Many people daydream about a change in jobs now and again, but here are 5 ways to determine if it might be time to finally take the leap:
Another day at the office
- Make a list of all the things you like about your job. No matter how unhappy my career coaching clients say they are in their current job, one of the first things I have them do is list the things that they enjoy, even if it’s a very short list and they can only honestly say, “the free coffee in the break room.” If their list of things they like is solely related to having a great boss, great benefits, and/or good co-workers rather than the actual work itself, that is very telling. Loving their work but not loving the corporate mission or its leadership is also important to figure out. Make an honest list and then keep that list in mind if you decide to go job-hunting, so you can recognize the things you like.
- How do you feel on Sundays? If you find yourself already dreading Monday’s return-to- work on Sundays, it might be time to rethink what you are doing. One of my clients told me he started to feel that dread on Saturdays, because he knew he only had one more day before he had to return to a job he didn’t like. The ultimate goal is to be happy about what you get to do each day, and that your weekends are a time to truly relax and renew yourself. Keep in mind that it’s normal to have some ambivalence about jumping into the work week after an amazing weekend of fun, friends and family, but that’s different than the experience of actual dread.
- You frequently browse jobs on places like Indeed and Linked In. I get this one a lot from clients. They aren’t exactly sure what they’re looking for but they just want to “see what else is out there.” The problem is that if you don’t first clarify what you want, you end up with the “different job; same crap” problem and you’re back to job searching soon after. If you take the time to sort out what you really desire in your next job, you will be happy you took that time in the long run.
- You keep hoping things will get better. Sometimes, waiting things out is the smart thing to do. For instance, if you love your job overall, aside from one or two things, such as an overwhelming project, bad boss or annoying co-worker, it makes sense to give things a chance. Projects end, co-workers move on, and bad bosses may (hopefully) get fired. The key is to figure out where that tipping point is and your overall satisfaction. Did the project that ended get replaced by something equally undesirable; are you working too many hours per week despite being told things would “slow down;” or does your bad boss seem like they are settling in for the long haul? If the “waiting it out” is to the point that you feel you’re in danger of an ulcer or drinking problem, it might be time to leave.
- Your unhappiness is impacting your significant relationships. Many of my clients say they had considered getting a career coach at some point in the past due to work dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, too often people wait until they are really miserable in the jobs, and only look for a coach when either they feel they can’t take it anymore, or their work stress is impacting the quality of their relationships with their spouse, friends, and family. It takes a toll on your relationships with loved ones if you are constantly irritable or complaining about your job. Ideally, you want to have a positive work/life balance, where you have plenty of energy and attention to give to the people you care about outside of work hours.
Make A Positive Change
Think about the number of hours you spend each week at your job (2,080 per year for full-time work!), and how many hours that adds up to over your lifetime. Life is too short to waste on something you aren’t passionate about, so if you are unhappy in your current job, do something about it. Many people don’t need a coach if they already know what they want to do and how to get there, but others need more guidance or desire career assessments to determine their next path. Whatever you do, decide you want to be happy doing it, and get started!
Kristi Helvig, Ph.D., C.P.C., is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified professional coach who works with people all over the world via Skype, or locally in her Denver office. If you would like to have a free consultation to determine if career coaching is right for you, email Kristi at Kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.