5 Ways To Know It’s Time For a Career Change

Posted by in Career Success | 9 comments

Last week I bought a new pair of shoes. I bought the same brand of shoes three years ago and I loved them so I was excited to get a new pair.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

Everything was going well on the first day I wore them. A little stiff here, breaking them in there, the usual with new shoes. However, at some point during the day I noticed some significant discomfort on the top part of my foot. I just chalked it up to the break in period of new shoes so I did’t bother to do anything about it. However, it started to really hurt and it was becoming a distraction. Then it hit me.  I don’t have to suffer like this.  I have the power and the ability to untie my shoe, readjust the fit, and keep moving. Freedom! I felt like William Wallace in a pair of Keens.

This led me to start thinking about how this can often happen in our careers. Sometimes we needlessly tolerate pain in our careers when we have the ability to change our situation. But how do you know when enough is enough? Here are some indications it might be time to start making a change in your career:

1. You dread Sunday night. When I was at my lowest in my previous career I would loathe Sunday nights.  Saturdays were great. Sundays during the day were wonderful. However, after dinner on Sunday night I knew I would be back at my cube in a matter of hours and it was like someone had sucker punched me in the stomach.

2. You’re taking a lot of time off. If you find yourself regularly taking unplanned vacation days or sick days just because you can’t bear the thought of  being at work it’s probably time for a change. I once had to take an “emergency” vacation for a week because I just could not take it any more.

3. You’re doing the bare minimum to keep your job. When you’re less than fired up about your job its going to be difficult to go the extra mile. Maybe you’re not exactly slacking on the job but in your heart of hearts you know you could do more. The job gets done but you just can’t bring yourself to put in that extra effort because in the end you really don’t care about it.

4. You are completely exhausted when you get home. I’m not talking about just being tired from working. I’m talking about going straight from the garage to your couch tired. You feel like you have nothing to offer your friends, family or significant other because the life was slowly sucked out of you all day at work. One day after an extremely stressful day at work I sat on the couch, skipped dinner, watched TV for 5 hours straight and then crawled into bed without remembering a thing about what I had watched.

5. You look forward to your dentist appointments. Any interruption to your work day is a welcomed reprieve. When you find yourself loitering in your optometrist’s lobby after your check up rather than returning to work, it may be time to start dusting off that resume.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms you might want to start thinking about making a change. It may be that just a change of scenery in the same line of work will do the trick or maybe you’re looking at a complete career overhaul.  Either way, take a look at what you’re experiencing in your work life and take control of the situation. Oh, and if your shoes are bothering you just bend over, untie them, and fix the tongue.  It worked for me.

What kinds of things have prompted you to make job changes or other changes in your career?

  • Jeff Dunn

    Adam, A poor manager can make even a decent job a nightmare.  Fortunately, I have a wonderful boss now, here at Intel.  Good post!  -JD

    • Anonymous

      Yes absolutely Jeff. The quality of your manager definitely has a strong impact on job satisfaction. The old saying, “people don’t leave companies they leave managers” can hold true in a lot of situations. Glad to hear you have a good boss in your current role.

      • “people don’t leave companies they leave managers”
        wow! I have never heard this saying before, but yes, that would be true for me. 

        • Yep, it happens all the time Alana, as I’m sure you’ve experienced. A manager can really influence your level of enjoyment of a job.

  • I was totally with you until the last point…I would go to any job over going to the dentist!

    • Ha, you must really not like going to the dentist Tyler. Well, maybe it’s not time for a career change for you after all.

  • This post made me lol. I felt like you were taking thoughts directly from my mind and putting them on paper. Do you have a post written on “how to cope” while you are in a transition phase? I have found one of the things I love to do, but it is slow moving and certainly not enough income to quit my day job yet. How do you cope when you are in the transition? 

    • Oh I love that idea for a blog post Alana. I will write a post on that soon thanks to your idea. When you’re dealing with a transition period, the important thing to do is to always be looking forward. Have a plan of some kind and take action to move forward. We can get stuck when we start focusing on how hard it is to achieve our goals. So keep looking into the future to what you’re aiming for.

      • Sweet! I look forward to seeing the post. I am very good at looking forward and sometimes am looking at the next thing so often that I forget where I really am – it is a hard fall when I realize I am still in the same place. Having a plan is where I falter – I like to fly by the seat of my pants. In this scenario, that is not always helpful. Thanks for the advice. I have received this specific feedback before, so it may be time to actually design that plan. 🙂 

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