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How to know if it's time to change your career?

Should I stay or should I go? Is it time to quit my job? How do I know if I won’t find myself in the same situation in a new job? Is it me, or is it them? What if I’m just being spoiled?

These are questions that many of us have asked ourselves at one point or another.

The thing is, most people wait until things get really uncomfortable and then feel they must leave their job or organisation ASAP. This puts them at a disadvantage because chances are they’ll end up choosing an “exit job” rather than the right next career step.

If you’re reading this, and these questions are floating in your head, I encourage you not to wait till it’s “too late”. Be proactive and take the opportunity to evaluate your workplace and your role and how it aligns with your overall life and career vision.

With that in mind, here are some signs that might prompt you to consider changing your career:

  • Your heart is calling you to pivot. Maybe your passion and/or purpose is elsewhere. Maybe, there’s a dream that's been lying dormant, ready to be born. Maybe, you realise that what you thought will make you happy is no longer a priority. Maybe, you want to bring more of yourself into the world, to feel more expressed in your career. Maybe, you have a hobby, a passion project, a creative venture or a side hustle you want to notch up.

  • You’ve outgrown your work. Maybe your work, once a perfect fit with your talents and goals, has become stagnant. You’ve been evolving, but your work stayed the same. You no longer feel professionally challenged in your current job. You feel like you don’t have more to contribute, learn or develop. There is a lack of opportunities in your current role or industry.

  • Your work is taking a toll on your health and relationships. You’ve been feeling low for a while now and it’s impacting other areas of your life, like your health and relationships. It might be due to work pressure, long hours, a toxic culture, misalignment with your own personal values or poor management. Either way, your working conditions aren’t conducive to your health and wellbeing.

  • Your circumstances have changed. Maybe you've had a baby, or your kids have started school, and you now need more flexible working hours. Perhaps you’re relocating due to your partner's work and you want to work remotely. Life transitions, whatever they are, change us and the way we see the world. Sometimes that means your work is no longer a fit for you.

It’s common to think that a change in career requires a change of profession. But sometimes small changes are actually what’s needed to solve ‘career problems’. Within most of the signs mentioned above, apart from the first, you always have the option to try and improve (aka redesign) your current job. This is a great place to start because a) you have nothing to lose, and b) even if you decide it’s time to move on, it might take a few months until you're ready to leap, so why not improve your situation in the meantime? I hope this gave you some food for thought as to whether or not it’s time for you to create change in your career, whether it’s redesigning your current one or moving on. Here are some blog posts I’ve written that might be helpful if…

Career changes are often gut-driven. It’s that lingering feeling that you just have to make a change. However, it’s important to highlight the difference between an impulsive decision and an intuitive decision. Impulsiveness is when you react emotionally and immediately to an external trigger (like handing in your notice after receiving an annoying email from your direct manager). Intuition/gut instinct, on the other hand, is an insight or truth you receive after having processed the situation at a subconscious level. Even when it feels spontaneous, such as with an aha moment, it's always a result of subconscious processing. Listen to your body’s signals. If you often find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night thinking about changing your career, trust your gut. It might be telling you that it's time for a change. One final piece of advice -- if you decide to leave your job, don't burn bridges. Quitting your job, for any reason, whether it’s because you’re deeply unhappy, or you’re embarking on a new opportunity, requires planning and sensitivity. Love, Naama


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