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Mid-Life Crisis and the Importance of New Skills for Mid-Level IT Professionals

CASE FLYER, HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 4 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Deepti Nair and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Mid-Life Crisis and the Importance of New Skills for Mid-Level IT Professionals

 

Expected Learning Outcomes

• The connotations and inevitabilities of mid-life crisis
• Managing mid-life crisis and the role of HR

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Mid-life Crisis: The Connotations & Inevitabilities

1. According to you, what does the term mid-life crisis signify? Do you think only working professionals experience this crisis or is it generic? Substantiate your choice with valid reasons.

2. What, according to you, are the reasons that lead an individual (working or non-working) to undergo mid-life crisis? Are there any clear, identifiable indicators of mid-life crisis?

3. Do you think the factors leading to mid-life crisis in males and females (working or non-working) are similar. Infer on the basis of the response given in Question no.2.

4. .........................

Managing Mid-life Crisis and the Role of HR

1. The accompanying article specifically talks about how mid-level technical professionals across the IT spectrum undergo mid-life crisis. Can this mid-life crisis be avoided? If yes, how do you think these mid-level IT professionals should plan for this inevitable turning point in their professional lives?

2. Can the engineering colleges integrate their curriculum with the ‘in-demand’ skills? Can this serve as an effective measure to arrest the problem of mid-life crisis for the IT professionals?

3. .................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Intersection Desirability w.r.t Probability of Experiencing Mid-life Crisis


Teaching Note Preview

Mid-Life Crisis and the Importance of New Skills for Mid-Level IT Professionals

 

Synopsis

This case flyer focuses on the issue of mid-life crisis among mid-level IT professionals. It deliberates on the various reasons for the rise of mid-life crisis among individuals, in general, and mid-level IT professionals, in particular. The article showcases the manner in which mid-career professionals in software service firms are scrambling to either learn new skills or to re-skill themselves with the sole aim of combating the threat of a job loss or obsolescence. Do you think engineering colleges can help mid-level IT professionals combat mid-life crisis by integrating their curriculum with the ‘in-demand’ skills? In the contemporary scenario, it has been observed that employees/individuals are experiencing mid-life crisis as early as in their mid-30s. Do men and women employees experience mid-life crisis at the same stage/age of their professional careers?

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • The connotations and inevitabilities of mid-life crisis
  • • Managing mid-life crisis and the role of HR

 

Positioning and Setting

This case flyer can be used in the following course:

  • a) Organizational Behaviour – Training: Creating Team Players
  • b) HRM – Training and Developing Employees

 

Suggested Orchestration

Before the Case Flyer Discussion

a) The students were asked to interact with mid-level working professionals, ideally one male and one female professional, between the age groups of 35 years to 45 years. They were encouraged to have an informal interaction with these professionals in order to gain a perspective into their work-life expectations, career  challenges, personal commitments and the problems faced in striking a balance between their personal and professional lives.

b) Students were asked to read the article by – Carlo Strenger and Arie Ruttenberg, “The Existential Necessity of Mid-life Change.”

c) Most importantly, prior to the actual classroom discussion, the students should be encouraged to analyze all the questions given in the case flyer (either individually or in learning teams or in appropriate discussion forums) to enable them to participate effectively and enrich the learning outcomes.

During the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

This Case Flyer can effectively be discussed in the classroom under the two broad related topics.

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The flow of questions to be discussed in the classroom has been elaborated in Annexure (TN)-I: The Board Plan

I. Mid-life Crisis: The Connotations & Inevitabilities

• This case flyer has been administered in a class wherein most of the students had an engineering background. To make the discussion more meaningful and insightful for the students, a group of working professionals, comprising of both male and female employees from IT and non-IT firms, were invited to be a part of the classroom orchestration of this case flyer.

• The discussion commenced by asking the students what did the term ‘mid-life’ crisis signify and whether it was a phenomenon experienced only by working professionals.

• This question paved the way for an intense argument where it was argued that both working and non-working professionals experienced mid-life crisis.

• This was followed by a deliberation on the various reasons that led to mid-life crisis among individuals and whether there were any clear, identifiable indicators of mid-life crisis. Students also debated on whether the reasons for mid-life crisis among men and women were similar.

• Students showed a great deal of enthusiasm while deliberating on these points. In order to capture the diverse views and to gain a better understanding of the same, the following graph was used [Exhibit (TN)-I].

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Exhibits

Exhibit (TN)-I: Factors Leading to Mid-life Crisis and Their Visibility Extent

Exhibit (TN)-II: Intersection Desirability w.r.t Probability of Experiencing Mid-life Crisis

Exhibit (TN)-III: Role of HR in Pre-empting Mid-life Crisis

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Abstract


This case flyer and the accompanying article1 enable a discussion on the rapidly rising phenomenon of mid-life crisis amongst mid-level IT Professionals, in particular, and employees across various levels and industries, in general. It offers a platform to deliberate on the role of HR in managing the re-skill requirements of employees. Though mid-life crisis, as a phenomenon has been a long researched area, off late it has captured the interest of companies and individuals alike. Is mid-life crisis a necessary evil for every working professional? Can it be avoided? Is it possible to device a mechanism to cope up with mid-life crisis? Research in the area of mid-life crisis had revealed that individuals generally experienced this phase between the ages of 40 and 60. However, recent research figures indicate a significant change in this pattern with individuals experiencing this crisis as early as their mid-30s. Do men and women experience mid-life crisis at the same age/stage of their lives? Do personal events have a bearing on when an individual will experience mid-life crisis?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the connotations and inevitabilities of mid-life crisis
  • To discuss how to manage mid-life crisis and the role of HR


1 Akanksha Prasad, “IT’s Mid-life Crisis: ‘Tech’ Up a New Skill or Leave”, The Economic Times, November 11th 2013



This Case Pack Includes:
 - Abstract
- Case Flyer
- Analysis


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