Change is a concept that makes most of us uncomfortable. Whether it’s signing up to a new gym or bigger stuff like moving to an unknown neighbourhood, venturing out of our well-trodden path of experience is frightening. The same goes for our careers.
When we start to feel despondent, dissatisfied or down-right overwhelmed in our current role, it can be hard to accept we might need to make a change. But, tuning in and listening to your intuition is one of the best ways to really honour what’s best for you and your future.
We’ve all had those days or even weeks when work feels relentless. But, how do you know when this isn’t just a fleeting feeling?
If you’re considering taking the leap into a new industry or pivoting in your current one, here are five signs that indicate you could be ready for a career change.
1. You feel bored in your current role
If watching the clock has become your daily office pastime, it’s time to consider whether your current role is really serving you.
When you don’t feel challenged, stimulated or engaged in your work, it’s all too easy to switch into cruise control and take our hands off the wheel. Boredom can be a clear indicator that you’ve outgrown your position.
Once you’ve been in a role for a few months or years, it’s tempting to stay in your comfort zone and avoid pushing the boundaries of what you’re expected to achieve. And if your manager or organisation isn’t taking the time to invest in your professional development, it’s even more likely that you’ll plateau and feel a sense of frustration.
When boredom strikes, take some time to reflect on what’s causing these feelings. Write down which emotions you’re experiencing and consider what action you can take to address them.
If you’re craving more responsibility, arrange a time to chat with your manager to discuss expanding your project or client portfolio. However, if frustration stems from the nature of your work, start brainstorming what your ideal day or job looks like. This is a great first step in helping you understand which alternative career paths could be worth exploring next.
2. You lack a sense of fulfilment
No one wants to spend their days doing work that seems pointless and futile. Experiencing a sense of fulfilment in your career is so crucial as it helps you feel as if you’re contributing to something beyond yourself.
If your work feels meaningless, redundant or just plain snooze-inducing, this could be a good time to stop and reflect. Consider which values are most important to you and the causes that are close to your heart. Do you consider yourself an advocate for animal rights or maybe you wish you could do further research into climate change?
Take the time to clarify which causes or initiatives really light you up and consider whether this aligns with your current role. Once you have a better understanding of your values and interests, you can start to explore career options that are a good fit for you. One helpful tool is a career strengths test which is a self-assessment tool that helps you identify your strengths and skills. This information can be used to help you choose a career path that is aligned with your strengths and interests.
You don’t necessarily need to make a career change if you’re not working directly in your ideal field. However, if you feel like your current job conflicts with your core values, it might be wise to explore other options.
3. You’re not learning any new skills
No one wants to feel like a hamster running along a never-ending wheel. But unfortunately, when you stagnate in a career it can often feel as if you’re reliving the same routine week in and week out.
Whether it’s formal off-site training, professional development courses or on-the-job mentoring, learning new skills helps you to grow and thrive in your work. However, many of us can find ourselves trapped in the daily grind and unable to explore these valuable avenues of career development.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to look at ways to open up an honest conversation with your manager. Research potential courses or programs you think would be valuable to your position and come armed with some suggestions to raise in the meeting.
Or maybe you could explore being mentored by a more senior staff member? Be prepared to justify why this training would benefit both you and the organisation and offer a range of course options that can be delivered in-person and online.
However, if you’re craving skills and experience outside of your current industry, this could be a clear indication that a career change might be worth considering.
4. You dread going to work on a Monday morning
If the Sunday blues are destroying your capacity to unwind each weekend, it’s important not to dismiss these feelings. Although we all prefer weekend brunching over back-to-back meetings, feeling an overwhelming sense of dread towards heading into the office is a sign worth listening to.
When these pangs of panic hit, grab a pen and paper and jot down the thoughts that arise. What are you sweating over? How are these thoughts making you feel? Be really specific and write down everything that’s running through your mind (no matter how small or silly it might seem). This act of putting pen to paper helps to avoid anxious rumination as you’ll be able to clearly observe the distorted thought patterns you’re having.
Once you’ve written it all down, reflect on any common themes that colour your thoughts and feelings towards work. Do your worries boil down to a general sense of dissatisfaction? Are your concerns stemming from the feeling that you’re not pursuing your passion? Critically analyse why you’re dreading Monday morning and the steps you can take to redress these concerns.
5. You constantly catch yourself browsing jobs on LinkedIn
We’re all guilty of this one. Scoping out the job market is habit most of us pick up when we’re feeling the itch to explore new horizons. And with LinkedIn’s job listings just a few taps away, it’s never been easier to entertain our desires to ditch our current gig.
Next time you find yourself ready to hit ‘Easy Apply’, take a second to consider why you’re browsing new roles in the first place. Do you feel you’re underpaid and undervalued at your current company? Have you always wanted to try a different industry? Are you craving a change of scenery, whether that be a new desk, a new city or a new country altogether?
Taking the time to identify what is causing this sense of restless will help you identify if a career change is really what you are seeking. If your gut is telling you you’re wasting your potential in your current role, don’t be afraid to listen to that. When we give ourselves permission to be vulnerable and honest, we’re able to make the best and most informed career decisions.
This article was written by Lucinda Starr and originally published on A Girl In Progress.