by Moxye Staff
Changing careers can be one of the largest and most life-changing decisions you can make. Some people go their entire lives without changing careers out of fear of the instability that such a change could bring about. While career changes should never be made on a whim, there are some definite ways to tell that it’s time to start looking for new opportunities in new fields. Here are some of the best signs that it’s time to make the switch to a new career.
1. You’re unhappy most of every day doing this work.
This is not brain science here – the clearest sign that you need is a change is how you feel about the work you’re doing every day. The majority of the time, are you feeling unhappy, depressed, thwarted, bored, misunderstood, mistreated? Do you feel that the “real you” just can’t come out in this job, and the way you love to work isn’t honored or respected? Do you wonder how you ever ended up here, and fantasize daily about doing something very different?
Don’t be in denial about your feelings – they’re pointing you to a very real situation that needs to be dealt with. Remember: You don’t have to be miserable or lose your sense of self in order to be gainfully employed.
2. You Aren’t Where You Saw Yourself at This Point in Your Life
Upon entering what is supposed to be a lifelong career, most people have a goal for how that career will play out. That goal may be entirely monetary, or it may be more nuanced and include things like free time, stability and time to spend with your family. Whatever the case, if you have worked long and hard in your current career and are nowhere close to achieving whatever goals you had when you started, it may be time to consider a new one. It may be that your career simply doesn’t offer what you thought it did, or that the career itself has changed since you got into it. However, this feeling of not being where you hoped to be in your career is never a pleasant one. If you are already at this stage, it may be time to make a change.
3. You Feel Like You Aren’t Good at Your Job
Many people choose careers that, for either lack of interest or talent, they later discover they simply aren’t that good at. Even though this is nothing to be ashamed of, it can be frustrating to feel trapped in a career you simply aren’t that well-suited to. Unless you are truly dedicated to sharpening your skills, this is an almost definitive sign that it is time to switch things up with a new career.
4. Your Industry is Dying
Creative destruction is a fact of economics, but it can seem frightening to be on the wrong end of the equation. If new innovations in your industry aren’t keeping it relevant or worse, are eliminating jobs rather than creating them, it’s a good idea to prepare your backup plan now. If you’re lucky, you may never have to use it, but making the necessary preparations to find a new career before it becomes a necessity can help you to weather the storm as easily as possible.
5. There’s a Constant Exodus
Do you find yourself going to a colleague’s going-away drinks way too frequently? Does everyone around you seem to be constantly updating their resumes and LinkedIn profiles? When you start noticing a pattern of disgruntled employees (especially the good ones) seeking exits and frequent departures, this usually indicates there are better places to work—and you probably have options. No, I’m not encouraging anyone to blindly follow the herd, but take it as a warning sign, and ask your departing pals why they chose to move on. Their responses may be applicable to your situation as well.
6. You Don’t Get Feedback
If your direct manager doesn’t provide feedback on your performance—or the feedback is generic and thus difficult to take action on—it’s pretty tough to learn what it takes to move up within your organization or grow as a professional. The best managers are engaged with your career development and regularly offer advice and guidance—and if yours doesn’t, you owe it to yourself to look elsewhere.
7. You’re Miserable in Your Current Career
It’s possible to have a great job in an ideal career that you’re excellent at and still be miserable. If this is your situation, it’s a near guarantee that it’s time to find a new career. Now, if you just dislike the company you work with, don’t leave behind a valuable skill set to learn something completely new. Under those circumstances, it’s best to find another job within your career field. However, if what you do makes you miserable and detracts from every other thing in your life, no amount of success is worth it. Take the time and stable position that having one career allows you and use it to carefully plan your move to another.
Changing careers is a major decision, but it isn’t something to be afraid of if you have determined that it is what is really best for you. Though these signs aren’t the only indications that it may be time for a change, these four are some of the most positive. If you decide that it is time to change careers, be sure to carefully consider your next moves, plan out your new career and get whatever education or training you will need to ensure your success in it.