For those who know exactly what they want to do, the challenge is finding how to get there. But for most of us, the dream is, well, a little hazy. Perhaps you love a lot of things or maybe you’re torn between passion and money. Whatever the scenario, more often than not you continue down the path you’re on, hoping for that light bulb moment. But according to career coach, Alison Elissa Cardy, you may be waiting for a lifetime.
“If I were to distil my five years of working as a career coach into one simple lesson, it would be this: The knowledge of your best career path will not magically drop into your brain one day in a blazing flash of insight. Instead, it’s something you will discover incrementally, over time, through a process of trial and error.”
If you think you’re in the wrong job, heading down an entirely wrong work path or you’re just not sure, don’t panic. Cardy says it’s often the errors we make with our career choices that prove most informative. So how do we spot when we’ve made a mistake? Here are five telltale signals.
1. You wake up with dread on a Monday morning
We all hate Mondays. It’s like coming back from a holiday every single week. But if you find yourself waking up with a foreboding sense of doom and getting out of bed feels next to impossible, it may be time to make a change.
First, assess how long it’s been going on for…do you just need a holiday? Taking a break to relax and reset is important. But if every day has been a bad day for months and you’ve tried to shift your perspective or improve what you can, to no avail; it might be the job, not you, that’s the problem.
2. You spend your out of work hours talking about other possibilities
It’s healthy to daydream but if you find yourself among friends, consistently directing the conversation back to work—focusing on the negatives or contemplating other opportunities—it could be a sign that you’re in the wrong career.
3. Your dissatisfaction is creeping into your personal life
Are you getting snappy with your loved ones or finding yourself stressed and negative more often than not? It’s a telltale sign that you’re not happy with your work life. When we’re not fulfilling our true purpose or our job doesn’t align with our values it can significantly impact our sense of self and how we interact with the world around us. If this is the case, it may be time to reassess your goals and discover what’s truly important to you.
4. You lack passion and apathy
Is your heart just not in it? Do you find yourself drained by every task or downright bored?
We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again, you spend a large portion of your lifetime at work so it’s important to like what you do. In fact, it’s even possible to love it and the key is following your passion. It’s cliché but true: do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
5. You’re jealous of other people’s jobs
We often think of jealousy as something to be avoided but according to Cardy, it can be a key directional signal. Do you find yourself turning nasty when a particular friend starts talking about their career? Or perhaps there’s someone you seek out at dinner parties to question about their job.
Being jealous of someone else’s work life can be an indication that you’re not on track. But before you hand in your resignation letter, work out exactly what triggers your jealousy. Is it the job itself or just an aspect? Would you love to work from home or have a job where you’re outdoors? Or perhaps you really want to help people. Assess where the issue is and then make a change.