Download Citation on ResearchGate | Managing Middlescence | They make up more than half your workforce. They work longer hours than. Welcome to middlescence. Like adolescence, it can be a time of frustration, confusion, and alienation. But it can also be a time of self-discovery. Citation: () “Managing middlescence”, Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 14 Issue: 5, ead.

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They work longer hours than anyone else in your company. Many of today’s mid-career workers are well educated and have retained their love of learning. In our research into employee attitudes and experiences, we heard many stories of mid-career restlessness, a phenomenon we call middlescence. As many of our examples show, the most successful careers are the ones that stay in motion. They should prove neither expensive nor difficult to practice, and the payback – renewed commitment and productivity on the one hand, reduced replacement cost on the other – hits right away.

When in June we at Age Wave and the Concours Group conducted a survey with Harris Interactive of more than US workers, we found that people in this age bracket work longer hours than their older and younger counterparts, with 30 per cent saying they put in 50 or more hours per week.

Managing Middlescence.

Looking for less travel and more time with his young family, Jim joined Prudential Relocation’s new Phoenix office in as director of service delivery, managing a team of You’d have to be dead not to have fun in this job. It’s just a better kind of tired. In the spring ofthe HR director for the company’s fast-growing China operation quit, and Jeff volunteered for the job. First, you need to remove the barriers to occupational mobility. Mid-career employees are the least likely to say their workplace is congenial and fun or that it offers ample opportunity to try new things.


Other research has yielded similar findings: On the face of it, this is surprising because, in terms of raw numbers, there are plenty of mid-career workers eager to move up the ladder and fill senior management slots.

A fresh assignment, often in a different geographical location or part of the organisation, lets you take advantage of a person’s existing skills, experience, and contacts while letting him or kanaging develop new ones.

Turned-out, bottlenecked, and bored. They stand silent when managers discourage employees from seeking training on the grounds that it will interfere with getting the work done.

Managing Middlescence – Business Leadership: A Jossey-Bass Reader [Book]

But it can also be a time of self-discovery, new direction, and fresh beginnings. They’ve had a chance to recharge, to do something different, and they’re appreciative of their companies for giving them the opportunity. It seems to be hitting today’s mid-career workers harder than it hit their predecessors.

Such barriers take many forms. Generationally, most of today’s and all of the older mid-career employees are baby boomers, their values forged in the midst of the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the civil rights and women’s rights movements.

Fresh training is, of course, often integral to career changes middlrscence well manqging to employee retention.

Hewlett-Packard’s Cathy Lyons has had a half-dozen very different assignments within the company over the past 12 years, from running a manufacturing operation in Italy to managing the US toner supplies business to her most recent assignment as chief marketing officer at corporate headquarters. She believes three mifdlescence four years is long enough to be in any one position. The actions we recommend are largely a matter of paying closer attention to the often silent majority the mid-career employees who form the heart and backbone of your managiing.


A common feature of academic employment relationships, sabbaticals remain rare and underused in the business world. But he’s having fun. Millions of midcareer men and middlesscence would like nothing better than to convert their restlessness into fresh energy. This perception is unfortunate because people tend to return from sabbaticals more committed than ever.

Second, be sure to find the keepers. Companies are ill prepared to manage middlescence because it is so pervasive, largely invisible, and culturally uncharted. The China operation hopes to double its sales in two years and redouble in four, so the unit was already facing shortages of experienced technical and professional people when Jeff arrived.

Managing middlescence – CIO New Zealand

Meanwhile, too many organisations foster a silent conspiracy against education: The results for Jim and the company were beyond excellent. You want to go beyond the stars mirdlescence are probably getting special attention already to find the other valuable contributors, the B players, people who will probably never make it to the executive suite but whose skills and experience you need to retain.

Employers view these people as solid corporate citizens, bank on their loyalty and commitment, and assume they’re doing fine. These assumptions are, at best, only partly true.