Here’s some good news: unemployment rates fell, or were unchanged, in all 50 states in November – and according to the Labor Department, employers added jobs in 43 states and cut jobs in just seven. This is terrific news not only for those looking for jobs, but for those who have felt trapped in a job for the last few years. I mean – a job is a job, right?
If you’ve had a lingering feeling that you’re not in the right place, you’re not alone. In a 2013 Gallup poll, a whopping 70% of people either hated their jobs, or felt disengaged (you’ll probably find your disengaged coworkers complaining by the water cooler, or talking about how “things were better” ten years ago.)
Leaving a job, or even switching up your entire field, can be massively stressful. Chances are, you’ve grown accustomed to the daily routine and maybe anticipate the lingering unhappiness as being part of adulthood. Yet while it’s scary, shaking things up can reap massive rewards, and morph your daily perspective on employment. If you’ve been on the fence as to whether or not now is the time to change up your career, here are ten signs that you’re ready to make that big step.
1. To This Day, You Regret Not Taking Different Courses In College. You were flying high with your English major, until you took that Psychology course your senior year. You realized that you connected with the subject on a level you never imagined you would – after all, you only took it to fill some credits. And while you graduated years ago, you still regret not getting to experience the field even more. If you’re in a position to go back to school, don’t talk yourself out of it. Especially if you feel like you chose the wrong focus. You’re never too old to improve your education.
2. You Just Can’t Survive On Your Current Salary. I’m not talking about hopes of going from $20,000 per year to $200,000 overnight – but if your job has put a freeze on raises for the last few years, and cut out the perks of holiday bonuses (jelly of the month club, anybody?) chances are it won’t get better anytime soon. With the cost of absolutely everything on the rise, taking on a different job that you’re qualified for that will also allow you to go out to dinner once a week is the smart move to make.
3. Your Job Stress Is Effecting Your Life Outside Of Work. Do you come home from your job and shut down completely? That’s not healthy. If your brain is constantly focused on work, what’s the difference between being home and still being at the office? Also, it could be tearing your personal relationships apart. While your significant other wants you to be happy, they also don’t want to be the target of your stress and anxiety on a daily basis. After all, there’s nothing they can do but lend an ear.
4. You’re Thinking Of Starting A Family. Back when you were single, work travel was awesome. It offered you the chance to fly around the world while getting paid.
But now, you might want to have kids. And when you have kids, you don’t want to be in Italy for two weeks. Sure, there’s always Skype. But it’s just not the same. (Especially since Skype won’t change diapers for you.)
5. You Want To Be Challenged. At this point, you can do your job with a blindfold on. While sometimes it’s nice to be able to have a day that doesn’t require much brainpower, you know you’re capable of so much more than that. Plus, you’re not sure if there’s an advancement in your company or field that’ll allow you to truly shine.
6. You Just Can’t Relate To Your Coworkers. It’s not like other people should dictate your own life decisions, but if your coworkers love to bring the following topics to the workplace, it could make for an uncomfortable day: Politics, Religion, Racist Beliefs, and Inappropriate Stories About Their Family Members. (Seriously: It’s not comfortable for me to hear about your infertile son-in-law at 8 AM.) Certain people can be so awkward that it puts a cramp in your daily routine. Even worse, you might work in an office filled with bullies. Especially if they think you’re a threat to their job. These people are toxic, and if you can’t handle the fact that they have no filter, it’ll be a weight off your shoulders if you embraced a new job opportunity.
7. The Field Just Isn’t What You Expected. With certain jobs, some morals need to be compromised. In the political field, things can get messy. In sales, you might feel guilty about your tactics to get your commission. Certain people have the drive, and other people just had no clue what they were getting into. Unfortunately, nobody really warns you about the gritty aspects of certain professions, and before you know it, you’re cold-calling people during dinner time. If your job includes tasks that you’re morally opposed to, it’s smart to get out of there.
8. Your Job Takes Away From Your Personal Time. This happens a lot if you’re not paid for overtime, yet penalized for taking a sick day. Personal time is important for everyone – and if you find yourself dedicating your entire life to your job, you can get burned out super easily.
It’s normal to work overtime on occasion – sometimes, it’s even necessary. But if your job is constantly asking you for more while rewarding you less, it’s time to consider other opportunities that’ll treat you like a human, and not a robot.
9. You Start Feeling Like You’re Just Not Good Enough. First, let me ease your fears and tell you that you are. If you weren’t qualified for your job, you never would have been hired. As mentioned before, jobs have been super hard to find recently. You landed your job because you were more than right for the position, and were an absolute rock star during your interview. If time has passed and you’re getting a lingering feeling that your boss hates you – yet hasn’t taken the time to actually sit down with you and explain ways you can improve – it’s almost emotionally abusive. The job of your boss is to make sure that his or her team is as strong as they can be. If passive aggressive statements or in-office rumors are making you feel inadequate, it’s not the place for you.
10. Your Voice Is Never Heard. No matter what your position is, a good boss is open to suggestions from the entire team. Imagine this scenario: You’re called in for a team meeting on how to improve business, and care enough to put together a power point presentation. Everyone seems to really dig your ideas. Yet months later, nothing happens – even after you offered to help grow your idea. While your boss was open to the ideas, it’s apparent that they’re not willing to change their ways. Or, they don’t want to actively move forward with an idea that wasn’t their own. Things are exactly the same as they were before, but you lost so much time trying to help the business grow – so, what was the point of the meeting? This happens constantly. And while every idea you have won’t necessarily be used, or be the genius plan you originally found it to be, you’ll notice that you’re not the only person who will fall into this trap. If your voice is never heard in an extremely serious situation (like sexual harassment from a coworker), the best thing to do is to get out of there.
While changing careers can be daunting, sometimes it’ll be the best decision you can make. No matter what, always trust your gut and try not to burn any bridges. Even if your boss drives you mad, make sure you resign the right way, with two weeks notice and a smile on your face – after all, he or she might be a solid reference for your next place of employment.