contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer
There are many reasons you may be thinking of a new career. Perhaps you’ve recently separated from the Armed Forces and are still learning what work suits you best. Perhaps you’ve overcome the resume gaps that accompany a military lifestyle and you’re ready to go for your dream career. Maybe you just don’t like your job. While change is never easy, if you’ve begun to notice any of these signs you need to change careers, it’s usually worth considering.
If one or more rings true, it might be time to make that move.
As you become disenchanted with your work, willingness and resolve to do the best job possible can wane. This often presents as a lack of engagement or accomplishment. If you find yourself consistently underperforming compared to your capabilities, this may be a sign you need to change careers.
Listen. Even people who love their jobs enjoy time away from them. It’s one thing to occasionally wish you were laying on a beach sipping a Mai-tai instead of facing rush hour traffic or that annoying co-worker. But if you regularly cringe at the thought of clocking in, that’s a sign you need to change careers, too.
First and foremost, if you’re not able to make ends meet, that’s a sure sign it’s time for a change, career or otherwise. But even if your paycheck covers your bills, you could still be underpaid or undervalued. Ensure your salary is commensurate with your job title and current duties. If you notice a disparity, bring it up to your supervisor. If they are unwilling or unable to compensate you fairly, this could be an indication you need a career change.
Of course, there are plenty of circumstances which require us to work a job solely for the paycheck. But there are also plenty of circumstances in which we could achieve the same level of financial stability while doing something we enjoy more. If the only reason you show up every day is the money, consider a different line of work. Even the best paying job can’t buy you peace of mind, happiness, and fulfillment.
Emotional stress and pain can manifest physically. If you’re experiencing unexplained symptoms that worsen as the workweek approaches and wane on the weekends, that’s a sure sign that something isn’t right.
You may need a change as simple as a schedule shift, the ability to delegate tasks, or maybe to take on new responsibility. But if that doesn’t do the trick, your body might be telling you when to change jobs before your mind can. Listen to both.
Do you hate telling people what you do for a living? Are you constantly searching for new opportunities online? Do you spend your downtime working side hustles that have potential to be a full-time gig? Whether you have a specific career in mind or you’re simply dreaming of anything that is not what you’re doing now, that’s a clear sign it is time for a career change. Pay attention to your intuition and don’t be afraid to shift gears.
Many people looking for a career change find they have less time for family, friends, or activities they love. Whether it’s the work itself, the company, or the job, when personal relationships begin taking a hit, it’s a sign you need to change careers.
Sometimes asking yourself “should I change jobs?” is the only thing needed to get the ball rolling. Other times, discovering how to make a career change can seem like an insurmountable task. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
You have to know where you’re headed before you decide what steps to take. Do you want to change industries completely? Seek a new role at your current place of work? Does this need to be a quick transition, or do you have time? Do you want to work for yourself? For a bigger company? A smaller one? Ponder these questions and more before you make any moves.
Regardless of the transition you want to make, it can’t hurt to brush up on the skills that may be required for a career shift. This will make you as marketable as possible and boost your confidence, too.
Update your resume to reflect the positions for which you’ll be applying. (Linkedin is a great resource for this task.) Don’t forget to include your newly acquired or freshly honed skills to your resume, too!
We can’t stress this enough. Don’t burn bridges. You never know when you may need to rely on your old network or when someone from that network may want to rely on you in your new role. Always remain professional, regardless of the circumstances.
The Department of Defense and the VA offer several benefits which provide support to former service members and their families both during and after the transition from military to civilian life. This includes career services, education opportunities, workforce counseling, and so much more. Subscribe to our Military blog for posts about Veteran employment, employment assistance, and much, much more.