I believe our careers should be our agenda. Not someone else’s.
I believe our careers should excite and fulfil us. Even on the off days.
I believe our careers should contribute to our life. Not compromise it.
Perhaps this is a bit of a fanciful or wishful thinking? But it shouldn’t be. Why shouldn’t we have our careers be all these things? Every single day.
So ok: perhaps every single day is a bit of a stretch. But when the odd off day turns into weeks, months and careers, it might be time for a change.
How do we spot these pivotal career moments? Here are 12 tell-tale signs to reflect on:
1. Awaiting Fridays, dreading Sundays
If you’re just holding out for Fridays. And then a day or so later, spending the majority of Sunday stressing over Monday morning and the working week ahead, you’ve not got the balance you want. Reflect on the compromise this is pointing to – and consider a change.
2. I’ll be happy when …
If you catch yourself saying “I’ll be happy when …”, have this be a red flag. Because it’s telling you you’re missing something right now. What is it? Why don’t you have it now? And what can you do to introduce it today? (And by the way “I’ll be happy when …” is not just a problem confined to work.)
3. Deteriorating health
Dissatisfaction, frustration and stress from work can take a real toll on your physical and emotional wellbeing. If you’re losing sleep, lacking energy, taking sick days and paying repeat visits to the doc, you’re due a change. There are few more costly compromises than your health.
4. You’re complaining more than you used to
If you (or those around you) have noticed your conversations are featuring lots of complaints about work, take stock. Perhaps you just like to joke about that stuff – but heed the warning. Our language often represents the true internal working model we’ve built for ourselves.
5. You’re developing some bad habits
Some bad behaviours are fairly stand-out: like excessive drinking or over-eating. But others might be more subtle: getting in late, leaving early, not preparing for meetings, taking longer-than-usual to respond to email. Notice what bad and ill-serving habits are creeping in – and consider the cause.
6. You’re feeling disconnected
Connection is a strong need for us all – and in all environments. And at work, we sometimes don’t notice how reliant we can be on a positive network around us – until we don’t have it. If you start to feel a disconnect with those around you or as if you’re invisible, consider a move.
7. You’re not seeing any recognition
Everyone is busy, including your leadership. But if you’re routinely not seeing recognition, you should be asking whether this is the place for you to invest such effort and commitment.
8. The accomplishments of others depress you
If you find yourself resenting your co-workers or friends achievements rather than being happy for them, you’re probably in the wrong career. Achievements become threats and that tells us we’re not content in ourselves or our work.
9. Career and purpose have become disconnected
Our purpose gives deeper meaning to everything we do – including work. When we lose sight of our higher purpose and no longer see it expressed through our work, it’s time to recalibrate. Imagine how great it’ll be to answer the question “what do you do?” with heartfelt enthusiasm and belief. That’s your barometer.
10. You’re compromising on your values
When your day-to-day starts to conflict with your deepest-held values, it’s time to take a hard look at where you are and where you want to be.
11. There’s little left to learn
A career is an evolution. When we stop learning, we stop evolving; and our career becomes (just) work. If you can do your job inside-out, back-to-front and all in your sleep, perhaps it’s time to find a new challenge.
12. You’re yearning for the next big challenge
If you’re already asking “what’s next?”, it sounds like you’re ready to move on to the next thing. Don’t wait until you’re completely frustrated in your current role. Looking for new work when you’re enjoying your current job helps you make some fantastic and inspired career choices.
SOURCE: Dan Beverly
Dan Beverly is a leadership and performance coach, helping high-achieving professional women embrace the pivotal career moments.