I had my first mid-life crisis when I was in my early thirties. After ten years of working my socks off, I realised that going home in tears every night was not healthy. And what was worse, I was not even achieving anything. What a waste of a life.
I spent several sessions with a careers counsellor. This was one of the most positive and liberating experiences I have had. I learned that I wanted to help others to grow and develop, and I realised I had been supressing my creative instincts and abilities for years.
I got a job as a management development consultant, coaching managers and teams to be the best they can be. I studied for my MA in Management Learning with Lancaster University. I took watercolour classes and started working through Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. But although I loved the work that I did, my company continued to frustrate me and I couldn’t do my best work.
The opportunity to take redundancy came up, so I grabbed it with both hands. I enrolled in college, studying art and design which was completely new to me. I continued to coach friends and ex-colleagues, and they told me I had a gift for this and should do more. I started to write, and have completed several writing courses.
I’ve realised that I need a portfolio-career. I have also realised that I make my career up as I go along. I suspect most of us do; we just don’t realise how we can turn this to our best advantage and create a life that fits us like a favourite pair of PJs.