With many of us heading back to work this week after the holiday period, it is the perfect time to think about our future, career and what we do on a daily basis.
If you can associate with any of five signs below it might be time to start thinking about making a career change.
1. The Last Time You Felt Excited About Work, Low-Rise Jeans Were Still In Fashion (the first time around)
If getting up in the morning feels like you are literally dragging yourself through mud and the thought of another day at your workplace makes you feel nothing but dread, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your career choice and start to make some changes. It’s natural to have ‘off’ days or weeks and but if it’s a constant feeling of work doom and gloom that won’t go away it’s time to get out.
2. You Are Mind-Numbingly Bored At Work, Even When You Are Busy
If you are at that stage when nothing about the current work that you do excites you and you spend more time procrastinating than actually doing any work, it’s probably time to have a good think about what you are doing and why it bores you senseless. Is it repetitive, difficult, boring? Try to get to the cause of why it isn’t suited to your style and personality.
3. If Your Colleague Talks To You One More Time You Might Just Throw Your Keyboard At Them
Surrounded by colleagues you don’t connect with or can’t relate to? Being surrounded by people who you aren’t aligned with can have you feeling isolated, flat and disconnected. If you are a pure creative at heart, sitting in an office full of accountants probably means you are going to struggle on a daily basis. If you find yourself in this situation, reassess if it is just your current workplace or the actual the work that you do that is the problem and start to plan for changes.
4. Even Fridays Feel Like Mondays
If the feel-good Friday factor is eluding you and getting up for work at the end of the week feels like as big of a chore as getting out of bed on a Monday morning it’s a sign that things need to change. Friday is that one day in the office that’s a little more relaxed, when everyone is a bit more chilled out and you can have a little fun – if you can’t get into that Friday feeling it’s a good sign there’s more going on that needs to be addressed.
5. You Watch The Clock Closer Than A Masterchef Contestant
If professional clock watching is your thing and you get more excited for lunch than 9am it’s time to make a change. Wishing your life away Monday to Friday is a sign that things aren’t right with your current situation.
So how do you make a change?
Overwhelmingly the people we spoke about before writing this article (friends, family, the guy who delivers our post) were worried about one thing: money. How can they make a change when they need their current income for rent, mortgages, bills, family, living etc. While there is no easy answer to that, making some small changes and doing a whole lot of planning and research is a good place to start to set you on the path to your career change.
1. Get To The Root Of The Problem
Sometimes it isn’t our career that’s the problem but something else. You need to get to the bottom of exactly what it is you don’t like about your current situation – is it the organisation? the location? the people? your boss? or is it actually the work you do on a daily basis. If it’s the latter you most likely need a complete career change, if it’s the former you may be able to make a positive change by switching companies, offices or locations or finding a work place more aligned with your values. Sometimes career dissatisfaction can also mask deeper issues that are underlying so you need to be completely honest with yourself – is it really my career or something else I need to change? Sometimes it can be a stage of life, unfulfilled desires, health issues, your living situation, relationships or other life problems that can be impacting on your career.
2. Planning, Planning, Planning
Once you have established that the cause of your dissatisfaction really is your career it’s time to get planning. It all comes down to identifying exactly what it is you do want to do and plan your path to get there. This isn’t an easy task, often we know what we don’t want but can’t pinpoint exactly what we do want. Spend a lot of time researching and reading, identifying your strengths and weaknesses, contemplating what life would look like if you were in your dream career and identifying the steps to get there.
3. Retrain In New Skills
Take night classes, offer to work for free at evenings or on weekends and look for paid opportunities in the field you want to move into. Reach out to your networks and utilise all of the resources you have to start to get you up to speed in your new career. Exposing yourself to as much of the work and industry you want to get into is a great way to get a good feel for what your new career might look like on a daily basis.
4. Get Your Finances Sorted
A career change is likely going to mean that your finances take a hit, work out exactly what it might cost for you to make the change, how long you can afford to be without a solid income and start planning for it. Take a critical look at your finances and spending and find out where you can cut out expenses and start stashing away savings. At this stage you have to be absolutely brutally honest with yourself- if you aren’t the type of person who can forgoe life’s luxuries, don’t want to make any hard changes in your spending or simply can’t because of family commitments it’s going to take longer, so plan for that, your path to changing careers might take 2-3 years not the 6 months you had hoped for but at least you will have an end goal in sight and a plan to get there.
5. Don’t Write Off Your Organisation..Just Yet
Quite often, particularly if you work for a large organisation, the right job may be closer than you think. Spend some time out in other departments or business areas chatting to people about the work they do and seeing if there is a way you can get an opportunity to co- work on a project or even a secondment. This can be a great chance to ‘try before you buy’ to make sure that the new career you plan to move into really is a good fit.
6. Make The Change, But Don’t Expect It To Be All Smooth Sailing
When you do make the switch don’t expect it to be perfect immediately, there will be many challenges to deal with in any new career, particularly if you are new into the field and are starting at the junior levels. The good news is that you should be learning new skills and experiences every day which usually keeps your mind stimulated, active and involved which should feel a whole lot different to your previous situation.
7. Be Strong
Willpower and determination are going to be the two things that helps you achieve the change you want (and need) but there will be plenty of things to derail you – friends, family and colleagues all might try to scare you off making the changes. Find those people in your life who are truly supportive and talk to them instead. And keep going back to your plan to keep yourself on track.
Who knows by this time next year you may just be working in the job of your dreams.
Want more Career? Click here for Why Kindness Is The Most Underrated Value In The Workplace and here for Why Most People Should Never Be Managers.