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The Midcareer Syndrome: Reflection and Repositioning for Better Career Engagement

Published:September 30, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2022.09.013
      As physicians'careers often span more than 40 years, the mid-career stage is increasingly recognized as an important period of growth and change. Mid-career can be considered to start approximately after seven to ten years in practice, which in the academic world can be aligned with appointment at the late assistant professor through associate professor levels (
      • Dyrbye LN
      • Varkey P
      • Boone SL
      • et al.
      Physician satisfaction and burnout at different career stages.
      ) Mid-career often lasts for a decade or more, and during this time, many physicians experience at least one episode of fatigue, disengagement, and malaise. There is increasing attention in the literature that mid-career dissatisfaction and malaise is a significant threat to continued workplace engagement (
      • Dyrbye LN
      • Varkey P
      • Boone SL
      • et al.
      Physician satisfaction and burnout at different career stages.
      ,
      • Catanzano T
      • Robbins J
      • Slanetz P
      • et al.
      OK Boomerare we oversupporting junior faculty and neglecting career planning for mid and senior rank?.
      ,
      • Fishman MDC
      • Mehta TS
      • Siewert B
      • et al.
      The road to wellness: engagement strategies to help Radiologists achieve joy at work.
      ,
      • Duke NN
      • Gross A
      • Moran A
      • et al.
      Institutional factors associated with burnout among assistant professors.
      ). Identified factors that contribute to these feelings include a sense of disinterest, difficulty in goal setting for the next career stage, and loss of purpose in the current work environment (
      • Ayyala RS
      • Baird GL
      • Sze RW
      • et al.
      The growing issue of burnout in radiology ‒ a survey-based evaluation of driving factors and potential impacts in pediatric radiologists.
      ,
      • Harry EM
      • Carlasare LE
      • Sinsky CA
      • et al.
      Childcare stress, burnout, and intent to reduce hours or leave the job during the COVID-19 pandemic among US health care workers.
      ). Overcoming this loss of purpose and committing to a new or renewed career goal or focus is essential for mid-career faculty to continue to be productive members of an organization and to possess a personal sense of fulfillment.
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