Ambition in Your Thirties

Do you think your career ambition has declined in your 30s? According to a study by the Families and Work Institute, which this article Why You’re Losing Ambition As You Age elaborated on, workers begin losing their ambition to get promoted or seek out more responsibilities around age 35. The researchers attributed this decline to people having children.

It makes sense – having children is like having a second job. Duh. Your time and energy is devoted to raising this small person (or people).

But what if you don’t get married or have children? Does your career ambition also decline in your mid-30s?

Though I’m not yet 35, I’m pretty close, and while I don’t think my ambition has declined, it has changed. It’s morphed from me seeking external measures of success to me seeking a deep desire to be fulfilled in my work. Since I’m a writer, that means pursuing interesting ideas and projects for stories and working with people who share a similar vision. Making six figures and owning a home is still exciting to me, but I see those things as secondary benefits to doing something in my life that feels uniquely suited to me and that benefits people.

I’ve also seen this shift in many of my 30-something friends. I have friends in corporate jobs who are considering opening up their own businesses, presumably more fulfilling, but initially less lucrative. I also have friends who have decided to only work part-time as they raise their children.

So what do you think? Has your ambition for wealth, power, career success lessened in your 30s?

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