Everybody goes through ups and downs in their career. In some cases, the downs might just be temporary setbacks that you can overcome. In other cases, the problems may be more serious and could signal that it's time for a serious change. For many of us, it can be tough to figure out when we're experiencing small bumps in the road and when we need to make a change.
At Concorde, we specialize in helping people of all ages build meaningful careers in the health care field. Many of our students are from diverse professional backgrounds and come to us looking for a more rewarding line of work. We want to help you determine whether you're on a fulfilling path, which is why we've put together a list of 12 common signs that it's time to leave your old job in the dust and find a better career. If any of these sounds familiar, consider looking into a change with the help of Concorde's fantastic programs.
1. You're Suffering From Chronic Fatigue and Stress
Two of the earliest and most common signs of deteriorating work life are chronic fatigue and stress. Almost all professionals experience these feelings at some point, and they can be a sign that a job is a bad fit (1). However, fatigue and stress can also be caused by factors outside of work, making it important to diagnose the cause of your feelings.
Try to think about when you feel most fatigued or stressed. Maybe it's at the beginning of a work week. Maybe the week leaves you so exhausted that you're unable to enjoy the weekend. These are both signs that your discomfort is caused by your job. You can also analyze the amount of time you spend at work, including the time you spend dealing with work-related issues outside of the office. If too much of your time is spent managing business, your job could be the cause of your stress.
In some cases, the stress and fatigue you're experiencing may be caused by factors other than your work. These could include issues in your relationships, disputes with friends, financial troubles, or medical issues. Try to rule these out before putting your career on the chopping block. Remember that if spending time at home with friends and family helps you recover, the problem is probably at the office.
2. You're Procrastinating and Forming Bad Habits
If a job is a bad fit, you'll probably find yourself creating bad habits. This often takes the form of procrastination or shirking your responsibilities. Letting these habits grow can cause further issues in your professional life. For example, if you're avoiding your responsibilities, you may come into conflict with supervisors and coworkers on a regular basis. Procrastination can also make you feel like you're drowning and increase your stress levels.
If you're experiencing this phenomenon, it's important to find a solution quickly to avoid further trouble. If you're trying to find any excuse to avoid your work, the job may not be the right path for you. In these cases, explore your options. It may also be the case that you simply need a break to rest and reset. If you started with a genuine passion for your work, try this option before quitting.
3. You Can't Leave Your Job at the Office
One of the biggest complaints among professionals is a lack of work-life balance. This is a common issue in our fast-paced world, and many individuals never really "leave" the office. Some people thrive on the adrenaline and love their all-consuming jobs. Despite this, these workaholics are definitely in the minority, and most of us need plenty of time to see friends, be with family, and enjoy our hobbies.
If you find yourself with no time for your life outside of work, it might be time to find a new career (2). Many people use their jobs as a way to support the people and things that they love. If your job doesn't allow any free time, it can become pretty pointless. Try looking for a job that has definite hours and that can be left at the office. You may even look for a part-time job or reduced hours if you don't need the money. Remember to keep your ultimate life goals in mind and ensure that your career helps you meet them.
4. You're Feeling Apathetic
Apathy is such a common feeling that we may not even know when we're experiencing it. This is the general lack of care that many people feel toward their job after doing it for several years. If you simply don't care about what you're doing, there's a good chance that your talents would be better spent elsewhere. Maybe you're not doing what you thought you would be, or maybe your talents aren't being used to their full potential. If that's the case, start shopping around for careers that inspire you.
It's helpful to remember that all jobs involve some degree of boredom and not everything is fun all the time. Try to determine whether you're simply going through a rough patch before you part ways with your company. If you realize that you never have a sense of purpose at work and you're always in a malaise, fire up those job searches.
5. You're Not Using Your Talents
Each one of us has a certain set of gifts and talents that make us uniquely valuable. For many people, using these talents is what gives a sense of satisfaction in their work. If you're in a job that doesn't require your unique gifts, it's easy to feel replaceable and unsatisfied.
If you feel that your unique abilities are under-utilized in your place of work, consider looking for a career path that will allow you to use them more fully. Before you explore your options, try to make your talents as marketable as possible. This might include building a portfolio or investing in professional development courses.
6. There's No Room To Grow
Many of us go into our careers expecting high-tempo growth and advancement. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen in the way we expect. Many professionals feel that they've hit a plateau and have no further room for promotion or growth. If you're experiencing a lack of opportunity, your long-term career goals may be better served in a different line of work.
Before you split with your current job, be sure to determine your own culpability. It's important to examine whether you're putting in enough effort to make yourself a viable candidate for promotion. If you've tried your best and nothing's happening, it may be best to look for different jobs. This is especially true if you've been promised promotions that never materialized.
7. Your Expectations Haven't Been Met
Unfortunately, some promoters give job candidates unrealistic expectations in order to attract them to a job. This might include suggesting high salaries or ample advancement opportunities that simply aren't on the table. If you've been disappointed in your company's ability to fulfill its promises, it's probably best to look for a new job that offers you the opportunities you need. You can use these experiences to make you a savvier job candidate and avoid unrealistic promises in the future.
8. Your Salary Doesn't Seem Worth It
Although many professionals choose their jobs based on salary, this often isn't enough to provide long-term satisfaction in a position. Even if you make a fantastic salary, it can be hard to find joy in a job that doesn't give you time to relax or spend any of your hard-earned money.
If you're at a point where your salary doesn't seem like enough to justify your duties or stress level, It's time to put in some new applications. It might be helpful to make your salary a secondary consideration, as opposed to your quality of life and work-life balance. Who knows? You may even find a great job that gives you the pay you want while allowing you to pursue your passions in your free time.
9. Your Goals Are Accomplished
All of us have ambitions, and these goals can provide a serious sense of motivation and satisfaction while they last. At a certain point, you may find that you've accomplished all of your career goals and discover that your job seems like a dead end. If you're an ambitious person who needs to set and achieve goals, this can make your work much less enjoyable and lead you into a state of ambivalence.
If this happens, it's important to find yourself a new challenge as quickly as possible. Try to think about your original goals and what they meant to you. You can then figure out what their logical extension is and look for new heights to achieve. You may even find that it's time to change paths completely and enter a new field. This will give you all the excitement of learning new things and setting fresh goals.
10. You Dread the Workday
If you're in the right job, there should be at least a few things that you look forward to at work. This could be something as simple as seeing your friends or accomplishing a new goal. If you find that you dread going to work on a regular basis, it's probably a sign that you're in the wrong job. Before you go searching for new horizons, try to analyze your feelings and make sure they're not due to one or two bad days. We all have those, and they can be overcome.
However, if you go to sleep and wake up with a cloud over your head, try looking for another career. It's especially important to find a job where you can make friends. These individuals can help you overcome bad days and will make every workday fun, even if your tasks aren't that exciting.
11. You Fantasize About Changing Careers
We've all had days where we imagine ourselves on top of the world, living our best lives. These daydreams might just be idle thoughts, or they could signal a need for change. If you find that you're often fantasizing about finding a new job, maybe it's time to get one. Before you quit, be sure to think about your overall level of work satisfaction. If you generally like your job and it doesn't stress you out, maybe it was just a passing thought.
It's also helpful to analyze how realistic your daydreams are. If you're a human resources veteran fantasizing about being on the next mission to the International Space Station, it's probably not that serious. However, if you simply want more time for friends and family or a different work environment, see what's out there.
12. Your Workplace Is Toxic
Unfortunately, toxic work environments are a challenge faced by many professionals. If you find yourself in frequent conflict with supervisors or coworkers, your company may have an unhealthy culture. Consider looking around for new jobs while smoothing things over at your current workplace, This can make it easier to transition and get a positive recommendation. When looking for new careers, be sure to find businesses that match your personal values. This can help you avoid conflict in the future.
There you have it, 12 common signs that it's time to explore new career options. If you're experiencing any or all of these symptoms, consider making a change to a career that suits you better. At Concorde, we offer students a path into a rewarding health care career. Working as a nurse, dental hygienist, phlebotomist, or massage therapist may provide the satisfaction of knowing that you're making a difference in the lives of others. If you're interested in our programs, feel free to head over to our admissions page and explore your options.
- "6 Signs That It's Time To Leave Your Job," Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2022/02/6-signs-its-time-to-leave-your-job
- "5 Ways To Tell If You Need a Career Change," Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2013/06/20/5-ways-to-tell-if-you-need-a-career-change/?sh=2542bfd22bfa
Are You College Ready?
How you think and what you love about life might give you important insights about your college readiness. Our NEW College Readiness Quiz provides instant feedback with your results. Click the button to get started!