10 Signs It’s Time for a Career Change

Work is an important part of our lives. It’s where we spend most of our time during the week to earn a decent salary to pay for a house, the car, and food to feed the family. In fact, it’s estimated a worker will spend 14% of their life at work. So it’s truly a big deal when we’re considering a career change at any point in our livers. 

Because we spend so much time at work, it’s ideal we care about what we’re doing. If not, we’ll spend a lot of time in an unhappy situation, and that’s untenable in the long run. So if you notice your enthusiasm for your job is dropping and you spend most of your time at the office daydreaming of escape, it is time to think about  a lateral move or switching into a totally different industry.

Ask yourself if this job is really right for you. Because the wrong job will make you feel depressed and negatively affect your career and personal life.

If you’ve reached this moment in your working career, it’s time to assess the situation and polish up your interviewing skills.

We compiled a list of signs that it is time to quit your job and consider a new path:

Poor workplace environment

In the most extreme scenario, you could be in a situation where you have a terrible boss or your co-workers wouldn’t hesitate to steal your ideas. Perhaps, you’re in a frat like environment where the people openly talk about “banging” their secretaries in their office. If any of these extreme conditions exist, hopefully you haven’t spent a lot of time at the company.

On the flip side, perhaps you work in a perfect cubicle environment in a perfectly hierarchical organization. Everyone knows their roles. Everyone buries their head in their cubicles. Everyone submits their TPS reports every 10 AM on a Monday.

A perfect bureaucracy is the perfect breeding ground for someone’s “shadow.” According to Jungian psychology, people develop personas to function in this world. We all wear different faces which suit the current social scenario. Hence, people act differently at work or at home or at a concert. We all adapt to the social setting. In a bureaucratic organization, a lot of people wear their corporate “masks” and bury who they really are.

When suppressed enough for a long time, the “shadow” or the opposite persona begins to develop and fester. If left buried for a long time, a shadow can be destructive. Hence, it’s important to eliminate cognitive dissonance. In other words, it’s best to find work that is consistent with who you really are.

Not using your skills

If you find yourself stuck in a job that does not allow you to utilize the advantages of your own skills, it is time to consider other options. When you find all of those years of training, experience, and skill building are untapped in your business, you find yourself feeling frustrated.

Your skill set is extremely important as it provides you with confidence and the ability to succeed in your career. So, if you do not use any of your skills or you are not capable of improving your business, this is the moment of truth to think about moving to another job that would maximize your ability to use your core skills.

The salary is too low

When you constantly worry about money, this is a sign you need to rethink your job situation. It is true that most of us often worry about money, but if that worry dominates your mind, it’s probably because you do not earn a high enough salary. It’s expensive raising a family in this day and age.

Also, it’s a matter of getting paid fairly. At a minimum, your salary should be close to the national average by geographical location and job function. With the Internet, it’s easy enough to check the salaries of other people working in your profession. It’s also free to research. Go to LinkedIn or sign up at Vested to see what companies are offering finance and accounting professionals.

So if you feel you’re being underpaid, it’s time to have a review with your manager to discuss fair compensation. If the answer is a “no” then it’s time to consider a career change.

Undervaluation of the human effort drops its determination. You’ll find yourself moping in your cubicle. Perhaps, you’ll even be vocal with your cubicle mates about poor pay. You’ll find it hard to be productive if you feel you’re being underpaid.

You expect that your skills and efforts to be rewarded with the right and suitable value. You may have to reassess yourself and your value if you see that you do not have the right means to fund your dreams.

You can’t climb the corporate ladder

career change

If you are one of the people who do not mind being monotonous and routine, continue with your current job. But if the idea of moving without progress frightens you, the time may come when you must consider a change. We all want the fancy title.

We all want a new challenge. We all want a bigger role in the company and the compensation and prestige that comes along with it. We expect natural progression through the ranks after many long hours spent at the workplace. If you feel, there is a “glass ceiling” in place or you’re being passed over by the company vice president’s younger nephew, then it’s time to assess your place in that company and seek a career change.

Your manager at work is the devil

Your boss not only affects your work, but also affects your life completely. Working under the direction of someone who doesn’t cheer you on and reduces your importance will frustrate you. You are more valuable than allowing yourself to stay in a job that offends you.

If you find that your life is no longer unbearable and your dealings with others wane because your boss is so bad, you need to get yourself out of this place and look for other options.

If you can’t trust the leaders around you, it will result in a loss of your confidence in work. If you no longer trust your boss or company for any reason, it is best to resign and go another way.

If work starts to affect your personal life

If your work life begins to affect your emotional and social life, it could lead to a chronic state of stress, insomnia, and exhaustion. This is definitely not a tenable situation.

This could be due to a poor work environment. It could be too much stress from competing with your co-workers. Or perhaps you’re working only to get that promotion and forgot why you joined this company in the first place.

If you find yourself under constant work-related stress including at times when you are off the clock like weekends and evenings, then you might not be in the right situation and should consider a job change.

Loss of motivation in your work

Although boredom at work is typical, if you constantly feel this way at the office it is a warning signs that you are not enjoying what you do. Signs of this mindset include spending all your time on social media, online shopping, playing games, etc. instead of doing your assigned work tasks.

If your conversations with friends, family, and co-workers about work become non-stop complaint sessions, it’s time to polish up that resume.

Always feeling lost

You should not ignore the feeling that you no longer win at work. Your job should be a source of inspiration, delight, and challenge, not a constant losing battle where you accomplish nothing.

If your job does not give you opportunities to advance and develop your skills, or requires you to travel more than you are comfortable with, don’t spend another moment in thinking about staying or resigning.

If your company no longer values your opinions or contributions, or your role in the company is redundant and no longer necessary, you should seize the opportunity to look for another company that values you. If you are returning from your vacation just to countdown the days to your next trip, it may be time to change.

Your company is not doing well

All businesses want to be the next Google or General Electric, but there’s a reason why there’s only one Google and one General Electric. Business is cutthroat and not every company can succeed in the long run. If you find that your company or your widget division is not profitable, then that will limit your opportunities within the company. There will be fewer promotion opportunities and at worst, the company could start a round of layoffs.

This is why it’s good to check the financial health of your company every now and then. It’s also useful to call into investor calls, when the company announces its quarterly earnings and gets grilled by Wall Street analysts. This is a perfect time to assess the company’s health and your future in it.

If your company is not doing well, then it’s time to polish up that LinkedIn profile and resume in preparation of a new job search. There’s no point in dwelling in a company with no future, when there are dozens of companies (with brighter prospects) willing to offer more for your experience and expertise.

You’ve had a Jungian Break

We’ve already discussed what happens when you’ve worn a fake mask to work. You develop a fake persona to fit into a work culture that is not consistent with whom you are or who you want to be. This leads to a “subconscious revolution” and your suppressed side overwhelms your forced conscious mask. This is a Jungian Break.

The character of Lester Burnham in the film American Beauty experiences such a break. Burnham gets fed up with his suburban life and his cubicle world. He quits his job, and starts working at a fast food restaurant. He buys a 20 year old car that he’s always wanted as a teenager. He fantasizes about having a relationship with a teenager. It’s a classic mid-life crisis at the most extreme.

This Jungian break at work can also be seen in the movies Office Space and Fight Club. In Office Space, the main character gets fed up with his TPS reports and stops caring about work. It leads to a lot of comical scenes like the one with the printer.

In Fight Club, the main character gets fed up with corporate life and American consumerism. The psychological revolution manifests itself in the physical world literally. Without giving away the plot twist, the main character starts a fight club in response to living a fake life for so long.

These are extreme situations and most people won’t get to that point. However, there will be a time when you’ve “had it.” You might find yourself taking more vacations, or buying a Harley Davidson. You’re playing a guitar again in your forties when you’ve given it up as a teenager. These are signs that your shadow is starting to emerge from years of conscious suppression. If left untreated or ignored, the shadow will gain strength and could lead to harmful behavior – the most extreme scenarios can be seen in Fight Club or American Beauty.

If you’ve had a Jungian break, then it’s definitely time to assess your career. Perhaps, you’ve worked too long crunching Excel at a boring corporate job for the past ten years. You want to explore a place where it’s less “stuffy” and less “formal”. Then take a look at working at a startup.

Whatever it is you’re yearning, it’s important to identify the root of this “shadow.” Explore what’s causing it – what you’re yearning. Then take action.

Summary – Career Change is normal

Gone are the days when workers are expected to work forty years at one particular place. Back in the day, a worker could work at IBM and expect a forty year career and a pension at the end of it.

In today’s world, there is no such thing as a pension. In fact, most millennials can’t expect to survive on social security. Hence, changing careers is a natural progression for all workers in today’s age. It’s important to know when and how to do it. The right career change can lead to better pay and more satisfying work.