For most people, finding a fulfilling career doesn’t happen overnight. Some know exactly what they want to do for a living, but for many, it’s a long process of trial and error with pitfalls along the way. Each new job holds a lesson about what is and isn’t wanted in a fulfilling career, and hopefully a fulfilling career can be found.
But sometimes, you get stuck in a job that you hate. The paycheck is good, and it’s close to home, but the work is mindless and you’re unappreciated. You spend most of your day surfing the Internet, doing the minimum and watching the clock tick slowly. Is it the company that isn’t a good fit, and you could you be happy somewhere else? Or is it really your work that is a mind-numbing waste of your potential, and you’ll feel depressed and unappreciated as long as you do it? Either way, it’s time for a change.
It is imperative to reflect on a regular basis, to make sure that your job is aligned with your long-term goals. The process of trial and error takes awareness. Here are some signs to watch for, to tell if it’s time to trade your current career for something else.
1. Your body is telling you something is wrong.
Declining health is the first indicator that your chosen profession is not right. Are you constantly exhausted and feel like it’s impossible to get out of bed in the morning, then feel spent when you get home? Do you get frequent migraines? Have difficulty concentrating? Chronic illnesses, anxiety and other maladies like heart disease are often linked directly to stress. Because most of us spend the majority of our time working, it stands that if you are stressed about work, your body will start to show it.
2. You’re only there for the money, and the money isn’t enough anymore.
Are you sacrificing your happiness for a paycheck? Do you feel empty and bored, and wait for two weeks of vacation to fulfill your yearly quota of fun? Of course, everyone needs to make money to survive. Stability is an imperative. But money isn’t everything. Don’t be afraid to leave a terrible job because the paycheck is sweet. It’s likely more money will follow when you are personally and professional fulfilled doing what you love instead of sticking around just for the payout.
3. You daydream about a different career.
Do you find yourself daydreaming at work about what it would be like to freelance, or front a rock band, or be a stay-at-home dad? Though there’s nothing wrong with a little speculation and dreaming of alternatives, constant checking out to wistfully imagine a preferred future is a sure sign that you need to change careers right away.
4. You’re embarrassed to tell people what you do.
Imagine you’re at a party and someone you admire asks you what you do for a living. Would you feel embarrassed to reply, or wish you could tell them something different? In all likelihood you already know you’re not living up to your own potential, and your embarrassment is a good indication that now is the time to step toward a career that you’re proud to claim.
5. You’ve lost your passion.
Has the passion that excited you when you started your job worn away? Is the thing that you’re really passionate about shoved aside because your time and energy is being sucked up by your job? Or, perhaps a boss who sticks to the status quo beat all your good ideas out of you. Whatever it is that made your passion nosedive, if you have no passion left, it’s time to seek it out again.
6. You’re always stressed and unhappy.
It’s inevitable that there will be times where stress gets the best of you, or you feel bad. Everyone has bad days. But do you feel hopeless just thinking about work? Do you find yourself constantly griping to your friends about your job, or just feel negative and unhappy most of the time, especially at work? If you’ve become a bitter person and don’t recognize yourself anymore, it is definitely time to find a career that makes you feel happy and alive.
7. You’re apathetic and bored.
Everyone has days where their heart isn’t in it. Given enough time, any job can cause moments of boredom. But hopefully, those days are few and far between and there’s mostly a sense of excitement or at least gratitude for what you’re doing. If you feel constantly zoned out, wishing you were somewhere else, or just don’t try anymore, it’s time to go. Find a place that makes you feel enthusiastic for at least the majority of your time.
With the New Year just around the corner, there’s excitement about what the next year holds. If you’re not content with your job now, take advantage of the fresh start and make a change. Seek out help to change your career, and start saving a buffer for changing jobs or freelancing. If you can stay in your current job and make it more fulfilling, now is a great time to make changes, before January reviews, bonuses, and promotions. It may be difficult now, but happiness is just around the corner.