5 Signs It’s Time for a Career Change

By Ryan Ayers

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Are you engaged at work? Just 32% of Americans are, according to Gallup. If you’re not one of them, you may be considering a career change. Career changes are scary. You face starting over, climbing your way up the ladder again—usually with no promise that you’ll be more satisfied with your new career than you were before. That said, career changes are often a necessary risk: you don’t want to spend your life doing something you hate, even if it pays well. If you’re miserable in your current position, you may just need some new responsibilities—or a new employer. Or, you might want to rethink your future altogether. Here are 5 signs it’s time for a career change.

1. You’re Tired and Bored All the Time

This may not seem like an identity crisis, but if you’re feeling dull and passionless at work, you may have lost some of the connection to your personal brand. Find yourself spending more time on tasks you hate than projects that inspire your creativity? Are you tired and bored at work (or even at home)? Do you find your mind wandering, prompting you to focus on anything besides the work in front of you? Finding your passion and energy again may be just a career change away.

2. Your Physical Health is Suffering

Your body knows you need a change, even if your mind doesn’t yet. Stress can have a huge impact on overall health, and if you’re unhappy with your career, your body will start showing signs of declining health. You may struggle with depression or anxiety, and have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. You may catch colds and other illnesses more easily, due to a weakened immune system. You could experience other symptoms of stress like headaches or difficulty concentrating. Don’t ignore these signals—it’s your body’s way of telling you it’s time to make a change.

3. The Future Doesn’t Excite You

Upward growth is a key component in staying engaged in the workplace. Can you visualize the next step in your career path? Do you have goals and ambitions? Or do you look into the future and find little that excites you? You don’t necessarily have to love what you do, but your opportunities for growth should at least motivate and interest you. If your career path doesn’t provide any more opportunities for growth, or you don’t like any of the possibilities, there will be nothing to look forward to. It’s a recipe for stagnation. Think about your life after retirement: will you be proud of what you achieved? Will you be happy to talk about what you did, feeling no regret for the career path you chose?

4. The Money isn’t Enough Anymore

Money’s nice, of course. Everyone wants a raise, even people who love their job. But it’s not enough for job satisfaction. More money and perks might make you happy in the short term, but if you’re really in a career path that makes you unhappy, monetary incentives won’t be enough. Are you sitting on an enviable salary, but you’re miserable? This is a good indication you should think about changing careers.

5. You Dread Going to Work

You may know the feeling—Saturday night rolls around, and you’re already dreading Monday. Most people dread going into work once in a while, but when you’re living for the weekends and worrying through them, it’s time to take stock. Do you dread the work itself? The people? With this sign, it’s important to think about why you feel this way. Do you dread heading into the office thanks to a bad boss or project manager? Are you dealing with a toxic workplace culture? If so, it may just be a change of scene you need—not a change of career. If your job itself is a big contributor, however, move on.

Set the Stage

Inspired to quit your job? Tomorrow? Not so fast! While it’s tempting to get out of a bad situation as quickly as you can, you might want to resist the urge while you get another opportunity lined up. You may not even know what field you want to enter next! Take some time to research, learn, and interview, so when you do finally give your notice, it won’t be so scary after all.

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