The days keep getting longer and longer. You are mad because you can’t come up with a good enough reason to call in sick tomorrow. You need a day off from the boredom. You just want to take the day off so you can pretend you work from home. You imagine that working from home is much better than working from your boring desk. OR, maybe you are overworked and you don’t know if “it all” is worth it anymore. What are you doing there anyways? Why do you put in so many hours doing a job that doesn’t utilize your real talents or make you happy? You’re angry because your company doesn’t offer career development opportunities and you just want to get to the next level, but don’t know how.
I’ve been there. Where you are, I’ve been there. I followed my dreams, got the degree, got my first real job right out of college and then… I didn’t change jobs or job titles or job responsibilities for nearly 7 years. S e v e n – Y e a r s !
Granted I got married, started my family, and bought my first home in those 7 years, which means I made many personal accomplishments, but in my career? NONE. Not a lick to write home about. I learn very little and didn’t really grow professionally. At the end of 7 years I realized it was time to move on! All the signs were there for a while and it just took me way too long to recognize them. Why? Probably because it was my first job out of college and I had grown up being told “go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, start a family, retire”. No one said anything about being unhappy with your decisions and changing mid stream. No one said ” get a job, change jobs, move up the ladder, change jobs again, write a book, go freelance, build a business”.
Why not? Well, times have changed. My parents (and probably your parents) grew up in a different time. People didn’t dream of changing jobs because there was a time when jobs were scarce and money and food was the necessity. No one cared about “wasted talent” because they were busy caring about their next meal.
The important thing is that times are different now and I did finally realize the time had come for a change. Back then, in 2007, I nearly doubled my income when I changed career directions. I put my pedal to the metal and got a new position in a better company that supported my career growth. BAM! Just like that I was onto the next thing learning, moving, and shaking things up. A career change doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. It can just mean moving into a position that offers a little more. Once you’ve hit the ceiling and maxed out your potential there, do no be afraid to pull out the resources to start growing again. It may mean a job change again, it may mean talking with your supervisor and boss, or it may mean going back to college or starting a side hustle. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to change. You get just one life. Don’t ignore the signs that it’s time to make a career change.
So, what are the signs that you need a career change?
#1 Your resume hasn’t changed and it won’t for the foreseeable future
There are few things worse than the feeling you get after working somewhere for many years and finally realizing that it’s time to make a change, but you have no idea how to update your resume because you’ve done nothing but the same job. You’re not alone in this. I’ve known people who were laid off during the recession and not much to put on their resumes. For one woman I know, this was a double whammy. She not only lost her job but couldn’t get into another one. Granted, the economy played some role in this, but having a resume with loaded experience that speaks for itself would have helped.
#2 You are bored and seeking hobbies to keep your mind busy
If you’re constantly on Pinterest at work planning your next Holiday crafts or recipes, you may just need a change in your career. Some people might argue with my on this because “why can’t I like being on Pinterest?”. Well, because spending 8-9 hours of your day in a job that doesn’t fully engage your mind or use your given talents enough that you are searching for lots of other things to do is probably – dare I say – a waste of your time and a waste of your life. Why allow yourself to be bored all day? Why not let your interests for cooking or crafting fuel your career? Unconventional careers, jobs, and business of your own should not be off the table IF there is a potential that you would be happy and fulfilled all day long. So, consider what it is you are seeking on Pinterest and try to connect that with a career change or a business of your own. You might also want to read this good place to start.
#3 You’re already spending most of your free time and lunch hour doing other things
If you already spend your lunch hour blogging, writing, knitting, or some other hobby you are obsessed with, then you’ve clearly got a start on a new direction. You just need to figure out how to hone your skills and figure out if your creative hobby can turn into a career path.
#4 You’re counting down the days until your next holiday or vacation
Obviously you need a break. Everyone needs a break now and then, even when they are doing what they love. That’s called burnout! However, if you are counting down the days because you hate your job, loath your coworkers or your boss, then you probably need to use some of your vacation updating your career goals and thinking about your next move. Vacations should be a place to relax not a place to dread going back to work.
#5 You stopped participating in as many after hours work functions and networking events
I know someone who refuses to participate in any networking events or extra learning activities after hours. He’ll do the things that are during 9am – 4pm, but after that he’d rather be at home and secluded. This is okay. Having a balanced life is great and setting boundaries can be a good way to have that balance, but if you are just disconnected with the reasons for networking in your industry and don’t even want to go during regular business hours, then you may be totally disconnected with your career choice too. Having passion for what you do should come natural. When and if it doesn’t, you probably need a change.
#6 People keep asking if you are feeling okay
How many times do you go to the water cooler or the coffee pot because you can’t sit at your desk any longer? Is your place of work wearing on you so much that people are starting to notice and asking “Hey, you feel okay?”If people can already see that something is wrong, then you need to go look in the mirror and figure out what it is they’re seeing that you are not.
#7 You dread Monday
This seems obvious. If you are dreading going into to work then you probably already know that you hate your job. So, why do you continue to do it day in and day out? Take some action! Don’t waste your time. Perhaps you feel there’s no where to go, and don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you quit your job today, but you should consider taking a class to learn a new skill so you can update that resume and get a job in the direction you really want to go. You know you need to, so just start!
#8 You can’t wait for the weekend
Another obvious sign that you need a career change. Hey, why not use this weekend to update that resume? Why not use this weekend to read a book on the career or job you are thinking of switching to? Why not use this weekend to research and enroll in a class that will teach you something new? Don’t use your weekend to gather energy you need to get through another week of miserable work. Put a little effort in this weekend and make something happen and get that career ball rolling.
#9 You find it hard to focus at your desk
What has got you so distracted? It’s obvious that you’re not all there so why are you there at all? If something has got you thinking you would rather be someone where else doing something else, then you are probably in need of a change. So, take action and find something that will keep you fully engaged.
You need a career change but now what?
All hope is not lost. There are a number of things you can do to get out of your career rut and make a change.
- Update your resume and call a head hunter – get your name and your info out there and let other people look for you. They get a commission for placing you and two heads are better than one!
- Update your LinkedIn profile and start connecting with people who hire. That means connecting your information with managers and business owners.
- Don’t be shy and reach out to people you know. The real data shows (more often than not) that jobs are filled by friends, or friends of friends, or people who know someone in the organization. So, get the word out to your closest family and friends that you are looking. Reach out to people via email or LinkedIn. WARNING! Be careful who you talk to though. Word could get out and you don’t want to jeopardize your current situation by talking to the wrong person. So be careful and don’t tell anyone who might tell your boss.
- Start networking in the right circles. If there is a career move or a company you know you want to join, then find out where those employees network. It may be a local chamber of commerce that has monthly mixers. Do some research and get your face out there.
- Go back to school. There is no time like the present to learn something new. The great thing is you are increases your exposure to new things and meeting new people at the same time. Utilize this time to make connections and exchange contact information. You never know , they may be your next coworker or small business partner!