Have you been in the situation when after you have complained a bit about your job, a friend remarked, “At least you have a job!”
In tough economic times when many talented people are unemployed or underemployed, it’s easy to get into the mindset that we have to stay where we are. Don’t fall into the trap that you need to stay where you are if it is not furthering your career goals or if your goals have changed. For some of us, there are concrete signs that it is time to leave a position – a salary cut or a required move, for example. For others of us, though, the signs can be a little more subtle.
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Here are five signs that you may need to make a career change:
1. You feel undervalued at work.
All of us can feel unappreciated occasionally, so think through this one carefully. Here are a few questions to consider: Do you feel your skills and talents are being fully utilized in your current position? Do you have the opportunity to offer ideas and to implement them? Are you able to take on new challenges? Does your salary reflect any extra work you are doing?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you may be finding it difficult to stay motivated in your current position. There are many ways your employer can show you that you are important. An increased salary or a bonus is certainly one way. Additional benefits, professional development courses and leadership opportunities are other ways.
If you have been performing well in your job and that work has not been evaluated and appreciated, it may be time to move on.
2. You are in an unhealthy workplace culture or environment.
When we start a job, we have high hopes for workplace relationships. Feeling part of a team can be a crucial part of our success. If your workplace environment is a hostile one that is full of competition and distrust, you need to make a change.
While no office environment is perfect – people are people, after all – if the following behaviors go unchecked in your office, it’s time to get out of there:
- sexual harassment
- malicious gossip
- verbal abuse
- substance abuse
- intellectual property theft
3. You dread going to work.
This emotion would be one that goes well beyond the Monday blues or the occasional bad day. This would be a daily feeling of boredom and drudgery about going to your job when you once enjoyed it.
Do you find your job tedious and find the hours dragging by when you are at the office? Rather than concentrating on what is wrong with your job, try thinking about what is right with it. What do you like the best and how can you do more of it? Has the job changed or have you changed? When you get specific about what is bothering you, it will help you realize what needs to happen to make things better.
4. You feel stressed and tired all the time.
If things are going well for you in other areas of your life, but you find yourself feeling stressed and tired, it could be adverse effects of your job situation. If you are embroiled in negative workplace relationships or a workplace culture that is unhealthy, it can have an impact on your life outside of work.
Workplace stresses can spill over into our marriage, our parenting and our hobbies if we are not careful. Do you find yourself brooding about work while you should be enjoying time with your family? Is your sleep being affected? Are you often feeling worn out or exhausted? It’s time to switch gears.
5. You want something new.
The first four signs don’t apply to you. You feel valued and valuable in your current job. It’s just that something is missing. You find yourself daydreaming about another career path that is completely different from the one you are on.
Many of us make career choices when we are young and find that life experiences teach us that we are better suited for something else entirely. If you are thinking of pursuing a different career, take time to research what you need to do to get there before quitting your current job.
Changing your career requires planning and thought. No matter what your age or your years of work experience, however, realize that you don’t need to stay put in one place for the rest of your career. Make a list of the pros and cons of making a change. If the pros win, what steps do you need to take to make the transition successfully? Create a timetable for taking those steps, and you will be on your way.