Prior generations would often remain in the same position with the same employer for decades. Now that mindset is now considered a relic of the past. Most people in today’s workforce are looking for more from their careers–and they’re willing to make a drastic change to achieve their goals. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 6.2 million workers transferred from one occupational group to another between 2015 and 2016. What’s more, the average person changes jobs an average of 12 times during his or her career, spending approximately four years or so in a given position. Among jobs held by people in their 20s and 30s, most stay for less than three years.
Of course, people change jobs and career paths for any number of reasons. The opportunity to work for a company with a stellar reputation or a position that pays more (either in salary or in benefits) can often entice even satisfied workers away from their current employers. But there are other factors that can indicate when it’s time to make a professional change. And given that New York City is currently undergoing its largest and longest job expansion since World War II, there’s never been a better time to embark on a new professional journey.
In many cases, each of us can recognize that we need to make some moves but aren’t sure how to go about making this sizeable shift in a way that will maximize success. If any of the following signs sound familiar, you’ll want to tap into the resources for career counseling NYC residents rely on to take the next important step in your professional life.
You don’t feel passionate about your work
Apathy and boredom are strong indicators that something is wrong. Whether you feel disconnected from the reason that you initially pursued this line of work or you’ve simply checked out due to ongoing feelings of discouragement or isolation, you need to pay attention to what your mind is trying to tell you. You deserve to thrive in a career that ignites your passions and that motivates you to exceed even your own expectations. If you previously felt creatively stimulated and engaged but now feel like you’re on autopilot and daydream of being anywhere else but at your desk, it’s time to re-evaluate your personal values and determine what would get you excited about your work.
You feel completely burned out at your job
Employee burnout is on the rise. A recent Gallup poll found that a staggering 67 percent of workers surveyed said they felt burned out on the job sometimes, very often, or always. There are many contributing factors that can lead to burnout, including high workloads, low compensation, lack of support, poor work/life balance, and unfair treatment. If you’re experiencing low energy, low productivity, and low confidence levels, there’s a good chance you’re running on empty. And if you’ve ever experienced the “Sunday Night Blues” or are simply unable to turn off your “work brain,” it’s likely that burnout is playing a role in your life. Some professions are more prone to burnout than others, but anyone can experience these negative (and sometimes dangerous) symptoms. In some cases, it’s possible that a complete career change may be the only way to alleviate the effects of burnout.
Your loved ones have noticed negative changes
Sometimes, it takes a good friend or a close family member to point out how your job may be negatively affecting your life. When others tell you that your behavior has undergone a drastic change and that they no longer recognize you due to your negative attitude or how stressed you seem, you may need to take a step back and examine the toll your career is taking. It’s also possible that you could be self-medicating in some way in order to cope. That could mean drinking a bit too much, even on weeknights, or trying to dull your unhappiness by watching several hours of television at night instead of going to the gym, cooking dinner, or spending time doing something you love. We may adopt these habits without fully understanding the root cause. But if someone close to you has expressed concerns about your recent behavior and about your well-being, give those concerns some deep thought and assess whether your career dissatisfaction could be to blame.
You’re experiencing physical strain and pain
Whether your job requires an excessive amount of physical labor or you simply aren’t taking care of your body’s needs, you may start to notice that you feel physically drained, achy, and generally in poor health. Although one-half of Americans admit to experiencing lower back pain each year, you shouldn’t dismiss these physical symptoms. In some cases, they may indicate that your job is literally causing your body to break down. If you’re frequently developing new aches and pains or coming down with colds more than you used to, it’s possible that the emotional or physical stress of your job is manifesting in noticeable injuries and illnesses. You may need to cut back on your work hours or change careers completely in order to feel like yourself again.
You’re jealous of other people and their jobs
When a close friend tells you about her new promotion or a former coworker lands an amazing new job, you’d like to be able to respond with happiness and support. But if all you feel is jealousy and regret, that’s a sign that you’re pretty unhappy with your own career. Feeling jealous about a colleague’s incredible workplace culture or an acquaintance’s flexible work hours can actually be helpful; this can inform you about what you’d like to have as part of your professional experience. Instead of stewing in your negative feelings, use those twinges of jealousy as motivation to find a better career fit for yourself.
If you don’t feel valued in your current position or spend your time wishing you could afford to quit, it’s time to take charge of your destiny and examine what you really want out of your professional path. It’s not always easy to admit when we need to make a shift, but as Sheryl Crow says: “a change would do you good.”