Ten Signs That You Are Ready for a New Job or Career
You've been in your job for a few years. You get a decent paycheck and your benefits are helpful. But you wonder if something's missing. You try to tell yourself you should be happy you have such a good job, but some days you have to face how unhappy you are at work.
Are you settling? Are you making do in a job that really isn't a very good fit for you?
Read this list of ten clues to determine how many of these statements reflect how you feel about your work.
1) You get depressed every time you think of going back to work after a weekend, a long weekend, or a vacation.
The closer Monday morning gets, the more a sense of dread comes over you. You feel a pit in your stomach that you can't ignore. You wish there was something, anything, you could do to avoid going to work.
2) You spend more time recovering from work than having fun.
After you leave work each day it takes you several hours to feel like yourself again. You feel so tired all you can think about is sinking into your couch and zoning out in front of your television. You may have difficulty cooking a decent meal for dinner because you are so worn out from your stressful day at work. Over time you realize you rarely have the energy to head out after work with friends. Instead you rely on a glass of wine, a carton of ice cream, or a bowl of popcorn, and a DVD movie as your outlet for fun.
3) You watch the clock all day long.
You look at the clock on your computer, your cell phone, the wall of your office. The time creeps by, slowly, so very slowly. How often do you check the time each hour? How frequently do you check the clock in the last two hours of your work day? When time moves so slowly it's a good sign you aren't enjoying your work any more.
4) You spend too much time checking your personal email rather than working.
There are lots of ways to entertain yourself when you don't feel like working--checking your personal email, sending text messages, surfing the web, scanning opportunities on your favorite job board. How much time do you spend on non-work activities during a typical workday?
5) You take frequent mental health days.
Some days you wake up and just know you can't face a day at work. What do you do? Do you call in sick? Plan a vacation day? Fabricate a doctor appointment? Leave work early? Come up with something you need to do for your children? An occasional mental health day is a good strategy to take care of yourself. If you find you are taking more and more mental health days, you may want to take a look at why you aren't happy at work.
6) You have a resignation letter drafted and waiting.
On really bad days, do you spend time tweaking your resignation letter? Does it relieve some of your feelings of dread to imagine how you'll feel when you submit your letter or to visualize how you'll celebrate your new found freedom? Do you have a time line for when you want to resign? If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to start looking at your options so that you have something in the works when you do submit your resignation letter.
7) You complain about your job to anyone who listens.
Who knows you don't like your job? A better question may be: Who doesn't know? Do your closest friends know how frustrated you are at work? What about your immediate family members? How about your coworkers and colleagues? Do you talk with your hair stylist, manicurist or chiropractor about how unhappy you are? Are any of these people tired of hearing you complain about your work situation? Do they wish you'd get on with your life already? Rather than just talking about what's not working for you, it may be time to do some personal soul searching to determine your next move.
8) You are bored silly at work.
The tasks you do at work don't engage you any more. You've been there, done that. You can do the work in your sleep...some days you feel like you are! While you try to get your work done, you dream of having work that's fulfilling, meaningful, and engaging. You don't know what that will be, but you hope something else is out there that you can do.
9) You are consistently late for work.
No matter how hard you try, you seem to show up late for work. It's like pulling teeth to get yourself out of your house and into your car to get to work. You get distracted by the simplest tasks at home, trying to do just one more thing before you head into work. You may also find that you are showing up late for appointments, meetings, and phone calls. Your tendency to show up late may also manifest in your inability to meet deadlines at work. Although you may chalk your tardiness up to laziness or procrastination, I encourage you to see it as a sign that you don't want to be doing what you feel you must do. Time to look at your options!
10) You hope to win the lottery to solve your life's problems.
When all looks bleak, it's common to look for a miracle to get yourself out of the bind you are in. For some it's daydreaming about winning the lottery so that they no longer need a job to fulfill their monetary needs. Others may dream about what they'll do when they recieve an inheritance, finding a spouse who is stable financially, or winning big at Vegas. Whatever your dream, it's likely you are searching for confirmation that your time in this job is limited.
If you recognize any of these signs in your own life, it's time to make a commitment to yourself to explore your work options. Don't waste the days of your life in a job you don't like. Even if you can't make a move today, you can start exploring your options today. As soon as you envision what you want to do, the path that will take you to your future work will become clearer and clearer.
Carol McClelland, PhD, is the author of Your Dream Career For Dummies and the creator of the Career Clarity Program, an online program that helps you find your dream career and make it real. She’s helped thousands of people find a career that’s a great fit both personally and professionally. To receive a free copy of her Dream Career Workbook, visit: http://www.careerclarityprogram.com and request the workbook in the left navigation bar.