Dread going to work each morning? Feel like you're having a career identity crisis? You’re not alone.
Although Canadian statistical agencies don't measure lifetime careers, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released a 2012 report that shows the average person born between 1957 and 1964 held 11.3 jobs between the ages of 18 and 46.
There's plenty of reasons why people leap from one job to another; mismatched expectations, new interests and declining industries are just a few of the driving forces that can make a major impact on a person’s decision to leave their chosen profession.
Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide, gave us the lowdown on how to recognize when you need to make a career change and what steps to take once you’ve made the big decision. But he also makes it clear that for people in the early stages of their career, there’s bound to be some rough times ahead.
“It may be that in order to get where you want to be, you have to do some dirty work, roll up your sleeves and do things that maybe you don’t necessarily want to be doing, something kind of boring,” Cohen says. “Early on, it may just be that we have to demonstrate that we are committed, that we’re hard-working, that we’re loyal.”
If it’s been a few years, and you’re still feeling dissatisfied, then it’s time to worry. Cohen provides us with six signs that will help you answer the question “Should I change my job?”
1. You’re bored on the job
Feeling resentful about a particular assignment? Has the sentence, “It’s not part of my job,” come out of your mouth? Time to pack up your belongings. Being bored at work is never a good sign.
“You’re easily distracted. You’re bored. You spend a lot of time online, and explain it by saying it’s part of your job to stay current,” Cohen says. “People who are passionate about their work, it’s almost as if the day flies by … It feels endless when there’s some dissatisfaction with the work you’re doing.”
2. Your attitude sucks
"It’s probably not a good sign if you’re known at work as 'negative Nancy.' Your attitude says a lot about your job satisfaction," Cohen says.
If all you do outside of work is “complain to everyone about your job, and everyone is saying, ‘If you don’t like it, just quit,' then it’s time to get out," he advises.
More importantly, if people at work are noticing your bad attitude, it's a sign you should consider your options.
3. Your company is failing
Not everyone gets to work for their dream company right out of school, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for working somewhere you really don't like. Some major red flags to watch out for? Repeated headcount cuts and constantly changing strategies are two big problems that could leave you scrambling to find a new job, Cohen warns.
4. You don't get along with coworkers
If you’re working with dishonest or conniving coworkers, feel that your peers aren’t sharing information with you, or are a victim of the “mean boy, mean girl syndrome,” it’s time to make an exit.
And if you’re the only one sticking around, you may want to consider why. “If your coworkers are exiting en mass, if they’re rushing to leave, then you might want to pay attention to why they’re scurrying,” Cohen says. “What’s going on? Maybe they’re on to something about the company.”
5. Your health is suffering
It’s not just your behaviour and mood that can be affected by hating your job; your health can take a beating too. “If we feel stressed, sometimes we lose sleep,” Cohen explains. “We overeat, so there’s weight gain. We may be depressed, unwilling to exercise or engage in other activities that typically give us joy.”
Remember, your job shouldn’t be your whole life. Your health comes first, and if your career is negatively affecting it, then find a working environment that helps you thrive rather than fall behind.
6. Your outside life is affected
Got a husband or wife at home? How about kids? Well, they can be affected by your job dissatisfaction too.
“In life outside, often what happens is you don’t feel passionate or motivated,” Cohen says. “You just want to sit at home. You want to avoid people, or you want to engage in too much play.”
“If the work that you’re doing is completely unrelated to what you envision for yourself, there’s going to be disconnect. You’re going to feel a sense of purposelessness, like ‘What’s the point?” he says.
Sound like you? Don’t freak out just yet. You can make a career change with the right attitude. Cohen suggests taking time to think through what it is you want to do before you “pull the trigger.”
He says you should ask yourself, “What is my goal, what do I want to do next, do I want to use what I’ve been doing as the basis for the next move, or am I dissatisfied with the work I’m doing, and if so, why?”
From there, you’re going to need to make a game plan, update your resume and let potential employers know why you’re qualified. If that seems like a lot of extra work, that’s because it is. Schedule time on the weekends or utilize commuting time to research, Cohen suggests. Your happiness is worth the effort.
The wewomen team believes in you. Stop wasting time complaining about your job and make a positive change in your life. You have all the tools you need right here.
Are you satisfied with your job? Hating the cubicle life? Tweet us @wewomenCA!