Months ago, something odd, and kind of unexpected, happened. And it changed my entire life: I decided I didn’t want to follow the job I studied for, the job I was prepared for, the job I was told to take. I decided to change my career.
For some of you reading this, you possibly can’t even imagine changing your career, even if you’re extremely dissatisfied with it. Even if you were thinking about an alternative career, you would probably respond to yourself by telling yourself things like, “I have grad school loans to pay” or “I have a family to take care of.” These are all valid reasons not to leave your job.
But maybe you want to change careers because you are like me: afraid of what life would look like if you followed what others told you was right versus what you’re truly passionate about.
Fortunately for you, the new year gives us an opportunity to reassess what’s working for us and what’s not in all areas of our lives. As you look at your current job, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to stay on track or change course with this new year.
If you’re sitting in your chair wondering whether you should quit your job in exchange for doing what you love, here are a few signs you should leave what you’re doing in the new year.
1. You believe you’re stuck.
Well, imagine this: you won’t feel stuck while doing what you love. When you’re taking action on things that are actually a part of a life-vision you’re truly passionate about, you keep moving, sometimes without even thinking too much about it, as you are filled with motivation and a sense of striving. There is a sense of forward movement, and it feels organic.
But if you feel stuck, like you’re life isn’t moving or going anywhere, you’re not invested in the vision you’re working for. If you feel stuck, you’re probably not where you’re supposed to be.
2. You burn out easily.
Burnout is what happens when you give too much of yourself to something that provides little in return. If you’re burning out from your job, you’re pouring too much of yourself into something that doesn’t satisfy you, or at least, doesn’t meet your expectations like you want it to.
But relationships should be reciprocal, whether it’s a relationship with a partner, family member, or your job. It’s true that you can burn out from a job you love, but when you’re doing work you love, it offers more return than a job you hate. You won’t feel depleted, and like you’re dipping into your emergency energy reserves, when you are being nourished by a career that feeds your passions and interests.
3. You count your money as a way to comfort yourself.
When you’re overly concerned about the dollars you’re making, something is wrong. Even though we get jobs for the money, the true mark of job satisfaction is if we don’t obsess over how much we make. We only do that when we’re not happy.
I have friends who don’t know how much money they make. I’m not saying you should adopt this oblivious attitude toward your income, but like my friends, money shouldn’t be your only comfort with a job. The reason my friends aren’t aware of their money is because they would do the work they’re doing even if they weren’t getting paid for it. To them, getting paid is a bonus. The same attitude is possible for you as well.
4. You feel defeated.
In other words, you feel you’re only working this job because you’ve convinced yourself there’s no other option. Well, that’s simply not true. In a world that’s getting increasingly bigger by the minute, there is always opportunity. You may even try repeating the phrase to yourself: there is always opportunity.
The only reason you believe there isn’t opportunity is because you’re still holding onto ideas that aren’t serving your growth. Perhaps these ideas include the outdated ideals of past generations, things your friends or family have said that have influenced you, the societal pressure we always feel, on some level, that a secure job should be valued above all else. And more.
But there are plenty of opportunities for you, and for everyone around you. You just have to believe that for yourself and you will be able to seek out opportunities; or you may even find your shift in perspective allows you to see opportunities where you hadn’t previously realized they existed.
Take advantage of the interesting people you know and the places you’ve been. Honor your unique personality, talents and skills, and realize that you have something to bring to the world. You are not defeated!
5. You’re not ready to give up.
You might feel leaving your career is a form of “giving up” or quitting. But the more likely reason you’re considering leaving your career is because you’ve given up on your dream a long time ago. What I mean is this: if you’re going to leave your career, make sure you’re not ready to give up this time. The change will take even more work, more perseverance, and more late nights than you may currently be experiencing. But think about it: you’ll be working to make your dream become a reality.
There are days I still feel uncomfortable with changing my path. But then I remembered that the only way to utilize what makes me unique was to change course and live differently, against the norm of what people were telling me.
It’s possible for you to do the same. It’s possible for you to change careers. You just have to decide when. There is no such thing as “too late” — there are always opportunities to make changes. However, don’t use that reassurance as an excuse or defense mechanism against making a difficult choice. By the same token, the time is now. Make your change and there will be no looking back.