Annie Dillard famously said, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” For many of us that involves spending about a third of our lives at work, or 90,000 hours over our lifetime.
With so much time spent working, it’s a shame that for some people, it’s what they loathe most about their week! While it’s natural to have ups and downs in the enjoyment of your work, there may come a point when continuing to “stick it out” is doing more harm than good, for both you and your employer.
Whether you’re ready to jump on The Great Resignation bandwagon or are just starting to question whether a career change is right for you, I’ve compiled a list of signs that will help you determine if its time to consider a career change:
You dread going into work
It’s normal to have those days when you need an extra coffee before feeling energized and engaged at work. However, if you’ve become increasingly disconnected from your original reasons entering the field, disinterested in the projects you’re working on, and resentful of your colleagues, or the company culture, it’s time for a change.
You no longer have a future vision for yourself at the company
When you started in the role, you were excited! You had a vision of what your career path would look like; you were proud of the impact you would have and how this position would propel you towards your vision of a successful career. If you’ve since reached a point where you’re no longer dreaming of a future with the company, you don’t want to take on any additional responsibilities, and you’re daydreaming of an exit strategy, it’s time to make that daydream a reality and make a career change that will spark excitement once again.
You’re not proud of what you do
Ultimately, you don’t feel like your work is a reflection of you and any of your personal values. You may start to feel uneasy when someone asks you what you do for work, or brush is off as unimportant (different from being humble). You may be very good at what you do, and the work comes easy to you, but you don’t really care about it other than doing a good job. Usually this is also a sign that your greatest strengths aren’t being utilized! If you’re saying “but I’m good at it”…that’s not enough of a reason to keep you where you are.
Your work is spilling into your personal life
If you’re permanently stressed, overworked, missing important events, or suffering from physical symptoms like headaches and sleep loss, this may be a sign that a change is due. Whether your work is all you can talk about with your friends and family, especially when if it’s negative, or you’re quiet and subdued, unable to turn off the draining feeling of work when you’re off the clock, these are important elements to consider as they affect you and your close relationships. Our friends and family are there to listen and understand when we have hard days but clouding all your relationships and interactions with stories about your critical boss or rude clients for months at a time is not beneficial for your relationships.
Similarly, if you’ve noticed that you’re numbing in ways that don’t serve your personal health, sleep or exercise goals, this is something to consider (think: binge-watching T.V., increased alcohol consumption, working late into the evening).
Your salary is no longer a motivator
When your salary no longer makes up for your dissatisfaction at work, this is generally a clear sign that you could use a career change. At one point it was something that kept you in your job, but once it’s no longer motivating enough to have you see the positives in your work, a change should be made. Especially if you’ve started thinking things like “I’d rather work for free doing ___ than this”…move on.
Sometimes your situation can be improved with an extended vacation and better boundaries at work. However, if you resonated with many of these signs above you may be past the point for those solutions to benefit long-term. If so, a change is required to realign yourself and find work that you love – it is possible!
Before making your career change
I recommend taking some time to answer these questions below as you think about your relationship to your work, and if possible, working with a coach to dive deeper into what you want from your career.
What impact do you want to have on your field of work?
What impact do you want your work to have on you, personally?
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Brianna Roberts is a Certified Professional Coach. She loves helping people create the lives and careers they really want through coaching and professional career services. When she’s not working, she enjoys early morning fitness classes, listening to podcasts as she walks along the beaches in Vancouver, and reading as much as she can.
Follow her on Instragram at @coachingbybri