Are You Due for a New Career? 6 Signs It’s Time to Change Careers

By Alyanna Silvestre
Published July 20, 2022

When you’ve been in the same field or industry for quite a while, it’s easy to feel bored and crave something more. We’re only human. It’s understandable – predictable, even – that at some point in our professional life, there will come a day when we’ll welcome the idea of pursuing something new, be it a different job or an entirely different career. And for each thought comes different reasons, too.

To feel a strong desire for change in our day-to-day work life can stem from one’s need to progress in life and better themselves. However, that’s not always the case. In other scenarios, this feeling arises on days when we’re a little more exhausted than usual, or when we greet the morning sun with a sigh, a grunt or a question of whether we really have to get up early to go to work, or when all we want to do and all that there’s left for us to manage at the end of the day is to flop on our beds and nothing more. Sounds familiar? We know, and we know that as it comes and goes every now and then, each time is nowhere more manageable to deal with than the last. So, it can really get you thinking about whether these feelings are just part of a typical mood swing or literal warning flags you need to pay attention to.

With that last statement, we circle back to the two kinds of change that can really shake things up for your professional life and possibly end your restlessness or desire for something better – a job change and a career change. Which is it for you? Well, if you’re here, probably feeling unsure, here are some common signs that you need a career change that you should definitely not take for granted, and three other ways to find out if you just badly need to find a better company.

When your heart is no longer in it and work feels like a drag before, during, and after each day.

A clear sign that something’s not quite right between you and the job you do is when the enthusiasm and contentment are gone, you no longer like performing your job duties, and you often operate on autopilot.

I know it’s not really uncommon for a professional to dislike their job or feel drained or exhausted (both mentally and physically) because of it every once in a while, and, let’s be real, no one expects anyone to be in love with their work all day, every day. We’ve all had days when we just don’t have enough energy. With that, this can probably be considered a sign to take a rest for some. However, when work feels like a drag all the time and you end up feeling indifferent or apathetic, doing just the bare minimum with clocking out as your sole driver to get through the day, it’s not something you set aside.

Annoyance about a particular task, dislike towards a specific process, tool or maybe a colleague who embodies your pet peeve, and the occasional lack of interest in the core of your job and the company itself should be just that – occasional. When you find the entirety of your job, organization, or career boring, then it really is time for a change.

“What if I just need a new environment to work in for me to love what I do again,” you ask? Well, that pushes us to the next point.

When you feel like you’re the wrong piece of the puzzle.

Okay, so that last possible question earlier does make a point. If that’s the case, you’ll have to go and test the waters. Make changes. Either realign your morals and alter your approach to work, or quit your job, find another in the same field, and hope everything goes well. If it does go north, then good for you! However, in case after you’ve been through all those changes and initiatives, you still feel like you’re in the wrong place and even end up feeling like you’re the problem or that you’re actually not up for the job, you’re probably due for a bigger change.

When you're good at what you do, but it's not exactly what you want to be doing.

Just because you're pretty good at something doesn't mean you'll do it for a living. So, it's not unusual that some professionals don't exactly love their job, and it may only be tolerable at a certain point.

One can be in the tech industry, but marketing is the one they truly desire to work on. A professional may have a full-time, high-paying job, but he has an entrepreneurial itch and all he wants to do is start a business. Maybe someone out there used to love what they do but fell out of it along the way due to it being a routine. It varies, and it's pretty disheartening and can even manifest as restlessness, dissatisfaction, and irritability. 

Don't overthink too much; we naturally want to align our personal interests with our careers to feel fulfilled. Instead, think of it this way: if you find yourself frequently thinking about other paths you could have taken or roles you prefer to fill and you're secured enough or in a position where you can take big risks, take a chance. We're not getting any younger, so you might as well find something that'll have you looking forward to each morning and even Mondays minus the Sunday night dreads. If you let this go and throw it under the rug, it may become harder to change careers as you further master your job in a field you don't even like.

When you have stagnated professionally.

Some employees outgrow their current positions. When that happens, it’s easy to feel stuck and to overthink not living up to nor getting closer to your full potential. 

When you feel like you’ve achieved all the possible growth in your career and have something more to offer but are pushed into a rut, the first thing to do, of course, is to look for solutions within. Speaking with your supervisor or manager is the best way to find out if there are opportunities for you to grow your professional self within the company. That can either be in the form of new projects or tasks that are not the same as the usual ones you handle or a chance to explore the company’s other departments or business units. In case that’s not possible, next up on the to-do list is to start looking for that opportunity elsewhere. It may be in a different company or an entirely different career where you can learn more, take on new challenges, and expand your skills and capabilities.

When you resort to bad habits just to relieve the discomfort of doing your job.

When we’re not really happy with our job (or any certain area of our life) and it becomes too stressful that it begins to take a toll on our mental health, we find ways to cope with the discomfort and, more often than not, that leads some professionals to develop bad habits.

If you resort to bad habits, whether smoking cigarettes, excessive online shopping, spending most of your time scrolling through social media, or watching trashy TV, just to escape from reality, it’s time to take how you’re feeling seriously.

When your body is literally giving in.

Migraines, chronic back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, difficulty concentrating, and ulcers. Look familiar? If you’re often sick and tend to experience these on a regular basis, with the main trigger being work stress, you may not be up for the stress that comes with your career, so you might want to back off a little. If your career does not allow a bit of slacking off, it may be time to switch to one with less stress.

Not quite convinced? A career change might not be what you’re looking for. So, here are three solid signs that only a job change could be your cup of tea.

 • When your concerns are more about your employer, environment, work arrangements, or colleagues rather than your job duties.

 • When you have been given additional responsibility without a pay raise.

 • When you like your job, but your values do not align with that of the company and you no longer believe in the company like you used to.

Now, use this information as you will. Just remember that both changes come with risks, so don’t rush and allow yourself to thoroughly think about what your next move will be.