Life Editorial

Signs That You May Need a Career Change

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Perhaps you’ve spent the last couple decades building a career in your chosen field, complete with a robust professional network, impressive resume, and knockout list of accomplishments. But when you consider forging into the decades ahead, you’re feeling an overwhelming sense of underwhelm, and there might even be some rumblings of dread.

If this sounds familiar, you’re far from alone. A survey done last year by Pew Research Center found that at least 30 percent of respondents viewed their work as “just a job to get them by.” Also, career shifts have become something of a given. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, baby boomers will have approximately 11 jobs by the time they turn 46.  

Whether you’re considering a shift within your current industry or changing up your professional track altogether, here are some signs that it may be time for a shift:

1.      You’re Tired, But Wired

 Being bored is exhausting. Although there’s some evidence suggesting brief periods of boredom can spur creative thought, feeling mentally lackluster on the daily can begin to sap your energy. When that happens, it tends to take more to lift you up and stay motivated. Cue the venti-sized coffee habit.

At the same time, it’s possible that you could begin feeling resentful or even angry, according to career expert Phyllis Korkki. That can happen especially if there’s some career goal that you’re not pursuing. If you’re restless, easily frustrated, or simply feel depleted, it may be a good time to take a look at your career as a factor.

2.      You Get Colds More Often

When stress comes into play, it can often have a major impact on your immune system. This association was first established in the early 1980s, according to the American Psychological Institute. An immunologist noted that stress in research animals often led to higher rates of infection.

Since then, hundreds of studies have verified that connection. Stress raises levels of the hormone cortisol—responsible for the “fight or flight” response—and that suppresses the immune system. In short bursts, this isn’t a problem, but when you’re chronically stressed, leaving cortisol elevated, it’s tough for your immune system to fight off all those nasty cold and flu viruses.

3.      You’re Just Not Feeling Inspired

Maybe it happens when you realize that your favorite part of any project is being done with it. Or when you read through the workshop descriptions at an industry conference and none of them sounds appealing.

Worst of all, you may not feel engaged by anything, not just work. The activities that used to be thrilling now seem like one more “to-do” list item. At a fundamental level, you just feel disconnected and checked out. If sentiments like these begin to happen more and more, consider them red flags.

4.      You Dread Going on Social Media

Let’s face it, political firefights are enough of a reason to take time off from social media these days. But if you’re avoiding the scroll because of seeing your friends and family looking happy (especially if they’re showcasing their work) that’s an indication that things may be off.

Career expert Erica Craig notes that envy is a natural emotion, but being constantly jealous should prompt self-reflection about why; particularly if you haven’t felt bothered by seeing others succeed before.

5.      You Can Make Steps Toward Career Change

Fortunately, “starting over” rarely means starting from scratch. Whatever skills you’ve accumulated in your career are often very portable, even in a completely new industry. Attributes like strategic thinking, creativity, ability to collaborate, and excellent communication chops can always translate to a new profession.

Although it’s challenging to take the first step on a new career path (which may feel more like a leap of faith) many people have discovered that a new start was just what they needed to feel inspired and passionate about their work.

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