According to Fortune, 86% of job seekers who are already employed are looking for work outside of their current occupation. In fact, many employees are so keen on changing careers that they are willing to change locations, in what economists are calling ‘realized mobility,’ just to work their dream job. While 80% of millennials are actually hungry for this change, a significant number of the older generation is scared.
Gladly, as revealed in a study conducted by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), 82% of their survey participants who had made a career switch past the age of 45 were successful in their new ventures. Conclusively, it is okay to say that career change late in life may be a good thing.
So, the big question is, how do you know that it is time to make that change? Is the career direction you wish to take a good choice, or you are simply an indecisive human being?
If you are forced out of bed every morning to go to work, and you spend the rest of the day sleep walking, then maybe you need to change jobs. Has your boss overlooked your promotion at least twice? Or your family keeps telling you that you seem ‘odd’ of late? Your career could be the problem.
In case you are wondering if it’s really time to shift jobs, here are 15 sure signs that you really need that career change.
15. Current Job Does Not Support Your Career Goals
According to Victor Ghebre, author of the best-selling goal achieving books, a career goal is usually like a compass in a dark and endless ocean, which guides your career progress in the right direction. It is a helpful reminder of where you are in your career, where you are going and where you would like to be in the near future. Important career goals keep you accountable to yourself. Without such a compass, you would get lost in the professional world. For example, you could set a realistic plan on how to climb the corporate ladder. If you want to be CEO some day, does your employer offer the right channel for you to grow, or you notice a deadlock somewhere along the pipeline? If you notice that there is not clear path to your intended final position, then it is time to leave. There is no point trying to grow in a professional environment that doesn’t allow you to expand your horizons personally and professionally.
14. Working In A Toxic Environment
Spending about 8 to 10 hours a day in one office demands that you work in a conducive environment. Sadly, for some professionals, they are forced to work in toxic environments, marred with workplace bullying, demeaning workplace policies, and terrible bosses. In the case of workplace bullying for example, it has been reported that 96% of American employees experience it. Shockingly, according to Forbes, only one in five workers have actually left their job because of this terrible vice. If you experience consistent issues in your workplace, and you reach out to your HR department with little or no change, then that is a major red flag that you may need to leave your job. The HR department is set-up to resolve conflicts, that’s why they exist! For your own safety and sanity, it is utterly important to leave such a job, change your employer, and settle into a more amicable environment.
13. Salary Is Not Commensurate To Your Experience
Pierre Battah, a human resource management consultant, states that very few people look forward to salary negotiations, whether it is part of a job offer, or asking for a pay rise. The art of salary negotiation is actually quite difficult and sensitive. Despite this, employees usually know when the offer is too low, and would wish to have a better paying job. You’ve worked hard and payed your dues to get to a certain point in your career, and that hard work should reflect in your salary. In case you feel that your salary is not commensurate to your experience, fret not. Simply invest in companies that offer great outplacement services, and ask them to help you re-invent yourself by teaching you better negotiation skills. The resources available to employees now is really promising. If you establish yourself as a valuable asset to your company then you will reap the benefit of a great pay and competitive benefits.
According to a survey conducted by Career Builder, 7 in 10 workers are satisfied in their current jobs. One of the factors that actually contribute to this is the ability to make a difference, and feeling challenged every day. Regrettably, some employees do not experience these things at their workplace, and as a result, end up getting bored.
Such employees experience a lack of work enthusiasm, and only work in order to earn a salary.Life is short and the last thing you want is to wake up everyday and go to a work you don’t care for or don’t like. If this is your case, then it is time to quit, and look for something challenging enough. Imagine how great you will feel when you’re actually proud of your work, when you are actually pushing yourself to reach your full potential. While you do this remember there is a thin line between a normal challenging environment, and a stressful environment.
11. Over Qualified
Why would you be comfortable working a middle level managerial position, when you have sought-after skills such as speaking multiple languages, holding an MBA, or extremely good computer coding skills for example? Wouldn’t it be better if you moved to another office where you can create new software or develop an innovative business strategy and run your own spin-off company? Especially if you have the skills and passion. You hear too many awful stories about people who earn great qualifications in their country but the moment they move abroad they are forced to compromise for a position they are way too over-qualified for. Know what your options are and fight for what you know you deserve.
Naturally, being over qualified for a job will lead to under performance since you will not be operating at your required level. So, take a weekend off, use an online resume builder, and tweak your CV to apply for top level positions at your dream company.
10. You Are In Your Comfort Zone
If you are not keen on your career growth, then a job that allows you to underperform that has no pressure to seek innovative solutions, and is essentially routine, would suffice. While this comfort is great, you will not learn anything within your comfort zone, which will consequently limit your career success. Don’t get stuck in a boring routine! There’s no reason to subject yourself to the mental torture of a boring job day in and day out. You know very well what keeps you stimulated and what interests you, so it is your responsibility to seek out career options that tick off those boxes.
Instead of enjoying a simple, easy, and comfortable job that minimizes risk and stress, quit and look for something that allows you to take risks, challenge yourself, and learn something new. Additionally, look for opportunities that will test your creativity. This will not only make you successful, but it will also help you stay mentally sharp as you age.
9. Your Body Tells You That Something Is Wrong
Declining health is usually a clear indicator that your chosen career is not right. What is even scarier is that some careers actually destroy your health, without you realizing it. Work pressure and stress, for example, have been known to be major contributors to high heart attack risks. Obviously, there is no job in the world that is worth your health.
According to Michael Miller, MD, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and author of Heal Your Heart, workplace stress is bad for your heart. He says that if a job causes your heart to race, palms to sweat, blood pressure to rise, and you suffer from sleep deprivation and poor concentration, then it is time to quit. Additionally, if family members notice that you are always cranky and an extra glass of wine is always necessary, then it’s time to pack your bags and find a different job.
8. You Wish You Had A Different Job
Reported in the Harris survey for the University of Phoenix, only 14% of American workers believe they have the perfect job, and more than 80% of workers in their 20s want to change careers. Clearly, it is not uncommon for adults to consider multiple career changes in their lifetime, so long as they find a place where their needs can be satisfactorily met. This should actually be the same case with you, if you find yourself always wishing that you had a different job and are always whining about your current one. I mean if you are literally wishing and praying that you had a different job then there isn’t a more obvious sign that you need to change jobs stat! But don’t worry, you are not alone; just take the bold step and apply for the job you dream about.
7. You Are Embarrassed To Tell People What You Do
Do you dread social gatherings or meeting new people simply because you are embarrassed to say what you do for a living? Do you find yourself lying or evading the question all together? If this happens, then it is time to completely change your career. As much as we don’t live our lives to please our friends, there is always a reason why you feel inadequate about your job. And face it, the boring but routine, “What do you do?” question at parties is here to stay. And every time you are asked this question you should feel happy and proud about your career choice. Instead of devising new lies and struggling to live up to it, step out and switch to a career you are proud to claim. If this means that you need to upgrade your education, save up and enrol at your local college, or sign up for the numerous free online courses.
6. You Have Lost Your Passion For Work
When you first started your job, you always handed in your reports on time, rarely called in sick, was always early and actively involved in staff meetings. Currently, you have to fake an excuse just to skip work, your boss is constantly on your neck for poor performance or late report submissions, and you doze off during staff meetings. What is actually happening is that you have lost the passion for your job.
So, is it wrong to lose passion? No, because it’s human and it happens. Something that may have interested you once does not have the same charm anymore. Loss of passion, although sometimes hard to admit, is a sign that you have outgrown something. Basically, there is nothing exciting anymore about your job, hence you lack drive. To salvage this situation simply leave your job with the little dignity left. Go seek out the next interesting venture in your field or outside of your current field.
5. You Sacrifice Your Life For Money
Have you ever had the money versus happiness debate with your friends? Would you take a high paying job that forces you to sacrifice your happiness, or a lower paying job that gives you peace of mind? Well, research by Cornell University revealed the obvious. Majority of human beings will trade their happiness with money, opting for high paying jobs that are stressful, with longer working hours, and therefore less sleep.
While the argument is right, especially when workers prefer higher pay to keep their family happy, we will still revert to our discussion on the relationship between stressful jobs and your heart. What happens when a heart attack kills you? Will your family still enjoy the expensive life? Each person has a different concept of what money means to them. Some of us work towards a more balanced lifestyle that is not overtaken by the need to make tons of money. As long as you are taking care of yourself and your family, why invite added stress and problems?
4. The Company’s Values Don’t Match Your Own
One thing that stood out in the sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, is how Marshal valued the environment, and really wanted to work at an environmental law firm. Sadly, he could not land this desired job, and at some point had to grapple with a hard choice on whether or not to work for a company that destroyed America’s nature. In his pro list, Marshall noted that the job offered a great salary and security, which is usually what some people settle for, throwing their values to the wind.
Truth is, there is no point working for a company that does not match your personal values. Why pretend to be someone you are not? Yes, compromise is important when you work for a company, but if you find yourself eschewing major personal beliefs for the sake of making a buck then you need to re-evaluate your priorities a little bit.
3. You Would Leave If You Could
You will only realize this once you really soul-search. Ask yourself, if you could leave your job right now and still remain financially secure, would you do it? Would you ultimately think good riddance? If the answer is yes, then it is time you packed your bags and left. Before you quit, find your niche, identify ways to excel, work towards that goal, and don’t forget to save up for the day you leave. Again we’re not saying to get up and quit your job right here, right now. Make sure you leave yourself some wiggle room financially for when you are ready to leave your job to search for a potentially better job. Planning ahead is always the best route. Lastly, as you do this, look for partners and consultants that will help you make the career shift. A wide professional network will certainly come in handy as you explore all the options out there.
2. You Are Jealous Of Your Friends
In a blog post, a personal finance consultant narrated how one of her clients seemed jealous of her friend’s job. The client was a 27-year old lady working towards completing her degree in chemistry. While they discussed her science project and course work, the discussion veered off into public policy, and her mood changed. All of a sudden she was very bitter and super charged. The consultant asked whether she was jealous of her friend and true to it, she was. In fact, her passion had nothing to do with chemistry but public policy. Consequently, this incident was her “aha!” moment, and she began working towards that career direction.
This is the same way you should behave. I know it sounds strange but know your jealous triggers to pick out what your passion actually is, and work towards it. Being attuned to your negative feelings and thoughts can be very revelatory, and lead you to a path of positive change.
1. Your Boss Doesn’t Inspire You
A study by Glassdoor revealed that 80% of employees say that they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. Additionally, showing gratitude prevents employees from developing a wandering eye, and stick to their careers. As a result, these employees strive to grow professionally, while their bosses in turn offer career growth opportunities. Remember the tone of a company is set by the boss. You don’t want to be stuck under someone with poor leadership qualities and a bad attitude. If the captain of the ship is not doing his job properly, then it is more than alright to abandon ship.
So, if you notice that your boss is not keen on helping you improve, does not appreciate your work or even forgets that you exist, then it is time to leave, lest you find yourself declared redundant in the next downsizing.
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