It’s 6:30 a.m., your alarm is going off, and all you want to do is hide under the covers. Come to think of it, that’s all you’ve wanted to do every weekday morning for months. Or has it been years? But, a job is a job, and off you go. Dressed and forcing a smile, you tell yourself it’s not so bad. It could be worse.
Yes, but — could it also be better?
People change careers between three and seven times in their lifetime, so it’s not surprising that you might be thinking about a significant change. However, it’s also common to be nervous and unsure.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska
How can you tell it’s time to switch careers? Here are some signs.
You’re Disconnected and Bored
Being apathetic at work is surprisingly common, but that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it. If you’re mentally checked out every day, you’re not doing your position, coworkers, or company any favours.
More importantly, you’re not doing yourself any favours. If this bored, apathetic state has lasted months or years, it’s time to take action.
Ask yourself, “Do I feel emotional, socially, and mentally drained after work? Am I just having an off day, or has this been going on for a long time?” For many, COVID-19 put a lot of strain on their emotions and daily lives. You might try practising some mindfulness at work to see if it helps.
If you find that your feelings are not the results of a short-term stressor but are a long-term problem, it’s time to take a step in a new direction.
Your Skills Aren’t Being Utilised
When you apply for a job, it’s usually because you have showcased the skills on your resume that fit that position. You can be excited about the opportunity to utilise what you know and to add more skills to your repertoire.
If you’re not challenged in your position anymore, you might look for a new job that offers additional advancement opportunities. However, sometimes it’s not a new job you need but an entirely new career.
Some people fall into jobs simply because they are nearby, available at a time of need, or otherwise convenient. It may not match your skills at all. Once you’ve gotten on your feet and can see what’s available, you may realise you’re in the wrong career.
What do you daydream about? What would you do if money wasn’t a concern? Those are valid career options. Start creating a plan for how you can make the shift. You’ll be so much happier once you do!
You Hate What You Do
While having a job is usually better than not having one, you might be in a career where you dislike the work. If you don’t like most of the tasks and processes that are a part of your day, you may be in the wrong place.
For instance, someone who longs for physical activity may feel intensely dissatisfied in an office job, no matter how well it pays. One of the best ways for this person to be satisfied with her job is to focus her search on jobs that conform to her likes, such as movement and activities. She could then find a new career in a field that requires physical activity like travel.
Another example would be if your work is no longer in alignment with your values. Perhaps you started working at a company because you loved its mission and focus, but your worldview has changed since then. It could be time for you to move on and find a career that aligns with your current values.
Your Job is Affecting Your Daily Life
Over time, things begin to wear us down. This can happen emotionally, physically, mentally, or in all three areas. If you notice that your job is taking a big toll on your daily life, you may need to transition into a new type of work.
For instance, some people find that office lighting or stress triggers migraines that can significantly impact their ability to enjoy life. Others find that chronic stress causes physical illness. You might be irritable with those you care about most.
There are a lot of careers, but there’s only one of you. You have to take care of yourself! If struggles with your work are bleeding over into other areas of life, it’s definitely time to transition into a new job that’s better for your health.
It’s About More Than Money
Some people feel trapped in a career simply because they make a lot more money than they could in another arena. Often these folks find out much later that the money was never worth it — one of the biggest regrets at the end of life is not having the courage to live out your dreams.
Don’t let money hold you back. If you’re experiencing clear signs that it’s time to switch careers, do some research and find a better fit field. You may be able to start fresh now, or you might need additional education.
In the end, what matters is that you do what fulfils you. You only have one life — make it great!