How to Tell if it’s Time to Change Careers

Options to Consider for Optimum Job Satisfaction

If the thought of returning to work in the new year gives anyone the dry heaves or shakes, without the benefit of the night before, it’s probably time to consider options for a new career path.

Burnout and boredom from the present workload are both stress-inducing; at least considering and researching other options gives a sense of doing something and taking control.

Is it Burn Out, Boredom, or Something Else?

The first step is to decide if it is the job, the employee, or something else that is causing those knots in the stomach and that panic feeling upon arriving at work. Are the work situation and environment a healthy one or one filled with put-downs and anxiety?

Is the job challenging or just stress-inducing? Is the workload OK but the co-workers not? Is the stress from home life seeping into the job stress area and causing more harm?

It might be easier to decide what it is not. Eliminate external factors first. Loss or conflict within the family may be the cause of added stress at the workplace rather than the workload or career itself.

If the work itself is still comforting or provides a sense of accomplishment, then most likely, a career change is NOT in order. Consider getting help for those problems outside of work.

Burnout and boredom both present their own challenges. Burnout is the body and mind’s way of protecting itself; too much is going on, and shutdown is the mode of choice (unconsciously).

The line of work may be too much for one now: for example, being a Paramedic may be great at first, but the hours and emotional roller coaster of trying to save lives will eventually catch up to these workers.

Many move into other healthcare-related areas to utilize their experience without the day-to-day stress.

Boredom means the worker is not putting forth his best effort. While not all jobs can be exhilarating at all times, see if there are ways to combat feelings of lethargy with new projects or a new attitude.

Or start thinking about the jobs that do raise anticipation levels.

How to Change Careers

If it seems that it really is the choice of path that’s giving the headache and stress, it might be time to consider other options. First, get a sense of personal abilities and attributes. Write down talents, proven abilities through projects or experience, soft skills, technical skills, etc.

Yes, sort of like a resume, but for personal use only. Now, write down your interests – personal, what is expected from a job, etc. Put that sheet away; it will be used later.

Research Other Careers

This is not an all-out, get the details and facts kind of research. The idea is to learn about other possibilities.

If the standard advice of “think about what you like doing and find a job that does that” is followed, all the seeker will get is what is already known. To find out the unknown is the point of this research, and it can be overwhelming.

Start by reading a list of job possibilities. The easiest way is to click on any job site and read from the section lists or groupings of jobs. Get a feel for what is out there; stop being limited to current knowledge and expand on choices.

If something sounds interesting, write it down. Get some idea of what the responsibilities are by reading the job ads for that choice. Now compare that with the sheet of personal attributes.

It’s surprising how many jobs cross job sectors and need similar talents; all that might be needed is the upgrading of specific or technical skills for that career path.

Bottom Line

The first step is to decide if a career change is what is best for the situation. Then research to find out what’s available and what is of interest.

Compare to a current set of abilities and see what would need to be upgraded to make the switch. Most important is to feel in control of the situation rather than be controlled.