It is very important for all professionals to have a basic understanding of career warning signs. Feelings that need to be utterly understood or simply whether they are simply feelings of dissatisfaction, or whether they are indicative of being in a wrong career path
Besides having so many unanswered job questions, employees get muddled in career decisions which they sometime choose to ignore, because they aren’t sure what the next steps should be.
While each of the points shared below could be a sign that you’re not on the right career path, it is very crucial to understand the root cause of why you’re experiencing each of these signs.
Professional wisdom is knowing the difference between when your job truly isn’t meeting your expectations, and when you’re just having a bad day or week in the office that dull your career sparkle.”
If you’re experiencing any one of these signs, make sure you ask yourself “why?” Are you just going through a particularly grueling time at work, or are these symptoms part of a bigger problem?:
1. You focus on “extras” at work to get you through the day.
If you’re always looking ahead to a future bonus, a conference, a milestone anniversary, or a project team trip, it says something about your happiness on a day-to-day basis. Work perks aren’t the only reason to hold down a job.
While, yes, it is important to see your job in the long term, if you’re focusing on the big picture because the actual work drives you insane, that’s an issue.
2. Negativity is the hallmark of your expression.
When you address every work situation with a negative attitude and tone and try to convince yourself that you are ‘just playing devil’s advocate.’ Once you’ve reached this point, you’re using negativity as an excuse to be passive aggressive… and others know it.”
If you’re negative about all of your work, you might find that your productivity is slipping, too.
Negativity can be one of the main reasons you’re having trouble finding motivation to complete daily and sometimes simple tasks at work.
3. You can’t just stop talking about work, and you constantly complain about your job after you’ve left the office.
If your dissatisfaction is all your friends and spouse hear about, it’s abundantly clear that your situation isn’t working. Honestly, there isn’t a way to spin this in a positive light.
If you’re complaining about something that you could work out by confronting the problem at work, then it’s probably just a circumstantial issue. But if you’re complaining because you dislike the work, or because you’re working hard but don’t actually have an end goal, that points to an overarching career issue.
4. You are holding back your best.
When you no longer derive a measure of pride in your work and all you do is just get the work done, then something is wrong.
Be honest: are you phoning it in at work? Be even more honest: why are you half-assing it?
Are you overworked, or do you feel like your work doesn’t deserve all of your attention because you dislike the nature of your current career?
5. You burn out almost immediately from every chore.
It’s much easier to burn out doing work you hate than completing tasks you’re excited about. This doesn’t mean you can’t burn out while working at your dream job.
But if your exhaustion stems from the fact that your career fails to inspire you, it might be time to figure out what would inspire you and energize you enough to want to complete your work.
6. You have an inflated expectations about your role yet there is so little room for achieving the goal.
It is easy to fall in this trap especially when getting into a new career which could have been over-sold to you during the interview only to realize later that the reality does not meet your expectations.
If you love your industry, and could see yourself one day doing your boss’s job, then it may be worth it to stick it out. But if you realize that the trajectory unfolding in front of you isn’t appealing, it’s better to speak up sooner rather than later.
7. You don’t feel a greater sense of purpose at your job.
Ask yourself these three questions: do you believe in the work you do? Do you believe in the mission of your company? Does your chosen industry’s contribution to the world excite you?
Your job doesn’t necessarily have to seem purposeful to your family, your friends, or even to the public. But you must be able to see the long-term purpose in your career path.
8. You are always thinking of career escape options but you rarely chase after any.
It is never easy when you realize you are on the wrong career path. If you’ve already realized it, and have put yourself through a rigorous test to ensure you aren’t just having a string of bad days, or allowing outside factors to influence your work self, then it’s time to switch into action mode.
Don’t let your fear of the unknown keep you from moving forward.
Do your job and do it well, but realize that you now also have a part-time job: looking for a new opportunity.”
9. You stay at your job just for the security it offers.
Why are you still holding on to the job you rarely get pride from?
Are afraid of explaining career gaps in your resume? Are you worried about missing the health insurance benefits?
Do you really see your current job forming part of your career in the long run?
While it is a wise move to keeping your job for security until you find another, sticking to the “hated job” for the sole reason of the security benefits offered is a sure bad signs.
10. You constantly worry about what will come next because you know you don’t want to follow your current career trajectory.
Before you make any moves, it is very important to stop and breathe. Career transitions should be taken deliberately and slowly.
Write down what you love about your job and what you hate. Write down where you excel and what you would like to work on.
If you feel comfortable, have a conversation with your boss. This could be the first conversation of your new work life, or the conversation that confirms for you that you are on the wrong career path.
Ask your boss for feedback. If you don’t get it, (gently) demand it.
If you are unable to get direction or feedback from your boss, you may even want to consider talking to a trusted HR partner, or a mentor/coach. Then, look at opportunities within your own company that you might be better suited for.
If that’s a dead end, or your career change requires a more dramatic shift, start to focus on searching for a new opportunity. Take it seriously. Understand where you want to be, and try to hone in on opportunities that will get you closer to your goal.
Remember that your dream job may not be your next job, but you need to make sure the next job you take aligns with your dream job. And try not to take a job out of emotional desperation, or you’ll just be looking again in six months.”