It’s not easy to take that first step towards a career change. There seem to be so many factors that are working against you, but what is the alternative? Sticking to a job that sucks the life out of you, that impacts your whole life, that doesn’t allow you to live a fulfilling life.
Career change doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to be a leap of faith, it can be done methodically, strategically and in a considered way.
All you need to do is take action, take that first small step.
But it’s important to understand the signs that you actually need a career change. Don’t just jump ship on a whim!
Here are the main reasons we experience people describing why they want a career change. If you’re suffering the same symptoms, maybe it’s time to think about a different future.
Moving Job Changes Nothing
You recognise that something is wrong, but you think it’s the company you work for, or the office environment, or your colleagues. So, you find a similar job with another company.
You turn up for work on your first day and there is an oddly familiar feeling, but you put it to the back of your mind. There are people to please, projects to get stuck into and justifications to make about your move.
Then, a few weeks in it hits you. There isn’t really any difference in working here than at my last job!
This is one of the biggest signs you need a career change.
What’s wrong might actually be that you are not invested in this type of work, it’s not something that will capture your imagination for the rest of your life. No amount of dressing it up differently will change that.
The Dreaded Question: “What Do You Do?”
Let’s face it, it’s a very simple question. You just have to tell someone your job title and maybe a little bit about what you do day-to-day.
But why do you break out in a sweat, stumble through an explanation and even make a joke about how terrible a job it is?
That really isn’t normal. That’s a big hairy sign that you don’t like what you’re doing. You should like what you do for a living, it’s what you have to do for a third of your working life.
When someone asks that question, you should genuinely be proud of answering it. They should have to stop you going on about it.
Work and Life MUST Be Separated
When you start desperately preventing your work impacting home life it’s a sign that you believe your work is like a disease that must be quarantined from your life.
Work is a part of your life. If they don’t work well together then something is wrong and you’d surely rather change your work than your life?
Coming home from work exhausted, sore, unable to hold a conversation, anxious or even angry are things that shouldn’t be happening every day. If you’re trying hard to prevent these things following you home then at least you recognise they are happening, but you need to deal with them at the source rather than fire-fighting.
A career that fits into your life, rather than trying to live your life around your work sounds so much more appealing, doesn’t it?
Career Success Is All About Your Salary
Money is attractive, we get that. There is a lot you can do with money. What you can’t do is buy back the time you spent accruing money doing something you didn’t really enjoy.
If your career is based around earning as much money as you can, what are you sacrificing (whether actually or potentially) for that?
Success means different things to different people, but when we ask coaching clients that question, 75% of the responses involve money when we first ask them. After a deep dive into their values, passions and interests we find that, in reality, success means a lot more than money to them.
Ask yourself; is the best thing about your job the salary?
It should be something much more valuable than that.
Would You Swap Your Job?
Simple question: “Would you swap your job for something you enjoy getting up for, in exchange for a lower salary that pays the bills?”
If you answer yes, then you need a career change.
You’re welcome. Invoice is in the post.
There is no reason why you have to have a salary that only just pays the bills, but if you’re willing to do that, then you can start thinking about a change. The rest can be worked out.
You Don’t Skip to Work
Ok, so you don’t actually have to skip on your way to work. But when was the last time you felt like it was a possibility that you might break out into a skip at the start of a workday?
Why shouldn’t you want to skip to work?
What’s wrong with that?
Alright, I’ll change it to ‘smile’. When was the last time you smiled on your way to work, happy in the knowledge that you’re doing the right thing, you’re making a difference, you’re eager to get stuck into a day’s work?
It doesn’t have to be every day, but if you never do that, then something is wrong. We often don’t get concerned about the fact that we don’t really enjoy work. We work for the weekend, right? Well, not really. This is one of the clearest signs you need a career change.
At Better Work Heroes we go by the belief that everybody has the right and the ability to create a career they love.
Sick Days Are Appealing
It should be a fairly obvious one, but can be missed. Do you ever get up in the morning and have a temptation, however brief, to pull a sickie?
Imagine how much better a day you can have if you just stayed at home. The guilt of lying to your boss is outweighed by the thought of not having to go to work.
All it takes is that split second thought of calling in sick to recognise that you’re not doing work that you enjoy. Think a little more on the subject and see if any more signs are there.
Trying to Fit In
Are you a completely different person at work than you are at home? That’s not particularly normal. At least, it shouldn’t be!
In addition, if the person you are at home is different because of your work, that’s usually not good either.
If you’re having to force yourself to be a different person at work to fit into the role or the culture, is that the right thing to be doing? Or should your work be tailored to you?
Designing a career around your wants, needs and style is entirely possible, especially in this day and age.
You’re Distracting Yourself
Do you find you are spending more time drinking, eating or watching TV than you are comfortable with? These are often ways of distracting yourself from an overriding problem. It’s a sign you are trying to comfort yourself with things you believe will make you feel better about your life.
Again, this takes us back to treating the source, rather than fire-fighting the symptoms.
If you don’t enjoy your job, you might search for ways to distract yourself from thinking about it. But why shouldn’t you think about it? Thinking is free. There’s no need to make any rash decisions.
Have a conversation with yourself about what you want from your career. Better still, have a conversation with someone else. Your partner, your friend, your mum or dad. Talk to us if you like! We won’t bite and we won’t charge you for a chat.
You Really Don’t Want Your Boss’s Job
It’s a fairly logical thought process. Your boss’s job is most likely your next step on the career ladder, whether at your current company or the next.
Does the thought of doing their job fill you with excitement or dread?
If dread, then you need a change before it’s too late and you find yourself further down the rabbit hole with more work to do, more responsibility and a bigger salary tricking you into staying.
You Just Don’t Care Any More
It’s all just gone to pot. You’re putting in the bare minimum of work every day to keep your job ticking over. You’re not making an effort to integrate yourself into the company culture.
Every project you work on is uninspiring to you. You’re simply waiting for the day to end.
Then it starts creeping into the time you have at home. You’re just plonking yourself in front of the TV with a pizza. You can’t even be bothered to go and meet friends.
It sounds like an obvious need for a career change, and I have taken it to the extreme here, but it’s all too easy to find yourself in a routine like this and not realise.
Don’t waste your life away. Your life includes your work, they are not separate things. You should be making your work as enjoyable as the rest of your life. If you do make your work enjoyable, the rest of your life follows suit.
You might be thinking that these are all pretty obvious signs. You’re right, they are, or at least they should be. But it’s surprising what your brain can do to mask them in an attempt to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Don’t trust your brain to tell you what to do all the time, take a step back and challenge it now and then. Look out for the signs you need a career change.
Take stock of where you are in your career, how you feel about it, how the rest of your life fits in to it, what you want the rest of your career to look like.
These are some of the things that career coaching can help you do, but on a super-charged level.
If any of these signs are relevant to you, have a think about your future, talk to someone, promise yourself that you will take action on anything that needs to be done.
We’re available for a free chat if you want to change your career (and subsequently your life!). Our job is to open your eyes to your potential (and yes, we love this job!).