying out slowly till it becomes a shriveled and lifeless part of our soul. Sometimes the only way to wake up this innate feeling again is to go through a drastic change of discomfort.
The job market is going through a phase causing an upheaval of unpredictability. We have new companies hiring people yet there aren’t enough seats to provide jobs for all the young graduates pouring out of colleges. Therefore, most of the bulk recruitments that happen are for jobs that will keep an individual in the company for years to come with little to no sign of increment in salary, positioning or responsibilities.
Scrutinizing the job market, there are countless professionals out there competing for the same job as you desire. You may think that relief is incoming once you are hired but corporates today have fickle policies. Paired with the fact that downtime for the sector can hit anytime. This means an individual is constantly fearful of being kicked out of a firm he has relentlessly toiled at.
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So, is startup really the remedy for your midlife crisis?
The key to navigate through a midlife crisis is to understand the purpose you want to serve. It’s never too late to press the restart button on your career and create a work-life, you envisioned in the first place. Startups offer a space for transition and growth and even though there is a positive side of creating a startup during your 30s, there are pitfalls that one must be careful about.
While there are pros…
Wisdom: With age comes wisdom, it brings perks that pave the way to entrepreneurial success. Seeing young entrepreneurial prodigies such as Micheal Dell, Mark Zuckerberg and so many more, makes the task seem daunting and unachievable but it’s not the norm. Renowned businessmen such as Henry Ford, Jeffrey Brotman (founder of Costco), didn’t get their start until the late 40s. Which is why, instead of counting your years, count the advantages those years have given you.
Experience: Since you have gained excess experience of knowing what works and what doesn’t, this brings huge advantages to the table. That’s why you have an edge.
Capital: Moreover, before venturing down this road of a startup, you will have accumulated the necessary capital to take the initial steps to get the process going. There will be no need to run around collecting funds just to get your idea off the ground.
Network: Simultaneously, your time in the corporate, over the years would have helped you garner a resource-rich network.
… look out for cons
- Yes, you will be entering the game a little late. While others would have been working on their projects for years, you would be just getting ready to sit down and develop a strategy for your product.
- Your approach to solving problems of a digitalised-era might be outdated. This is when ‘reverse mentoring’ will be your salvation. Instead of approaching new problems with old solutions, a young mentor, like freelancers, who have high-quality skills; can help you cross the knowledge gap. Their wealth of innovative solutions can help you discover ways to make unlikely connections between ideas and insights.
- Most importantly, make sure that the reason for starting your own company is clear in your mind. Your vision for investing hard-earned money in a startup should be of quality. It should not be the business equivalent of buying a Harley or getting a ponytail. If the motivations are not solid enough, the whole plan may crumble like a house of cards and you may end up exactly where you started.
A successful startup doesn’t require anything disruptive. It’s doing something that makes the customers satisfied so they’re willing to give you money in return. Do your homework, leverage your experience and most of all, enjoy the ride.