17 (Often Overlooked) Signs It’s Time To Change Professions

It’s almost a given that at some point in our twenties, we’re going to get stuck at a job that is not a great fit for us. Though I’m lucky enough to be working in the field I love now, that certainly hasn’t always been the case. Here are a few telltale signs that your current place of work just isn’t for you:

1. You can’t remember the last time you felt excited about a project at work. 

Not every task is going to blow your mind, but if you’re consistently uninspired by your day-to-day undertakings, really without exception, it may be an indication that the job is not a great fit for you. Your interest should be sparked at least a fraction of the time.

2. You’re only staying for the money.

You keep telling yourself you’ll quit after the end-of-year bonus or your next big paycheck. No, the next one… And then suddenly it’s three years later and you’re sitting at the exact same desk. The truth is, there will never be a good time to leave a stable source of income. There will only be a time when the satisfaction of doing so finally outweighs the financial risk. 

3. Your strengths are not being emphasized (or optimized). 

You have a creative mind and a commitment to excellence but you are stuck with tasks that downplay your natural abilities. Your best self has no place in your workspace – which is unfortunate because that is the part of yourself that does the most inspired work. 

4. There is a field you’d rather be in, but fear is holding you back from pursuing a career in it. 

You know exactly what you’d rather be doing but someone (possibly you) has convinced you that it is a pipe dream. You stay right where you are because it’s easier to fail at a job you don’t care about than a job that you passionately do care about.

5. You never feel stressed in the workplace.

There is absolutely such thing as “healthy stress.” It’s what we feel when we are invested in an undertaking that we want to see prosper. If you never feel stress in the workplace it may be an indication that you aren’t that invested in your job. And that lack of investment makes for some very long days.

6. On the flip side, you are always feeling stressed.

While a healthy amount of stress breeds productivity, an over-abundance of it wears on our mental and physical health. We all need to know our own limits and work within them. If your job is constantly requiring you to push those boundaries, it may be time to re-consider the role.

7. You are replaceable.

Your role doesn’t require a set of skills that are specific to you. If you left tomorrow there’d be a lineup of people who could fill in for your position and it would be no skin off the company’s back.

8. You have noticed a significant discrepancy between your own values and the values your company/co-workers embody.

In a lot of ways, finding the right job is like finding the right relationship – You don’t have to have all the same interests but your long-term values should line up. Working for a company that you don’t believe in is a slow form of torture – one that takes a toll on you both in and outside of work.   

9. Your self-esteem is suffering.

You feel ashamed of what you do for a living and it is reflecting on the way you see yourself as a person. No matter how badly you need to pay the bills, your work should never come at the cost of your own respect.   

10. Work parties have become something you abhor and avoid.

The last thing you need is to be unpaid to hang around the same people you see every day. Business has no element of pleasure for you – ever.

11. Though you enjoy your time off, you develop an impending sense of dread each Sunday evening around 7pm.

The anticipation of another five days in the office is almost more than you can bear. 

12. You scour the jobs ads occasionally, just to see what else is out there.

Though you may not be serious about leaving your job anytime soon, it is a fantasy that you actively maintain. You want to keep your options open and if anything better came along you wouldn’t think twice about applying for it. 

13. You have a difficult time concentrating on tasks.

Even when you’ve had eight hours of sleep, two coffees and a yoga break, you cannot seem to snap out of a daze at work. It’s as if you’re in a perpetual coma from the time you clock in until the moment you can finally leave.

14. When you’re asked where you see yourself in five years you have a plethora of answers, none of which involve your current field of work.

You have strong ambitions and the drive to go far – you just don’t see your current company as the place where that will happen. You have already mentally checked out from any possible future in your current role.

15. You are actively laying down the foundation for a career elsewhere.

You are taking side courses or volunteering in the field. As soon as the opportunity arises for you to achieve gainful employment in the field you really want to be in, you’ll be ready. No questions asked. 

16. You’re preparing to leave.

Even though you don’t have another job prospect on the horizon, you’ve begun clearing your desk, tying up loose ends and prepping yourself to move on. It’s only a matter of time before you find something more meaningful.

17. You know that when you finally do leave, you will be nothing but proud of yourself.

You’re finally ready to take steps toward the life you truly want. And the idea of doing so fills you with nothing but pride – something you haven’t felt at work for a very long time. TC mark   

image – Leanne Surfleet

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