On the other hand, you could just be experiencing burnout, nothing a few weeks’ vacation won’t cure. You need to know if you are truly ready for a change, or if you’re letting a temporary emotional state dictate your decisions. With the economy still shaky, you want to make sure you are making the right choice. Here are 5 signs it’s time to think about a career change.
1. Loss of energy and enthusiasm
Most people experience days when they would rather stay in bed and skip work. If you partied all weekend and still have a hangover, this is perfectly understandable. However, if you experience this loss of energy and enthusiasm for your work all the time, when you used to feel excited and challenged, then you have a problem.
It isn’t about being lazy or tired. You experience a dragging, dreary feeling because you see no purpose in going to work, and your career has lost all meaning for you. You can compare it to watching a movie for kids. You don’t want to watch it because it isn’t for you, not because it is necessarily stupid. If this is you in a nutshell, then you need to consider moving on to something else.
2. Lack of advancement
Few people can continue to feel motivated if there is no acknowledgement of their efforts and accomplishments. If your employer does not see your potential, or refuses to give you opportunities for advancement, then you have to consider fishing in another pond. You need to work for and with people that believe in you, or you will start second-guessing your abilities.
3. No professional growth
If you are bored or dissatisfied with the way your professional life is going, you may not be getting the opportunity for growth you need to develop your career. You should assess your working situation in terms of your personal benefit. Have you acquired new skills that will help you meet current challenges in your field, or is your skill set the same as your first day of work? Do you feel challenged in any way, or is your work so comfortable that you don’t even have to think?
Your work environment and/or your employer should push you to learn new things. If your current situation does not encourage you to develop professionally, then you might find yourself a dinosaur in your field. This can be disastrous in the future when new technologies render you obsolete. It would be better to move out of your comfortable position now and develop new skills rather than pushed out in the future.
4. Hostile workplace
You must be able to trust your workplace to have a satisfactory career. Suspicion of the motives of management and a divisive culture among and within departments will eventually affect your ability to perform to your highest potential and develop your career in a positive way.
If you feel that your workplace is hostile and you cannot count on your employers to look out for their employees, you should question whether you should stay on. You may be wasting your time and talent in a company or organisation that does not deserve them. Association with such an organization can also reflect on your own future prospects. Consider a career change to minimize the taint on your resume.
5. No confidence
Your employer should allow you sufficient room to think and act on your own. You should be able to introduce innovations and make the job yours. He or she should not look over your shoulder all the time and micro-manage your tasks, because this stunts your self-expression and personal brand in the work. Your accomplishments should be due to your own efforts and decisions, not as a mouthpiece or drudge of your employer.
No flexibility at work makes you no better than a robot, and this can lead to stagnation in the workplace. If you want to put your own stamp on your work, you need to find an employer that will allow you to be your authentic self. Do not allow your employer to place you in a position where you cannot use your talent and time to the fullest. If you are given no choice in the matter, a career change is clearly in the cards.
A career change is not a decision to make lightly. You need to consider these five signs carefully to see if they truly apply to your situation. It might be a good idea to bring your issues to your employer to see if there is a less drastic solution. Remind him or her of what you can bring to the table given the opportunity to do so. The important thing is to remind yourself of your own value, and never to let career development fall by the wayside.