4 Signs It’s Time to Choose a New Career Path
Deciding on a new career path is a difficult choice to make. You likely spent years learning the skills necessary to enter the career, developing your talents within it, and building your professional network. Now you’re thinking about putting all that aside and starting new. To make it worse, our minds are averse to abandoning sunk costs.
However, there are signs that choosing a new career is the right path. Here are four of them.
1. Apathetic autopilot
You go to work every day and you’re just…not there. Sure, everyone loses that nervous excitement from when they first began their careers, but this is different. Your drive to progress has shut down.
You don’t care about performing at your highest level, you don’t look for career advancements, and you don’t bother networking within your field. You’ve tried to reinvigorate your sense of purpose before, but nothing worked so you don’t bother anymore. Ennui has set in, and it’s here to stay.
Sound familiar? It may be time to exorcise yourself from your current career path.
2. Downed by the sickness
Your job is a constant source of stress. Day in and day out, you’re overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and pressure. It’s gotten so bad that these emotions are impacting your health. Your shoulders slouch with a tense, knotted muscles; your stomach churns with uneasiness; and headaches have become a part of your afternoon routine.
These could be the result of your specific work environment. A negative coworker could be making your life miserable. Your company culture could promote nasty competition, or maybe your boss makes your job more difficult than it needs to be. Problems specific to the work environment could be alleviated by less drastic solutions—an office transfer for example.
However, if you notice a pattern of negative coworkers, poor working environments, and counterproductive company cultures from job to job, that could be a sign the career itself fosters such conditions. You may want to consider a career hop.
3. You spend more time on your side gigs
Marketing expert Dorie Clark believes everyone should develop potential income streams through side projects. She argues this provides two advantages: first, your entrepreneurial experimentation makes your a more valuable employee; second, it offers you a revenue pivot should you lose your day job.
But what if you start favoring your side gig more than your primary career? You spend all your free time researching it, every new associate added to your professional network comes from it, and you set aside opportunities to advance your primary career so you can work on the other.
In that case, you may want to consider making your side gig your primary career.
4. You foresee career stagnation
You may love what you’re doing, but that doesn’t mean you should stick with it. The job market has evolved unpredictably over the last few decades, and it will continue to do so. As things change, you may find your career no longer in demand.
Signs that this may be the case: you explore new opportunities but find that few exist; you go from job to job, but none connect into a career; your pay, benefits, and advancement stay static despite having to take on more work; and your industry continues to lose ground to a cutting-edge competitor.
If you find yourself in a stagnating career, it may be time to change your path to one that goes somewhere.
Is it time to choose a new career path?
It’s worth noting that experiencing one of these signs shouldn’t trigger an immediate career hop. We all go through times when we’re on autopilot, feel apathetic, and don’t have the energy to develop further. These are normal, if unpleasant, aspects of any career.
However, if you’ve felt one or more of these signs intensely for a while or are noticing them as part of a pattern, it’s worthwhile to take some time to stop and reconsider your options. You may find a new career path is exactly what you need to turn things around.