Do any of the following statements describe you? If so, it may be time to reconsider your career path.
1. You would switch careers in a heartbeat if money wasn’t a factor. If you would switch careers if you knew that you would make enough money, then something inside you knows that you’re meant to be doing something else. There is something I like to call the “yeah but” syndrome. Here’s what I mean. “Would I like to have a more fulfilling job?” “Yeah but I won’t make as much money as I make now.” “Yeah but people will think I’m crazy for leaving such a good job.” “Yeah but it would be too hard to start all over.” “Yeah but people will think I’m being irresponsible and selfish.” Try to catch yourself when you’re doing this. If you can stop yourself right after the “yeah” you will be limiting the ways in which your fears and doubts have control over you and what is possible for you. This is the first step to preventing your assumptions and fears from stopping you in your tracks every time.
2. You live for the weekends. Do you spend your days miserable at work, counting down the minutes until quitting time, daydreaming about winning the lottery? I don’t blame you. Your precious time is too valuable to be spent doing something that has no meaning and brings little enjoyment to your life. Imagine how different your life would be if you loved your work. It would feel as if you had added forty hours to every week!
3. You feel like a different person when you’re at work. Is the person that people see at work a good and accurate representation of who you really are? Would people be shocked to know what you’re really like when you’re not at work? Do you feel enthused when you answer the question: What do you do? For people who love their jobs, their work is an extension of who they are and what they stand for. If you’re in the wrong job however, it may say nothing about you as a person and merely be a means to paying the bills. Begin to work towards a job that is the perfect fit to your personality.
4. You actually look forward to getting a root canal because it gets you out of work. If you truly can’t stand spending 40 plus hours per week at your job and you relish every opportunity to be away from your job then you are being sent a clear signal. You are clearly not expressing your real self and contributing to the world in the manner in which you were intended to. Let these recurring feelings and thoughts of escaping work be reminders that you have bigger better things to do with your life.
5. You are experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches, tension, lethargy, and/or anxiety as a result of your work. These symptoms may be your body’s way of telling you that you need to make some changes in your life. When we have stopped listening to our intuition in favor of doing what we think we’re “supposed” to do, this may be the only way for our true selves to speak to us. Our unhappiness with our circumstances begins to manifest itself into various physical ailments. When we refuse to listen to the hunches and clues given to us by our intuition, our bodies speak louder in order to steer us in the right direction. I can attest to this because when I was in the wrong job I suffered from chronic headaches and once I began to steer myself in the right direction they subsided and eventually disappeared. Start learning to listen to your body and your feelings without worrying what other people will think.
6. When you go to social gatherings, the last thing you want to talk to people about is work. When you walk out that door at quitting time do you make every effort to “leave work at work”? What sort of work would have you so excited that you would be eager to discuss what you’re working on with everyone you come across? When you’re excited about what you’re working – you never really leave your work. It is part of you and it is something that you feel that you must share with the world. It’s a rewarding and fulfilling state to be in. You’ll never be able to leave work at work again and you’ll love it!
7. You would switch careers in a heartbeat if you only knew what you wanted to do instead. You know you’re not happy with your current career situation but you’re not sure what to do about it. Once you figure out what your ideal career situation is, you will gain momentum and confidence in order to transition to a much better work situation. Simply having the yearning for a different job, even if you don’t know exactly what you want, is a signal to you that you need to do some self-discovery. I highly recommend that you begin to consider your interests, background, skills, and talents to consider your options. You’ll be one step closer to being one of those people who loves their jobs and gains personal satisfaction from their work.
Take note of how much time you are spending doing things that are not personally fulfilling, that aren’t deserving of your precious time, skills, and resources, and that aren’t an expression of who you are and what you have to offer the world. Then take note of how much of your time is spent recovering and recuperating from stress and how much of a toll being in an unfulfilling job is taking on your body and your health. Coming to this kind of realization can be difficult but it can also be the beginning of important journey that you know you must take. And I truly hope that you will.
Consider this your call to action. Being committed to finding and doing the work that you’re meant to be doing is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure a happy and fulfilling life for you and your family. And I say you and your family because I know how important your loved ones are to you and that sometimes you feel that you must stay right where you are because it the practical thing to do and they are counting on you. But really, being committed to being practical and to remaining in an unhappy career situation is not doing anybody any good. Imagine how much more high quality time you could spend with your loved ones if you weren’t always stressed out and drained by your job. And imagine how inspired they will be when you demonstrate the courage of living a meaningful life and pursuing your genuine interests.
Michelle Baca is a Career Satisfaction Expert and Founder of Convergence Coaching. She coaches her clients to reach personal and professional fulfillment. Her holistic coaching style helps people transform their lives as well as their careers. Her mission is to help others discover the career and personal paths that will lead to happier, more productive lives. You may visit www.convergencecoach.com for information and resources on how to transition to a less stressful and more fulfilling career.