Finance General Lifestyle

These are signs it’s time for a career change

Career change
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

From a toxic workplace to procrastination, here are five clear signs that you need to jump the work ship.

The new year is often seen as a time when people choose to take back and reflect on where they are in their lives. Social media is awash with people cheerfully (yeah, right) taking part in whatever New Year’s resolution they’ve signed up for or ‘living the best life’. But whether it’s losing weight, quitting a vice or looking for new opportunities, why is the ticking over of the calendar year the time we choose to look at our own happiness? Surely we should be constantly monitoring the situation and ready to take the leap

Studies have shown that job satisfaction is fundamental to our happiness (or ‘subjective wellbeing’, to use the technical term), yet a recent survey showed that only 26 per cent of us can claim to be happy in our job and 17 per cent of us feel trapped in our job. If those figures resonate with you, here is our list of signs it might be time to consider a career change.

You dread going to work

Ok, so this isn’t rocket science but it’s worth taking a step back and really examining how you feel about work. Consider journaling your feelings before you go to work, during your lunch break and when you get home in the evening. Consider doing this for a couple of weeks at least. Of course, everyone has the odd rough patch or stressful project where they don’t look forward to getting back to the coalface, but if you can honestly say you’re dreading the thought of work over extended periods then it might be time to look elsewhere.

Workplace atmosphere is toxic

Your job and colleagues should challenge you, often that’s the best way to get results and encourage creative thinking. A difference in opinions is one thing and people clash from time to time, but if relationships have deteriorated beyond professional debate or you feel stifled and unable to communicate with management or colleagues, then stress and unhappiness often take over and can affect your physical and mental wellbeing. If you feel like that’s happening to you, speak to your HR department or rep. If your concerns aren’t listened to then it’s time to look at some job ads!

You procrastinate more than you work

One of the clearest indicators you’re not in the right job is a reluctance to do the work itself. Everyone has slow days and we all get distracted by our social media feed every now and then. But if you’re often reluctant to knuckle down then it could be an indicator that you’re in the wrong job. It’s often said that it’s harder to look busy than it is to do the work itself, and procrastination can have a seriously negative effect on your career development as well as your health. So whether it’s trying to make your passion into your job, or changing your role so you’re doing something that more accurately fits your character, it’s worth having a look at what’s out there.

No room for development and learning

Some people are happy to stay in their lane, log the hours and take the paycheck, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you aspire to move up the ladder and learn new skills, you need to make sure your company is aware you are that way inclined and they should be able to present you with a clear development plan. If that’s not the case, it might be time to look for a company that can provide you with the opportunities you are looking for. This can be a careful balance to strike. It’s accepted that everyone has to spend their time ‘in the trenches’ working the late shift, doing some of the dross work etc. But don’t make the mistake of missing opportunities or being labelled unambitious.

You’re not proud of the work you produce

It’s not all about enjoyment. If you’re not proud of the output it might be time to think of a new industry or role. That’s not to say that you need to be doing charity work or working in healthcare to be proud of what you do, you can take pride in a well made product or an efficiently managed project. But if you’re often wondering, “Why am I doing this?” then that’s not a good sign. Many people fall into their jobs, or continue in them, because of fears over finance, skills or the unknown, but it’s now accepted that most people will have a number of careers over the course of a lifetime. So, if you’re not feeling your current role, whether it’s a move sideways, upwards, back to school or halfway around the world, it’s important that you do what’s right for you.

If you are feeling stuck and think it’s time to take a new career path, you can use this interactive tool that allows you to search for your current job and provides insights on new job opportunities. The tool gives ways your existing skills can be transferred to a different career and what similar tasks you might encounter.

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