A career change can be scary—especially if you work in the same field for your entire life, or if you like stability and shy away from change. On the other hand, a career change may be the best move you can make, both personally and professionally.
Are you considering a career change? Watch out for the five signs that it’s time to change careers. These red flags can help you figure out whether the time is right for you:
- The cons outweigh the pros.
We’re not talking about a 50-50 balance here. The odds should really be in your favor. Think about the 80/20 rule. In this rule, at least 80% of your job should be good. If more than 20% is bad, it’s time to make a change. You need to weigh various aspects—such as your coworkers, boss(es), job duties, and work environment—before making your decision about whether the good outweighs the bad.
Think about the 80/20 rule carefully before deciding to make a career change. If you generally love what you do (but dislike your boss, the commute, your schedule, and so on…), then it may be time to consider looking for another job in the same field.
- Your mood gets worse on days that you are working.
What is your gut telling you? Take it seriously. It may be time to change careers if:
- You’re depressed on Sunday evenings because you know that you need to go to work the next day.
- When you’re preparing for work, you’re dreading the day ahead.
- Your mood rises sharply on Friday afternoons.
- You get excited about going to the doctor and dentist—because you’ll get to miss work.
- You just don’t care.
It may be time to switch gears if you just don’t care anymore about this career. It’s natural for a paycheck to motivate you, but is that the only reason why you get your work done? Think about whether you just want to get the job done as required, or whether you truly want to do your best—even if it means putting in a little extra effort that you may not be paid for. In the ideal career, you should naturally take pride in your work and think of it as an example of what you are capable of doing.
- You have a passion—and it’s not what you’re doing.
You’re not passionate about your job if you’re only concerned about it from 9 to 5. Work-related activities such as networking, reading trade magazines, and researching new developments can be leisure activities for people who love their jobs. If you can’t face the thought of taking the initiative to do these things, it may be time to explore a career that truly interests you.
- The economy is giving you hints.
It’s not always clear which direction the economy is going, but you can look for subtle signs—such as cutbacks in federal and state funding related to your field, industry trends or unfavorable changes in legislation.
If the writing’s on the wall, you might want to take notice and think about your next move. Getting out before your company folds may be the best move—because it gives you a bit of extra time to look for a job while you still have your old one, rather than to wait until you’re laid off and desperate.
If these five signs are too familiar, then it may be time to change careers. Changing careers cannot be taken lightly… but when the time is right, finding a new career in the field you love can improve your life all around.