How much do you enjoy your job? Are you satisfied with where you’re at, or are you, somewhere deep down, dreaming of becoming a teacher, a dog breeder, or an astronaut?
Career change is one of the most exciting as well as anxiety-inducing issues in our professional lives. Almost every week I hear a new story about someone wishing for a promotion, planning to relocate for a dream job, dreaming of starting their own business, or just simply trying to do something other than what they’ve done for the last 10 years.
I am extremely in favor of change in one’s life. For better or for worse, initiating a change is a source of great experience, as well as making us aware of the other options we have in our lives. Like I always say, how can you know you wouldn’t be an outstanding painter if you never tried?
The tricky thing about career change is the timing, and the motivation. It’s a major life decision that includes significant risks and has very uncertain outcomes. That’s why people often tend to put it off, sometimes for good. Shame, isn’t it?
So what are the signs that tell you to start looking elsewhere for pursuing your professional dreams?
You are apathetic, exhausted, and generally couldn’t care less.
The first, and usually most reliable sign that you need a change of environment is your body telling you. There’s a big difference between the usual tiredness after a long day, and a complete lack of energy — the drastic and draining self-persuasion that one has to undergo every morning to even get to work.
Long-term stress, exhaustion, problems with concentration, even headaches and other physical pains can be a clear sign that your current environment is no longer the place to be.
Compensation doesn’t compensate for the struggle anymore.
When it comes to money, it tends to be the biggest motivator for most of us. However, there are two extremes that definitely mean you need a change: a) you’re only in it for the money, and you’d leave any second given the opportunity, and b) not even your wage can make up for the struggle of coming to work.
Imagine that somewhere out there, there’s a job that can both pay your living and make you feel happy and satisfied with yourself at the same time. If money is the only motivator, there’s no question you’d jump.
You don’t feel like you’re on a mission anymore.
Why do we do the jobs we do? Because we feel like we’re the right guy/girl for the job, and we can contribute with something, build some value, help people and feel accomplished at the same time. If this feeling isn’t there, what’s there left to do?
This is true even for those who have become really good at what they do. Too often people realize they excel at a job that they actually hate, just because they’ve been chasing the feeling of accomplishment that never came.
You feel like what you’re doing is a waste of your time and talent.
Development, personal and professional, is the reason why people work. When you stop being able to move further, to make more out of your talents and develop yourself, you’ve obviously become disconnected from what used to drive your motivation when you first started out.
You’re missing creativity, more people contact, more space for self-expression, or maybe it’s all just become too mundane and repetitive. Either way, time to move on.
Even if just one of the points I have discussed above applies to you, maybe it’s really time to start thinking of a change. Remember the last time you got a new haircut, or visited a new café, or tried a new brand of bourbon? The new experience felt good, didn’t it? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.