We all have career drivers – things that bring meaning and satisfaction to our work life if they are fulfilled. But they can sometimes end up by the wayside as we get bogged down in the day to day doing of our job, perhaps even in a job that has turned into something you didn't quite sign up for.
For me, I have a great work ethic and from the age of 14 it wasn’t unusual for me to have three jobs at once and not feel fulfilled by any of them. I felt like I was always looking for the dream job, and was often ridiculed for even believing it could exist. But in pursuing my idea of success, I discovered I crave time freedom and I need to love what I do as well as have the ability to help other people achieve the same thing. That's why, four years ago, I quit our very successful traditional business for a side hustle that was out earning and out joy-ing my job.
And it was the best decision I ever made.
If you've ever thought about doing something else, here are some signs that might help you understand what you need and want from a job or opportunity, and if you’re really ready for a new season in your career:
1. Your career doesn’t allow you to focus on what’s important to you
Mindset and performance coach, Dr Kerry Petsinger asks: “What truly matters to you? What do you really want to accomplish in your life? How do you want to spend your time? It’s absolutely crucial to consider what your priorities are and build a life that allows you to focus on what matters most to you.”
She says saving your biggest dreams for retirement is a risky move. If your current career path doesn’t allow you to focus your life on what truly matters to you, it’s time to seriously consider making a career change.
2. You dread going to work and live for the weekends
We all look forward to the weekend and by the time Sunday evening comes around, we generally feel a bit blue about going back to work the next day. But it’s one thing to love your weekends and another to dread the working week. What if you could love it all? Life is too short to wish away five of the seven days of the week. Work shouldn’t make you feel sad or anxious and, if it is, that’s a sure sign you should be looking for a more satisfying career.
Work will often be tough and require hard work, but it’s also meant to be fulfilling and fun. If you hate the time you spend working, no amount of ‘life after work’ will make up for what you’re losing in an unhappy career. It really is possible to love your work so much that you find yourself looking forward to Mondays, and that's the life I'm so grateful I took the time to recreate.
3. You’re feeling restless
You may have had – and enjoyed – your current job for a number of years. You may appreciate the work journey you’ve been on and the opportunities you’ve had, but you find you have itchy feet and you’d like to try something new. It can also show up in feeling demotivated and bored by your work and finding that your once high-flying performance has been steadily declining. Pay attention to that restless feeling and try to figure out if there’s something tugging at your heart that you’d love to try. Every day can be an adventure in a career or business you love, so if you’re feeling restless it’s worth having an ear to the ground and open mind for other options.
4. You’re worn out, exhausted and depleted
Forbes contributor Kathy Caprino suggests that if you’re experiencing ongoing illness and exhaustion, the first place to look is your work. She says: “Most of us spend more waking hours working than doing anything else, and if you don’t like your work, it won’t like you back. Overly stressful, misaligned work can very easily make your body break down. Your body tells you what your lips cannot.”
This happened to me and some indicators this may be happening to you is if you’re experiencing physical symptoms such as poor sleep, that makes you feel constantly tired, fuzzy, and ultimately unproductive. You could find you’re becoming sick more regularly and taking more days off work, which shouldn't be ignored as this may be the first exhibition of something more sinister going on.
It may be your specific job or a toxic work environment that’s breaking you down, but this may be remedied with a career shift that leads to a mindset or mind-fullness shift, and ultimately, changes your life and health for the better.
*PS. See your healthcare pros and get yourself well. Success is hard to enjoy without your health!
5. You have career envy
Do you find yourself experiencing pangs of jealousy when you hear friends or people you admire talking about how happy they are with their job? Or maybe you like the sound of their job more than yours? Perhaps they’re in an industry you’d love to be in, or you’re envious of their position and what they get to do each day. Or have you got a serious does of insta-envy (and not just the highlight reel stuff!) and desire to take control back of your days like you know you can?
Wherever it happens, if you're feeling it, follow your instincts; it’s highly likely that your subconscious is telling you to dig a little deeper, and move towards what you’re more suited to. A good way to proactively address this is to ask why you’re feeling this way. Is it the type of work they do, their working hours, the company they work for, or the lifestyle? This will help you figure out the next step in your career.
6. Your salary no longer makes up for your job dissatisfaction
At some point we've all found ourselves working hard, staying late sometimes for tight deadlines, checking emails outside of work hours and generally going the extra mile when it’s needed. But if you're staying late every day, if you're constantly feeling anxious and stressed, if you're not looking after your health... then it might be time to take a break or find a more balanced lifestyle.
Many people in this situation find themselves staying in their jobs because of the financial risk associated with leaving. They are stuck in a job rut but don’t want to lose the money that comes with it. Kathy Caprino suggests saying to yourself: “Hang on – I have this money, but I hate how I spend my life making it.” She advises rethinking your priorities, recognising your abilities, then opening your eyes to new ways of making the money you need without risking the farm or giving up your life for it.
Interestingly, or scarily, she adds that millions are doing this; research shows that by the end of this decade, more than 50 percent of the private workforce will be independent. It's OK to feel how you're feeling, but are you OK with ignoring it any longer?
Career questions to ask yourself
Inc.com suggests asking yourself the following questions:
WHAT TO DO NEXT....
Your next steps will depend on your reasons for wanting to change, and your answers to the questions above. You may decide that you simply need to change to a similar job in a different company, or perhaps a different industry. Or maybe you want to start your own business like I did. If you haven't already, do some research on what it would take for you to make that move.
*If you're really unsure of whether the career change is the right move for you or not, or you just want some extra support from someone who is objective and unbiased, you could also consider working with a career, life or business coach.
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