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When to Change Careers

6 Jan 2020
Iain Atkinson

when to change careers

Knowing when to change careers is a tricky one. You have to find a balance between the comfort of stoicism, the thrill of ambition, and the risk of potentially starting from scratch. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. One of the most important factors to consider when making a life-changing decision such as this is your mental health and wellbeing – not just for changing your career, but also the potential consequences of staying where you are. Here are some signs that, for the sake of your mental health, it might be time to consider a new career.

Your Personal Life Is Suffering

It’s normal for work to seep into your personal life to a small degree, but if you find it’s happening often it may be a symptom of a bigger issue. Irritability, trouble sleeping, mood swings; all of these can be indicative of something in your life needing to change. Once you rule out the usual suspects (diet, exercise and so on) it’s important to look at what other stressors could be affecting your life and take action to remedy them.

Striking a work-life balance is tough and finding an employer that actively encourages you to find that balance is a wonderful thing. If you don’t feel like you’re getting the support you need to ensure your mental wellbeing is taken care it’s time to find a new job – everybody deserves that, at the very least, in the workplace.

You’re Coasting

Everyone has good days and bad days, busy and quiet ones, productive and unproductive; such is the cycle of working life. If you find that more often than not you’re coasting through each day without putting in much effort (or being asked to) and that you’re not being pushed to develop your skills, you might find yourself succumbing to complacency which in turn can lead to a deterioration in mental health.

The majority of careers require the continual development of skills and the accumulation of relevant experience to evolve and advance – if you’re not getting this from your career and instead you’re doing the bare minimum to get by, you may find yourself in a position where advancing in your current career becomes impossible. If you’ve hit a ceiling where you are, or if you’re not being given the opportunities to progress, it’s time to move on.

You Don’t Care About Results

In an ideal world you’ll be as enthusiastic and gung-ho about your work targets on your last day as you are on your first, but let’s be realistic – that’s not going to be the case. There will always be a natural drop-off in enthusiasm for a job before you leave it otherwise there’s a good chance you wouldn’t be leaving in the first place. However, if you find that your targets and KPIs aren’t motivating you anymore, or if you simply don’t care about hitting them or not, you should consider that it may be time to make a change.

Much like the complacency mentioned above, not caring is an insidious feeling that can creep into your life without you noticing and, once it takes hold, can be incredibly difficult to shake off. Not only can apathy lead to unwelcome mental health implications, there’s also the very real possibility that your employer will notice and take matters into their own hands. It’s better to be looking for a new job having left your old one voluntarily rather than out of necessity. Nip your apathy in the bud and jump before you’re pushed. Hopefully your next move will take you somewhere that motivates you to do your best for the foreseeable future.

You’re Procrastinating Too Much

We’ve all done it. Whatever your poison – Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube – everyone has spent time at work doing anything other than actually working. That’s not to say that procrastination doesn’t have its benefits, but if you find yourself procrastinating more than you’re working it can have adverse effects on your mental health and your professional wellbeing. As the linked article points out; chronic procrastinators live life by cutting deadlines close and using that as motivation, but wider goals, whether they’re personal or professional deadlines, don’t have deadlines and only come to fruition through hard work and dedication. If your job doesn’t inspire you to work hard you may find that you stop reaching the life goals you’d like to be reaching and end up in a perpetual spiral of procrastination and underachieving.

Your mental health is precious and, at times, can be fragile – it’s important to ensure that your working life does not take an adverse toll on your wellbeing; check out our other blogs on wellness at work below. If you feel like it’s time for a fresh start and something new, get in touch today.

Other blogs in our wellness series include:

How to deal with workplace stress

Advice from musicians about happiness at work

How you can, as an employer or employee, change the psychology of the workplace for the better

New year resolutions for your business

How to motivate your team through the January blues

When is it time to change careers?


Iain Atkinson
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