Change is something a lot of people dread — it shakes up the status quo, it leaves you unbalanced for a time, and sometimes, it’s painful because it means leaving something behind to move forward. In short, it’s a lot to take in. It’s no wonder people who are at the crossroads of their careers feel overly anxious when they experience nudges and urges of pivoting to a new, different path from what they’ve been used to.
The question in mind is always: “How do I know it’s time to change gears and plunge into a different career?” There’s no one easy answer for that because everybody goes through a unique journey, but in general, these are the signs that tell you it’s time to make the shift:
You feel like work is such a drag.
Stress is a natural part of everyday work life. You get tired. You grow frustrated with your boss and colleagues. You hate meetings. All of this is normal. But if you find yourself complaining about the actual work, the project or tasks given to you, then that’s probably a sign that this isn’t just mere stress. If you don’t find your job interesting, fulfilling, or stimulating anymore, that it makes you dread getting out of bed and spending even five minutes of commute to the office, then a change of careers is indeed necessary.
Ask yourself then what exactly about your job that’s making you upset. If you’ve been calling in sick just to avoid work, then that says a lot about what you feel about the job. Talk to your colleagues as well. If they notice lapses on your job performance, that’s probably a sign that the work has become a drudgery all ready for you. It’s time to haul yourself out of it.
You can’t focus on your tasks anymore.
This is related to what’s mentioned above. You’re unable to concentrate on your job, precisely because you don’t find it interesting anymore. Plus, there’s a high chance that you have your mind on other matters. Things that actually make you curious and excited. Perhaps, you sneak cat or pimple popping videos in between your work tasks. Or, you probably become more fond of make-up now, spending more time putting colors on your eyes or obsessing over long, thick lashes.
All these may seem like petty, but pay close attention to them because they may reveal a possible career path for you. The cat videos may indicate exploring a profession involving animals, a veterinary assistant or an animal shelter manager, perhaps. The obsession over make-up may be a nudge towards being a professional make-up artist or esthetician. Maybe it’s time to take up that eyelash course Sydney beauty agencies offer.
You’re only staying for the money.
Yes, a job is supposed to put food on the table. But it’s also supposed to do other things: give you emotional fulfillment or at least lend you a sense of direction in life. It’s okay to stay for the stable pay, but know that you can only hold that for so long. If you’re unhappy and unsatisfied, sooner or later, you’d be compelled to leave. It’s best to go while you still haven’t lashed out on colleagues or gone unproductive in your tasks. Find a career that will give you financial stability, at the same time, emotional (perhaps, spiritual) satisfaction. Believe it or not, that’s possible.
It’s hard to be at the crossroads of career decisions. But it’s also one of those self-actualizing moments that allow you to grow as a person, as a professional. So seize this stage in your life, take as many learning as you can, and don’t hesitate to make the jump into a new career once you think things through.