CHAPTER 2

Why So Many of Us Experience a Midlife Crisis

by Hannes Schwandt

A midcareer crisis can happen to anyone. Canadian psychoanalyst and organizational consultant Elliott Jaques coined the term midlife crisis: that period in our lives when we come face-to-face with our limitations, our restricted possibilities, and our mortality. This experience hits even those who objectively have the most fulfilling jobs. When it does, the crisis inflicts pain on the individual suffering it and causes productivity losses for employers. Yet, the phenomenon remains stigmatized and underresearched, leaving crucial questions unanswered. What are the causes? Why does this malaise seem to strike in midlife? And how can those who are stuck in its grips shake ...

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