Four Signs It's Time for a Career Change
Most of us spend 40 or more hours a week at work -- so it helps if we enjoy our jobs. When we enjoy our work, we’ll be happier and we’ll perform better too.
Unfortunately, sometimes we may find ourselves dreading work. If we've ever enjoyed our jobs, the joy is gone. If that is what is happening to you, It's best not to ignore the warning signs something is wrong.
This Hubpage will help you take appropriate action. It looks at four signs it’s time to move on ... from your job or career.
#1 You Spend Your Off Time Complaining about Work
If you spend your lunch break complaining about work with your colleagues ...
If you go home and complain to your spouse or roommate ...
If you get together with friends and find your conversation gravitates towards work, and how you hate it ...
The handwriting is on the wall. Something is wrong, terribly wrong.
At the least, the very least, your problems can be traced to your boss. Maybe you’ve never gotten along, he or she is on a power trip, and seems to have it in for you. Maybe the company you work for has failed to recognize your talents; maybe they’ve failed to advance you. Maybe you are stuck at a wage scale of folks who are your junior ... and you don’t know what you can do to change things.
If it’s your boss, or your company, you know what you need to do. Get a transfer. Find another job. Look for a company with better pay and benefits, that has room for advancement.
But if your problems are deeper -- let’s face it -- it’s your career. Some careers just don’t pay well. Sometimes you get no respect. Either you can handle it, or you can’t. If you can’t let that criticism roll off you, if you can’t make ends meet without a pay raise, your best bet may be to start looking ... for a better opportunity.
#2 You’re Struggling to Pay Bills
You need to be honest with yourself. If you haven’t taken a good, hard, long look at your finances, you better do it now. How much are you spending every month? And on what? How much money do you having coming in? If you spend more than you make, you need to make changes, NOW. Avoiding the problem will only result in trouble, bigger trouble than you’re already in.
You know the routine. You may have to give up luxury spending. Bad habits. That cafe latte every morning may taste delicious, but it is hardly necessary. Brew a cup at home, or chip in for coffee at the office, and you probably will save money.
Watch for trends. Repetitive spending costs you much more than a couple of bucks. That afternoon snack from the vending machine can cost you a couple of bucks a day, $40 bucks a month, or $480 a year. If you’re feeding that vending machine every afternoon, consider bringing a healthy snack from home. Your waistline -- and your pocketbook -- will thank you. If you’re blowing wads of cash at the mall for new clothes, shoes and accessories you don’t really need ... you need to stay away from that mall!
Consider what you are paying in living expenses, whether it is rent or a mortgage. Can you cut your utility bills? Do you really need cable? Can you cut your gas expenses by carpooling or riding a bike, or public transportation? Can you renegotiate your insurances and pay a lower rate?
After you’ve made prudent cuts, and recognized a need for more income, you’ll need to consider – realistically – how you can earn it. Is a second job a good idea? Will it help if you make a few extra bucks for extras online? Or do you need to make more per hour, or per week?
If your time and opportunity for a second job is limited, you may want to a higher paying job. If you are happy with your work, asking for a raise may be a solution. But when the answer is no, you need to be realistic about your earning potential.
Check out pay scales for your career. Look at the long-range potential for new jobs. You'll learn more from the Occupational Outlook Handbook. If you can’t make the income you need in your current career, you should seriously consider your earning potential in another one.
Do you enjoy what you do for a living?
#3 The Thrill is Gone
Whatever excited you about this career field initially no longer interests you. What once excited you is now routine. You’ve been there, done that, and now – yawn – it’s a bore. Or a chore.
It appears you are ready for a new challenge. You may want to explore new ways to use your skills and talents. It may be time for a promotion. Maybe you should become a manager.
Contemplate other opportunities at your place of work. If you are interested in transferring to a new job, talk to your supervisor. Maybe you can be considered for a new opening. If not, you need to be realistic about your potential. Do you have the skills for this new career? Or do you need more training? Do you really know what else you’d like to do, or you just grasping for something different? Are you just tired of the status quo? Are you experiencing burnout? Is a vacation really all you need?
When the thrill is gone, explore other options. But don’t chuck everything you’ve worked so hard for out of that proverbial window. You may need a sabbatical, or a breather, to reflect on what has gone wrong ... and what you need to do to make it right.
It may be your creativity has been trampled upon. Maybe your creative spirit has been restless because you don’t have the freedom to truly express yourself in your current job. Maybe you need a new employer, or maybe you need to employ yourself. Maybe what you really need is to use the skills you already have in new ways, in a new career.
#4 Your Life Circumstances Have Changed
Maybe you worked at a home business to raise your family. Or so you could care for an aging parent or spouse. Now your family is grown, or your loved one is deceased. You may seriously want to evaluate that home business. Were you making an adequate income for the time you invested? Does that career still serve you?
Now that you’re not tied to the nest, you really might enjoy returning to an office, where you can make new friends and socialize a bit more. Maybe you need a change of scenery, a diversion. Maybe you want to qualify for a company insurance plan, now that you can.
Any time your life circumstances change, you may find you no longer are such a great fit for your job or career. It’s time to re-evaluate your life and decide what works for you now.
Sometimes we’re eager to embrace changes; other times we resist them ... because changes bring the unknown. We may have grown comfortable at our jobs and careers. We may find it’s easier to coast than spend the energy it takes to start fresh. We may be afraid of what we don’t know. We may be reluctant to try something different.
If it is time to change, however, it’s well worth the effort it takes to get our lives back on track. We'll be better off in the long run!
So if you are experiencing job dissatisfaction, be honest with yourself. Is this a temporary, or intermittent problem? Is it chronic? Chronic problems aren’t likely to go away by themselves. You will need to address them. When you don’t, they are likely to loom larger in your psyche. Eventually you may reach a breaking point – that point of no return. You may quit your job, without another. It’s best to avoid that scenario.
If your job dissatisfaction is reaching a critical level, be proactive. Begin looking for new opportunities that will help you improve upon your circumstances. You don’t want to be put in a situation where you have to accept a job, any job, just to pay the bills. Or avoid getting farther behind.
Map your future. Ultimately, you want not only a job that satisfies, but a fulfilling career. You want to build on your experience in a particular field of interest, so you can maximize your long-term career potential. Accepting a job is just one step. Choose it carefully, so it can be a stepping stone as you build your career.
Whatever you do, be realistic. Some careers demand more than 40 hours a week – on a regular basis. You’re a candidate for burnout if you don’t ask for compensatory time, take vacations, and work in some rest and relaxation into your routine. Be sure you don’t leave one demanding profession for another – when what you really need is the ability to deal with stress.
Are you willing to invest some time to explore a new career?
© 2014 Cheryl Rogers