Stressed career man

Thinking about changing careers? It’s time to find your passion and make that your job. You need to establish if it’s the place, the job itself, or where you are in your life that you hate. Could you be happy doing your job but somewhere else? Or will this job always leave you feeling depressed, undervalued, and overworked? If that’s the case you need to think about making a career change now. But first, what are the signs you should be looking out for?

1. Your body is telling you enough is enough!

Do you get ‘the Sunday-night dread’? If you do then get out of your job. It’s no coincidence that these Sunday-night-specific anxiety attacks come when they do; your body is telling you it knows what’s going to happen on Monday and it isn’t happy about it. Headaches, tension in your muscles and migraines are all signs from your body that you’re in the wrong career. Checklist:
  • Always exhausted?
  • Struggling to concentrate?
  • Aching limbs?

2. Your job is impacting on your self-esteem

If you are beginning to doubt yourself and the work that you do, then something dramatic needs to change in your working environment. Staying in a job or career that makes you feel bad about yourself as a person is never going to be worth it, no matter what the pay or perks are. No perk is worth feeling down on yourself for. This can seriously impact on your long-term emotional well-being and makes completing the smallest task seem impossible. A fulfilling career should be a boost to your confidence and self-esteem, not the opposite of that. Checklist:
  • Not confident in your decision-making?
  • Feel like your suggestions aren’t being taken on board?
  • No opportunity for growth or progression?

3. You’re only there for the money

Most people who dislike like their work but are reluctant to change would say it’s their fear about walking away from the money that keeps them stuck. But earning lots of money in a job that sacrifices your own happiness is not worth the pay-off. Having a career where you feel like you are following your calling and that brings personal and professional satisfaction beats all that money hands down. Material things will never make up for hating your job because even with those beautiful, designer shoes you’ll still be walking to the same office every day. Checklist:
  • You tell yourself you’ll only stay until the January bonus
  • You buy yourself nice things to make up for the pain of having a job you hate
  • You’re envious of friends with less well-paid jobs but who have job satisfaction > Do you get ‘the Sunday-night dread’?

4. You dream of a different career

If you’re spending your time sitting at your desk, twirling your hair around your finger, googling jobs, bookmarking interesting companies in your browser and wondering wistfully what it might be like to work from your bed or a friend’s co-working space, then you need to get out of your job and into a career that interests you. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Listen to your heart and make changes to your career to make it happy. Checklist
  • You always have a browser open on a jobs listings website
  • You’re often reading about the lives and careers of people you admire to distract yourself from your own job
  • You hate telling people what your job is at parties, wishing you could say something different

5. You’re lacking energy and you’re eternally bored

No one expects to be fascinated at work all day every day. We all have days when we lack the energy and enthusiasm to be at the top of our game. But this should not be every day. We may find one particular task an annoyance, but when we find our whole job/organization/career boring then it’s time for a change. Depleting energy levels can also be a sign that something’s not right and your work variables need a shake-up. Checklist:
  • You struggle to get out of bed in the morning to go to the office
  • You’re tired all day, find it hard to stay awake in meetings, have nothing to contribute and cannot feign enthusiasm
  • The hands of the clock seem to go round slower with each day that passes > Ask yourself the question if you could leave your job right now, would you?

6. You’ve become disconnected from your passions

You feel disconnected from the original reason you started out in your career. Perhaps the creativity that originally enticed you is no longer a part of your job and you spend more time managing accounts or sitting in meetings than creating anything of substance. Getting back to the fundamental reasons why you started out in that career can help you when thinking about changing – are those values still what you would look for in your career or have they altered as you’ve grown older and more experienced? Checklist:
  • You miss doing the thing that brought you into the industry in the first place
  • You feel like your job is taking away precious time when you could be doing the thing you’re really passionate about
  • You don’t recognize the person you’ve become in this job as it is so far removed from the person you were when you started out

7. You’re jealous of friends’ jobs

Feelings of jealousy towards the jobs, careers, or work cultures of friends or family can be a key directional signal that you want to be doing something else, somewhere else. Rather than dismissing jealousy as a bad thing, try to analyze why you might feel that way. Is it the job role you are jealous of or the motivational company culture? Is it the flexibility of their role or creativity? When thinking about it try to be as honest with yourself as you can: it can be a very practical way of pinpointing exactly where you want to be going with your own career. Checklist:
  • You’re constantly exclaiming how wonderful your friends’ jobs sound
  • You dream of having the creativity and flexibility your friends have in their careers

8. You’ve become apathetic to change

You may be functioning perfectly well at your job but you lack the desire to bring forward new ideas to your boss or instigate innovation at your company. Perhaps your suggestions have been ignored before or straight-out rejected. Perhaps you work for a company that would rather you just did what you are paid to do rather than suggested improvements in the product or culture. With this kind of management style, it’s difficult to stay motivated. If you are bursting with great ideas it’s time to go somewhere that appreciates and embraces them. If that means working for yourself, then do it. Checklist:
  • You have no interest in the company you work for
  • You’re coasting along, no longer looking for opportunities for promotion or advancement
  • You’re saving all your good ideas for when you’ve got a job you really enjoy with another company / or for your own company.

9. You would leave if you could

Ask yourself the question, if you could leave your job right now (and remain financially secure), would you? If the answer is yes then you need to start working out how you’re going to do that. Find your niche. Get excited about a new career. Start thinking about how to build a career or business that is aligned with your passions. Checklist:
  • Money is the only thing keeping you in your job
  • You’re already saving up for the day you can leave

10. Your friends don’t recognize you anymore

When close friends or family are noticing a marked difference in your attitude or behavior, that you’re constantly stressed, unhappy and complaining, this can be a sign that your career is not working out for you. They remember you when you were passionate, creative, and inspired to go out and achieve and they don’t recognize this person who turns up late for a beer after work with bags under their eyes and stories of a nightmare boss. If the people closest to you can see that your job is taking its toll on you and not making you happy, it’s time to take stock and start thinking about the person they used to know and how you can get back to being that person. Checklist
  • You have less time for family and friends and when you do you’re stressed and unhappy
  • You don’t have the time or energy for the things that used to make you happy

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