We keep talking about the so-called “Great Resignation” taking place in America right now–millions of people leaving their jobs in the wake of the pandemic to look for something more fulfilling. But that doesn’t mean a career change is right for everyone, nor does it mean you should jump on the “Great Resignation” bandwagon just because you’re craving adventure. Life change is serious business, after all.
So how do you know when it’s time to “take the leap” and start seriously thinking about changing jobs or careers? Here are six important telltale signs to look for in your life.
1. You’re Chronically Unhappy at Work (and Maybe Off Work, Too)
At the risk of being Captain Obvious here, your “happiness meter” is a huge barometer as to whether you’re at the right job. Now, realistically, we all have good days and bad days at work…but if all the work days are bad ones, and you’re at the point that you dread getting out of bed on work days, then it’s safe to say you’re unhappy at your job. This can be a source of stress that can even make you cranky off-the-job, too. If you’re becoming increasingly unpleasant during your days off because you’re dreading your next work day, then your job has become an emotional liability in your life, and it may be time to look at something new.
2. You Feel Bored and Unfulfilled at Your Job
If you’re going to spend at least five-sevenths of your week doing something, it should be at least somewhat fulfilling and rewarding. If you’re unmotivated and uninterested in your day-to-day tasks, or if you’re doing your work mindlessly, it’s a strong sign that it might be time to re-think your career. A lack of fulfillment at work can quickly lead to feelings of resentment, so it’s important to take steps to change your situation before those feelings fester.
3. Your Job is Making You Sick…Literally
This one is a bit more serious, but if your job is causing you physical stress and making you sick, it’s definitely time to start looking for a new line of work. Stress can manifest in all sorts of physical ways, from headaches and nausea to stomach issues and difficulty sleeping. If you find that your job is regularly making you physically ill, it’s a sign that your body is telling you it’s time for a change.
4. You’re “Living for the Weekend”
This is a classic American trope, and it affects so many of us that we write songs about it. But that doesn’t mean it’s right or healthy. If you’re spending the majority of your time focused on the two days a week that you don’t have to work, that means five-sevenths of your life is effectively being wasted right now on stuff that doesn’t really matter to you. If you find that you’re only able to enjoy your life outside of work, and that your work week is just a long, slow slog until you can finally enjoy your time off again, it’s a sign that your job isn’t giving you what you need.
5. You’ve Reached the Growth Ceiling at Your Job
This is a common issue, especially in larger corporations. You start at the bottom, you work your way up, and suddenly…you hit a wall. You’re no longer being challenged, you’re not learning anything new, you’re getting overlooked for promotions, or there’s simply nowhere else to go in the company. Now, if you’re happy at your position and you don’t feel the need to move up, that’s fine–nothing wrong with that. But we all need to keep growing in some way. If you feel your career growth is stunted at your current job, it may be time to seek a new one–or perhaps even a new line of work.
6. You Have No Time or Energy to Pursue Your Passions
This might just sound like I’m saying you’re working too many hours per week, but think for a moment about this one. If you have passions that you want to pursue outside of work, but you never feel like you have enough time off to do anything about them…or worse, if you feel so drained at the end of a work week that you have no energy to pursue those passions…then guess what? Your work is NOT aligned with your passion. Remember when we talked about “finding your why?” If you live an unfulfilled life where your job is standing in the way of everything you really want to do, then your why lies somewhere outside of your job. Yes, there are seasons in life when we simply have to do what pays the bills, but for the long term, you need to find a career that brings your what and your why together. Otherwise, you’ll spend your best years looking at a distant dream you can never quite reach–and that’s just plain torture.
Finally, a reality check. There are some people who like to use cliches like “do what you love” and “work shouldn’t feel like work.” But I’m a realist, and the fact is those sayings are only half-truths. I’m doing what I love, but trust me, there are many days when it definitely feels like work. I don’t know of a single profession that doesn’t include certain tasks we’d prefer to avoid (or better yet, delegate). But even when I’m doing a specific thing that feels like drudgery in the day-to-day, I ultimately feel fulfilled by my work because I know I’m pursuing my why. That’s why I say having a bad day once in a while shouldn’t be enough to get you on the take-this-job-and-shove-it bandwagon.
That said, I think in our true selves, we know the difference between when a job gets periodically difficult and when that job is truly draining us. If you relate to any of the five indicators above on a regular basis, you may at least want to begin exploring whether it’s time for a change. And the more of those points you relate to…the more likely it is that your job is actually hindering you from living life to the fullest.
Here’s the good news: There really is more to life than simply “living for the weekend.” There are plenty of career opportunities that will completely align with your passions, and there’s nothing wrong with seeking a job that makes you want to get up in the morning. If you want help finding that career, that’s the stuff that gets ME up in the morning. I’d love to help you find what you’re looking for. Just click here to access my calendar and set up a free 30-minute consultation.