Heather McKenzie has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum & Instruction, both from The University of Texas at Austin. She later returned to graduate school for a Master of Science in Counseling from North Carolina State University and is currently a licensed therapist in North Carolina, USA. She enjoys writing and training on a range of topics, including effective leadership strategies, decision making, self-development, and living intentionally.
7 Reasons you need a career change
Most people don’t like change and switching jobs ranks as one of the most stressful experiences we can have. We often avoid making job or career changes until it becomes painfully clear that the time has come or our employers have made the decision for us. If you don’t feel satisfied or happy at work and consistently wish you were doing something else, somewhere else, it’s time to listen up. Here are the top seven reasons you need a career change:
- Your co-workers. It’s reasonable to expect that some of your co-workers will have personalities and interests that may not mesh well with yours. Minor differences can be addressed and often resolved with effective communication and compromise. Unfortunately, co-workers can frustrate us in bigger ways by not pulling their weight, making repeated errors with no effort to change, being intolerant or discriminatory, refusing to collaborate, or even overtly sabotaging your efforts. If you find yourself consistently struggling with co-worker interactions and communication, and it is impacting your productivity and attitude, it may be time to move on.
- Your boss. Sometimes the people in charge simply don’t know how to lead a team. Maybe your boss is an ineffective communicator and leader. He/she may avoid confrontation, pick favorites, ridicule you publicly, make significant mistakes, drop the ball frequently, or simply be steering the team in a bad direction. If daily interactions with your current boss leaves you feeling unsupported, directionless, belittled, or worried about your future, start searching for your next boss now.
- Your opportunities. Perhaps you have been in the same position for some time and have not been given any opportunities to further develop your skills. Or maybe your ideas and feedback aren’t heard despite your efforts to move the business forward. Maybe you have been passed up for promotions or you can see that there is no next position in the organisation for you. Whatever the scenario, if there is no opportunity for advancement or you’ve been offered an opportunity from the outside, remember that good opportunities shouldn’t be passed up.
- Your salary. If your job expectations and duties have increased, but your pay has not, that’s a warning sign, especially if the company seems to be financially stable and those profits have not been shared with you. If you otherwise like your job, advocate for yourself before you cut and run. Perhaps your boss just needs a nudge, but if you get a no and your colleagues in other companies are making more than you for the same type of work, it’s time to stop settling for less than you deserve and move onto something better.
- Your responsibilities. Ideally, your job should allow you to spend the bulk of your time doing tasks that you are skilled and successful at and about 20% of your time doing tasks that challenge and stretch you. If you’re stuck doing things you don’t like or are simply not in your areas of strength for the bulk of your day, the job is likely not a good fit. Some research suggests that we master skills on the job after about 3 years, which can be a good time to look for new ways to grow within your current position or look elsewhere.
- Your feelings. If you wake up feeling frustrated, lethargic, or passionless about your job, something needs to change. Our feelings are like gauges in a vehicle, indicating whether the system is running well or in need of a tune-up. If the enthusiasm and optimism you had when you first started your job has faded into dread and avoidance of tasks, you running on empty. The same holds true if you are consistently stressed or unhappy, impatient or negative, and feelings of anxiety accompany thoughts of work. If so, it’s time to repair your work situation.
- Your balance. If you feel out of balance with the things that matter most in your life, a career change may be the key. Consider your priorities: health, family, friends, community, travel, hobbies, etc. If these things are being neglected and shortchanged or work makes it hard for you to enjoy them, you are out of balance. Consider how a change in jobs could create the shift in balance you desire.
Career changes are typically anxiety-provoking and time-consuming. It’s understandable why so many would rather suffer through an unsatisfying job than to start all over again. Luckily, the stress of job hunting is worth it when the prize at the end is a new job that allows you to avoid these seven factors of job dissatisfaction.