What are the Signs That it’s Time for a Career Change?
British workers aren’t happy.
In fact, we’re amongst the unhappiest workers in the world. According to some research, up to 55.6% of UK employees are unhappy with their role.
Are you one of them?
As the year comes to a close we all start thinking about what we want for the year to come. Most of us want something to change, and your job might be that thing.
However, how do you know if that’s truly what you want, or if it’s just those pesky end-of-year blues kicking in?
Well, we’re here for you. Below we’ve put together 11 of the most common signs that it’s time for a career change as told to us by past clients. Any of them sound familiar?
Reason 1 – You’re not challenged anymore
Nobody enjoys feeling out of their depth. However, feeling too comfortable in your role is dangerous too.
We spend so much time working to get better at our job, to get into that zone of competency and comfort that it may sound crazy to try and get out of it.
However, it’s important that do. When we’re too comfortable in our roles, we don’t grow. There is no drive to learn new skills, no new pressures to create diamonds. We stagnate.
Challenge and growth is a key indicator of happiness. Not only this, but future employers want evidence of your go-get-it attitude.
They say comfort is the enemy of achievement, and whilst we’re not sure this is true all of the time (I’d rather wear padded hiking boots than stilettos to climb Everest) it certainly rings true for career stagnation.
Eleanor Roosevelt said it best – “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
If you’re not gaining strength, courage, and confidence regularly at your work, those are clear signs that it’s time for a career change.
Reason 2 – You’re struggling to find the impact you make
We all want to make a difference. Whether that difference is on a personal, industry, or global level makes no difference; having evidence that what you do matters is a surefire way to feel satisfied in life.
It doesn’t even rely on your role in life – everyone can enjoy this feeling; from the waiter who remembers a regular customer’s birthday to the CEO who changes the company’s reporting style to keep the social and environmental impact in mind. It’s not limited to your role.
Many of these opportunities to make an impact are subtle, but they’re there, and incorporating them into your work life boosts happiness (not to mention that the ‘going the extra mile’ spirit often catches the eye of the higher-ups).
If you’re really unable to find any way your role makes a positive impact on the world then it’s definitely time for a change.
Reason 3 – Colleagues of the same tenure have been promoted or have left
Seeing your friends and colleagues leave for a better role is never a pleasant feeling – especially when your own next step on the road to success isn’t clear.
It’s natural that colleagues will come and go, and it’s important to be happy for their progress.
The red flag here is when you’re seeing colleagues who joined around the same time or after you leave for places you want to be.
If you’re entirely satisfied in your role then this is no problem. However, if this causes you grief, it might be a little voice inside telling you that it’s time you looked for the next step as well.
Could you have gone for that promotion or job opportunity that your colleague just left for?
Reason 4 – You see no room for growth
In everything you do, there should be scope to become better.
The most successful individuals in the world are always striving for the next opportunity, the next mountain to climb.
This isn’t important only because it keeps things fresh and exciting, but those achievements boost mental health and give that oh-so-delicious feeling of fulfilment.
And what’s more, growth leads to further growth, and success leads to further success. The boost from winning gives more energy to tackle the next task successfully, and so on. Like a ball rolling down the hill, the more you grow and achieve, the more you’re going to grow and achieve.
It’s worth asking yourself – are you still growing? Have you found out how you can get put up for that promotion? Are there things that your superiors do that you can learn to do yourself?
The answer may well be yes, but the idea of climbing that same career ladder gives you the shivers. In this case, it’s definitely time for a career pivot.
Reason 5 – It Feels like *sigh* work 😒
No, we’re not kidding.
And yes, we know that sometimes work does feel like work. There are always going to be certain jobs that you don’t want to do.
But there are two types of people at work;
There’s the slumped-shouldered and dead eyes husk of a human who looks to the end of their lunch break like a walk to the electric chair.
And then there’s the bright-eyed individual who claps their hands and announces with a smile “back to work!”
We fully believe that we all should be doing something where, most of the time, we want to be going in and doing the work.
Remember, you deserve to be spending your one, precious life on work that you enjoy. No more Sunday blues, No more unhappy mornings. It is possible.
Don’t believe us? Check out our testimonials page.
Marc Anthony – “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”
Reason 6 – You’re chronically ill, or tired
Our bodies are incredibly intuitive yet we often ignore them when they’re sending us important information.
They speak to us in a language that we ignore and medicate with drugs or surgery. We just need to look at the placebo effect (which is often proven to be up to 50% as effective as physical treatments) to know that the state of our brains can have more impact on our physical wellness than traditional medicine.
Our minds need to be in a good place for our bodies to be well. It’s that simple.
If you’re constantly feeling tired, or perhaps regularly coming down with colds, it might be time to take stock of your environment. Research shows that those who do what they love suffer less from ill health.
Are you always feeling tired, or run down? Your brain may be giving you a nudge – a sure sign that it’s time for a career change.
Reason 7 – Money is the only reason you’re still in your career 💸
Money is great – nobody is arguing that.
The red flag rises when money becomes the only reason you’re still in your job.
You can do a lot of great things with a good salary. But in the end, nothing will be able to buy back the satisfaction and happiness lost during days working in a job you don’t like. No amount of holidays, weekend trips, cool gadgets, or fancy cars will outweigh that job dissatisfaction.
Most importantly – it’s not an either/or situation.
You can have both a job you love and a job that makes you the money you want. After all, when you love something, you’re generally good at it, and when you’re good at something, you can get paid well for it.
Reason 8 – Your personal life is suffering
We’ve all heard about the importance of a work-life balance and we know it can be tricky to find the right split.
Work is a big part of life but it should never turn into a monster that dominates your every waking hour (including evenings, weekends, and holidays).
In order to have the best life you need both the work side and the personal side to be performing at their best.
Now obviously, you decide the balance. Having the balance, a little ‘work heavy’ is no bad thing in and of itself or vice versa.
However, the red flag flies up here when the ‘work’ side of the balance devalues the ‘personal’ side – all of the important elements for a healthy mental and physical life, and a successful career;
Exercise, socialising, hobbies. Quality sleep. Nutritional eating. Taking care of your mental health. Learning. Volunteering. Travelling. They all need their time too.
When your job leaves you too tired to see friends or devote time to your hobbies, it’s time to give it a serious review.
Reason 9 – You don’t feel true to yourself
We all have our different selves. Who we are with our family, our friends, and our colleagues, changes depending on the circumstance.
Let’s be real, you’re not acting the same way at tea with Great Aunt Agatha as you are with your mates at the pub. However, they’re both equally you, a reflection of different sides of your true self.
Your work self should be no different. Different behaviour, different manner of speaking, yes, but still very much you.
However, when your work self is no longer feeling like an honest reflection of you, it’s time to take stock.
Perhaps the way you’re speaking to your colleagues doesn’t feel like who you really are? Perhaps the decisions you’re making are at odds with the values you hold true?
Having a strong sense of who you are is vital to a fulfilled life, and all of your different ‘selves’ should still be wired to that core you. If your work self is not wired to that, that’s one of the signs that it’s time for a career change.
Reason 10 – Your career is difficult to talk about
Family gatherings can be tricky. Yes, we all love our families, but sometimes those inevitable questions about life can be a little stressful.
You know the ones – “How’s your relationship going?”. “Are you still driving that same car?” And the classic “tell me about work?”.
There is no reason these should be dreaded questions – and we get how the recent week of work may not be anyone’s favourite conversation when gathering around the dinner table, but it certainly shouldn’t be a subject you shy away from.
When you’ve found the right career, you’ll be bursting to tell your friends and family about the fun, exciting things you’re getting up to, your colleagues, and the impact your making.
If you find yourself dodging these questions – or worse – preparing in advance a response that’s slightly more fictional than you’d like, take a second to ask yourself why.
Reason 11 – You’re Unhappy
Truly a revelation, right?
It is natural for our moods to ebb and flow so you shouldn’t worry that you’re not always in a state of bliss.
However, it’s when the percentage of time in which you’re more unhappy and dissatisfied tips the scales over from being mostly happy and satisfied, here you’ve got a problem.
Being happy at work isn’t something that you can reach out and grab with both hands. It is the by-product of the other elements; feeling like you’re making an impact, growing, being challenged, joining your colleagues climbing up the success ladder, building new connections, etc.
General unhappiness is the main sign that some or all elements of your job are out of balance with your values and your true self. A great way to pin this down is by doing a Wheel Of life.
Out of all those 11 signs that it’s time for a career change, how many did you tick off?
If you feel like exploring a change, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call at +44 (0) 20 3130 0295, Whatsapp Text us at +44 7496 174288, or get in touch via our form.
Article was edited on 22/12/22 for accuracy.
The Bottom Line
Are some of these points sounding familiar?
You don’t have to have ticked off all 11 signs that it’s time for a career change (in fact, we hope you haven’t!). The bottom line is, if you’re asking yourself if it’s time to make a change, then it probably is.
The good news is that taking a career pivot is a thrilling prospect! It’s an opportunity to start living your very best life.
We honestly believe that it’s best for the world when nobody does work that they are unhappy doing. You should be happy in your role and, whilst we know it’s tricky knowing how to get there, it is our mission to make sure you do!