Career changes are not uncommon. Many people change careers up to twelve times in their life. Some outliers are content working at the same company for 30+ years, but that is increasingly becoming less popular. I hear stories daily about those that are midlife and fear they won’t be able to find a new career. Starting over is uncomfortable, but it is entirely worth it if it proves to be the right move.
The question is: how do you know it’s time to make a career change?
As a career coach supporting professionals 35 and up, I have found that many find themself feeling misaligned and unmotivated in careers. It’s a confusing and scary experience for many. The excitement for your work has sizzled, and the idea of finding that spark again feels scary, overwhelming, and perhaps even impossible.
There are many signs that you may be ready for a new career. Below are five of the most common signs my clients experience.
1 – You Don’t Feel Like You Are Making an Impact at Work
How often do you feel you are just someone taking up space at the office? That your work feels insignificant and not impactful? Supporting work that doesn’t feel impactful is one of the most common signs I hear. Many of us start our “dream jobs” with high expectations and are let down.
On the flip side, maybe you feel like you had the opportunity to create change. But it was enough of an impact to make you want to stay. The outlook for your job does not appear to head down the same trail. Things are changing; your work is changing, and your responsibilities are not feeling as great. Permission granted to say it’s time to move on and leave your mark on something else.
2 – Your Job is Affecting Your Personal Life
How we do anything is how we do everything. When your work is off, your marriage, health, finances, etc., are likely off. You’ve probably heard the saying, “leave work at work,” but when you no longer feel aligned in your work, you cannot help but bring it home. It shows in your relationships, mental and physical health, sleep, and more. If you’re miserable at work, you’re probably miserable at home too, and a career change may be needed to rattle things up.
3 – You Dream About a New Career
If you’re sitting at your desk daydreaming about doing something else, you may have run your course with your current career. Do you notice your energy shifts when you think of working for a different company or for a mission you are passionate about? It’s okay to want to have work that is impactful and purposeful to you.
Whether you have spent 20 years or one year at your current company, you may feel like you have given it all you can and are no longer making an impact. As a career coach, I talk to professionals daily who dream of feeling something more out of their careers. And eight out of ten times, they just don’t know what that is. I say to stop dreaming and start doing; let’s take action to make it a reality!
4 – You’re Complacent About Work, and You Didn’t Use to Be
Do you find yourself walking into the office a little later than usual? And then you are watching the clock throughout the day? I’m guessing it wasn’t always that way. When you first began working at your job, you probably showed up early, stayed late, and eagerly tackled all challenges head-on. You had planned to go places with the company and felt like you were finally in your dream job.
Somewhere along the way, you and your job grew apart. You no longer care about it and dread Mondays with a debilitating passion. Complacency is dangerous. We can spend years being complacent at work before we take action. Recognizing that you feel neutral, or as I say, meh, in your career is the first step to making a change for the better.
5 – You Want a Job You Can Mentally Leave at the End of the Day
If you’re finding it difficult to “turn it off” and live a balanced lifestyle, it may be a red flag that your job is not working for you anymore. The jobs that don’t fulfill us are often the ones we can’t escape when the workday is over. If you are not present with your family, lay in bed thinking about work, and tend to lack energy because you give it all to your job, it may be time for a new career.
What To Do?
As a mid-life career coach, I help those who relate to any of the signs listed above. Many want to do more and don’t feel like their job brings them the joy and satisfaction it once did. You may have gone into a job 20 years ago with the plan to retire there, but you are starting to feel the slow leak of your energy. Your cup is no longer full. You’re going through the motions and looking for a way out.
Sometimes we go through phases and can find joy in our jobs again. You may get a promotion or job title change that rekindles the fire you used to have. But if not, a career change could be in your next life stage.
Moving on after many hardworking years can be difficult. I offer a complimentary consult to help professionals clarify the best decision for them and their careers. Don’t go into a career change alone; schedule your free clarity call today!