22 June 2012

Does your job make you want to shoot yourself in the face?

Lots of people dislike their work, but you despise yours. You sit there at your desk, counting down the minutes to each break – 60 minutes till morning break, 180 minutes till lunch, and 365 minutes till you can go home.

But maybe what you need isn’t just that next temporary respite. Maybe you need to take a career break to figure out what it is you want to do with the rest of your life.

Don’t worry, you’re not the first one who isn’t sure about their career… and you won’t be the last. But how do you know when it’s time to pursue a different line of work? If you look for these telltale signs, you’ll know the time is now.

1.  Your Mind Wanders like a Nomad

Everyone has those days when they just can’t get their head in the game. That’s only human. We can’t all be perfect all the time. Sometimes we just have to sign onto Facebook for five minutes to take our mind off of things.

But if you find yourself signing on 15 times per day when you know you have a lot of work to get done, you might have a problem. And worse, if you actually realise you are stealing the company’s time and don’t even care, then you’re definitely ready to move on to another career.

Why? Because you’re also stealing your time by working a career you don’t like.

2. The Dreaded Monday Blues are Unbearable

If your Monday Blues are bleeding back into your Sundays… and even Saturdays, it might be time to take a long look at your chosen career path. Weekends should be for relaxing, adventuring, or both. Whatever it is you most like to do.

But if you find that your weekends are being destroyed by Monday dread, it can only mean that the thing you have planned for Monday is something you hate. And that thing is your career.

This all sounds terrible, right? Well, I haven’t even started to talk about the actual day of Monday yet. Yuck!

Friday is an eternity away. You can’t even concentrate because you know you have this five day death march ahead of you. You feel sick.

Maybe you’ll take Friday off to shorten the week. Or even better, you’ll take Tuesday off to… well… avoid coming to work tomorrow. That’s when you know it’s time to think seriously about a career change.

3.  You Feel Your Values No Longer Match Those of the Company

This is a big one. How can a person truly care about their job if they don’t share their company’s values? Anyone can just show up and push pencils around all day to get a paycheck, but that doesn’t do you or your employer any good.

In order to be at your most productive both professionally and personally, it is vital that you believe in the goal you are working to achieve. Maybe your values changed over your years at the company? Maybe the company’s values changed after a shift in management? Either way, if you realise that your values don’t match those of your employers’, it’s time to move on.

4. Your Brain Follows Your 9 to 5 Work Schedule

You may leave the office at five o’clock every day, but if you like what you do, turning your brain off is not that easy. People who love their careers are hungry to learn.

They find themselves looking up information about their industry on their computer at home, and before they know it they’ve been reading articles for an hour. When they’re in the shower, they can’t help but let their mind run wild about things that might improve their company.

If you find that you shut the work part of your brain off the second you step outside the office, you might want to turn it back on and figure out if you’ve chosen the right career path for yourself.

5. You Hang With the Haters

Every office has that surly group of people that do nothing but complain. When you first started at your job, you avoided these people at all costs.

You didn’t care about office gossip. You didn’t wine about the boss needing everyone to stay an extra hour to work on an important project. But now you’ve found yourself going out to lunch with this group of haters every day just so you can complain about these little, insignificant things.

So when you find that you’ve become a permanent part of that same group you used to avoid, it’s probably time for you wave goodbye to them and hello to a new career.



About the Author:

Patrick Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading providers of business management courses and human resources courses. When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging about career and business. Patrick is also a photography enthusiast and is currently running a photography studio in the Philippines. You can find him on Google+.