You know the type, you’ve admired them at the workplace, at school, or on television. The type of person who exudes a cool confidence that makes everyone want to draw near or follow their lead. This sort of magnetic and confident personality comes from someone whose life and work are so aligned, they’re living out their true purpose every day and they know it.
We all like to admire people like this, but it would be a mistake to think they were born this way. Too often we’re tempted to put up with the kinds of unnecessary conflicts in life and work that erode our confidence and sap the joy out of life—but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Today, we want to talk about a few signs that might mean it’s time for you to consider a change in careers—a subject I know on a personal level.
My life wouldn’t be what it is today if I hadn’t made a drastic change early in my career. I feel blessed to say that I love what I do for work.
On Mondays at the start of the workweek, I am excited about what lies ahead and what we’ll accomplish. By the time Friday comes, I am looking forward to the rest that the weekend will bring, after having worked hard on something that feels meaningful and aligned with my talents and purpose. Of course, there are bad weeks as well, but overall, I feel energized and happy with my career.
I know firsthand however, that work life can feel quite different. My previous position looked great on paper. I was working on research projects that had the potential to make a significant impact. I had great colleagues, a flexible schedule and an office within walking distance from my house with a big window and a beautiful view of campus.
But something was missing. My heart wasn’t truly in my work. Over time, I started dreading the start of the work week, and the requirements of my job felt oppressive. I would daydream about starting a coffee shop (and I’m not even a big coffee drinker).
The idea of doing something, anything, other than what I had to do for work was compelling. I was becoming resentful toward work. It felt as if my job was taking away from my ability to be present for my family and to participate in life in ways that were more meaningful to me.
It wasn’t until I was forced to take a break from work because of an injury that I started to do some soul-searching. I looked into financial planning as a career and started to feel a fire in my belly that grew the more I learned. It took a major leap of faith to leave what I was doing, but I haven’t looked back since.
Not every career change needs to be quite as dramatic as mine was, but it’s important to know when it might be time to leave. This kind of change can help you to trade an unfulfilled work life for a greater sense of purpose. If you’re thinking of making a change, you’re not the only one—there is a big trend going on that could change the game for everyone.
2021 = The Great Resignation
This year we witnessed what’s been called “The Great Resignation,” with 4 million Americans quitting their jobs in July 2021 alone. Quarantine and a changing economy have led many workers to reconsider their current employment and take a chance on greener pastures.
But, how can you tell if it’s the right time for you?
Signs it Might be Time for a Career Change
Not everyone loves what they do—that’s just not possible. But it is possible to feel confident that you are being challenged and putting your skills to better use.
So why do so many people put up with a job that makes them miserable? There are several reasons you might be “settling” for a particular career, whether it’s fear of change, high salary, uncertainty or something else.
What are the warning signs that tell you it may be time for a career change?
What is your baseline emotion when you think about work? Do you get a sick feeling on Sundays when you realize the weekend is almost over? Are Mondays consistently your worst days? If you spend every moment at work counting the minutes until you get to leave, that’s a pretty good indication that something is wrong.
If your job is making you miserable, and you consistently bring that miserable mood home with you, then you’re not doing anyone any good. No paycheck is worth feeling terrible the majority of the time. Something needs to change.
Whether a change means putting some boundaries into place at work or changing your job entirely is for you to decide, but something has to change.
Your Stress Level
Another factor that goes with job dissatisfaction can be stress, which can be terrible for your health. Stress can be a silent danger in your life, amplifying your anxiety and anger and running your body down, too. When your poor work experience is affecting your health, that should be a wake-up call. When the amount of stress coming from your career is causing strained relationships and sleep loss, it’s time to consider a change.
Your Free Time
We all put in a little extra work every now and then outside of work hours, but if that’s happening consistently, then you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. More time spent on work means less time spent with friends and family, less time doing what you want. Even a bad job can be made better if you have time left over for your own pursuits.
Extra time spent working for a job you can’t stand is time you can’t get back.
You See No Way to Get Ahead at Your Current Job
If the chances of career advancement are slim to none, it’s probably time to look for a job where you have clear steps forward. If you’ve been in your current position for a while, then you should have a pretty good idea of what opportunities there are or are not.
Without the possibility of growth, it will be impossible to maintain a lasting interest in your work, much less the enthusiasm of someone who struck a balance with work life.
Ask Yourself: Is It worth it?
This is a basic consideration and a good test for whether you should change from your current career. If you perform a simple calculus and decide the pay isn’t worth all of the emotions and stress you’re going through, it’s most likely time to move on. There may well be a potential upside to your job, but is it enough to justify the rest?
When considering a career change, it’s important to also ask yourself if the potential fulfillment of a new job can override the uncertainty of entering a new field. Of course, there’s no way to know for certain, but this is another important consideration.
The truth is you don’t have to be working your dream job to be happy. Many people take most of life’s satisfaction from something apart from work. The important part is that you are able to like your job enough that it doesn’t spoil everything else.
If this isn’t the case then it may be time to explore the option of changing careers. Hopefully, you find one where you can strike that work/life balance with a vigor that leaves you energized for work and life beyond work.
A big life change can be stressful in itself and you don’t want to let your concerns about the financial implications keep you from making the best choice for your career.
Want to talk about how financial planning can help you change careers successfully, even later in life? Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our advisors.