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3 Small Steps to Help You Decide If You Should Change Careers

Career Counselling Hamilton

You probably know that there is a link between job satisfaction and physical and mental health. But did you know that job happiness (or lack of it) is one of the strongest indicators of your health in midlife? Your level of satisfaction at work while in your 20s and 30s very much carries over into your later years.

There’s a significant chunk of folks out there who should pay attention to this because it’s estimated that as many as 35% of working folks feel “meh” or worse about their work. Some studies report this statistic as being over twice that high.

Here are 3 Small Steps to Help You Decide If You Should Change Careers:

Look for these signs, if you see one or more it’s time to consider your options.

1. You’re bored.

If you aren’t being challenged and each day is a repeat of one uninspired day after another, it's absolutely imperative to start looking at what you can do to makes things more interesting.

You're at work after all, not in jail (unless you work in one).

Now there are a couple of things I'd like to say about being bored at work. There's a difference between having some tasks or responsibilities as part of your job that don't make you super excited and being chronically bored at work. If your skills are not being utilized and you feel like you want more of a challenge, then absolutely find ways to make a change. It's important to grow. However, if you can connect what it is you're doing now to a longer term goal, ie: you're "paying" your dues by interning or if you've just started a new job, then it might be worth putting in the time and sucking it up. I'm a staunch advocate for loving what you do but even the best fitting jobs can have tasks required that you don't LOVE.

I love my job immensely but I don't LOVE some of the administrative aspects, for example. So, I try to make even those tasks more enjoyable by enjoying a fancy coffee, listening to a podcast, or music while I take care of business. If I don't complete the "boring" tasks, I don't get to enjoy the parts of the work that give me life. So, I manage my mind around this. I don't go into these tasks thinking "man, I hate writing up clients notes" or "yuck, I hate doing my taxes". I think something more along the lines of "I want to take care of these tasks so I can keep serving my clients whom I love". I also create systems to help me spend as little time completing these types of tasks as possible. :) I also have the option of looking at "outsourcing" some aspects of my business (with a Virtual Assistant etc.) if that fits better for me at some point.

Being intentional is I think what's important here. If you're feeling unchallenged by the majority of your tasks and responsibilities, look around for projects or initiatives in and outside of work that will provide change and more of a challenge. If you're feeling stuck here, check out 3 Small Steps to Figure Out What Interests You.

2. You don’t feel appreciated, you aren’t paid enough, and you feel overworked.

If you detest coming into the office and live your life like the classic Loverboy song “Working for the weekend” that’s a red flag. So is getting hit hard with dread starting around Sunday afternoon at the thought of returning to work on Monday.

If you are feeling miserable, please know it’s never too late to make a change. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. What I mean by "change" can range from shifting how you're approaching your work to actually coming up with a plan to do something different. Remember, the grass really isn't always greener. It's worth taking a good hard look at your attitude and perspective, as well as, the "stories" you are telling yourself about how "things would be better if only.....(I made more money, I had a job like X, I had a government job etc.). You can absolutely feel better about what you do without changing anything outside of yourself. This is a big part of what I do with people. Before leaving a job because you think you aren't appreciated, want to make more money, or feel overworked it's important to be sure you are working on the real problem. For instance, taking a different job or taking any job based on only money--however nice it might sound might not be the answer you're looking for. Exchanging one employer for another might not result in you feeling more appreciated and feeling overworked could also be a factor of things such as burnout, lack of systems, or a mindset issue. Try not to throw the baby out with the bath water here. Inside issues aren't usually solved by getting yourself a different view.

Once you've done the work to ensure you're running towards something better and not merely trying to escape something that's probably going to keep following you, then you can plan a more productive career or job change. Then it might be time to think about what else you might like to do and start talking to people who are doing it. Start here, start gathering some information to prepare to start experimenting in preparation for a possible pivot.

3. You feel a pull to try something different.

You might feel like your job is actually okay—pretty good even. Sometimes, you might not be bored or super unhappy but you are pulled to do something else. Perhaps it’s something you would find more meaningful like a calling or a passion.

This is when things get interesting! You might dive right in or stop dead in your tracks feeling overcome by fear, self-doubt, or money concerns.

Of course, you have valid concerns. You worry that you will fail but you also need to consider the other side of the coin. What if you thrive? Get all your fears out on paper and consider the positives and possibilities as well as the potential downside. Also consider if you are content to still be in the same work situation in one-year or five-years. Does that thought make you feel miserable or happy?

Consider the long-term consequences of things such as work-related stress to your health and well-being. Don’t suffer. Our livelihood shouldn’t be filling us with despair but making us come alive.

Want to put some pep back into your career, job search, or business? Learn about private coaching options offered by Start With Small to get the help you need.

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