2 Ways to Tell It's Time for a Career Change

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

There are myriad reasons for career adjustments, and we’ll go deeper on that in a bit. Job satisfaction is so important that we’re going to cut to the chase. Actually, we’re starting with the capture, so to speak. At your workday’s end, there are 2 ways to tell it’s time for a career change: You are unhappy at work, and it has nothing to do with where you work or those you work for or with.

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Do You Have a Job or a Career?

So, have you fallen out of love with your job or your career? If you’re on a path that started with a choice of college majors or with the rise of passion inspired by a pursuit that became a career choice, you have a career. You simply have a job if it’s the best work you could find given your skill set, experience, and location.

If it’s just a job and you hate it, then simply move on. If you hate what you do in the job where you pursue your chosen career, your challenge is greater than for those who merely need to find another place to get a paycheck. You need to adjust your career path.

Know the Signs of Career Derailment and How to Get on Track

Forbes posts a lot of articles by career counselors/coaches, including work by members of the Forbes Coaches Council, which bills itself as “an invitation-only organization for successful business and career coaches.” We’ve picked some of the highlights:

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Obvious Signs That It’s Time for a Job Change

The Forbes Coaches Council identifies 12 red flags that signal you need to change jobs. Here are the first six of those 12 reasons:

  • Are you learning, advancing your employer’s agenda, and having fun? Leila Bulling Towne of The Bulling Towne Group says that a no on any of those points is a warning sign. Your “brain and heart are telling you that now is the opportune time to stop and think about why,” and how to get back to yes again.
  • Do you feel valued? Melinda Fouts, author of “Success Starts with You,” says feeling undervalued means you’re at risk of having your work seem less fulfilling. “You might want to consider moving on.”
  • Are you still contributing? If the arc of your contributions to the workplace is trending downward, “it’s time to transition,” says coach Maureen Cunningham of Up Until Now Inc.
  • Are negative feelings becoming the norm? “Get clear on your next move” and get moving, says business and life coach Gina Gomez.
  • Is the allure of another career growing stronger, to the point of regret about a path not yet taken? “If there’s something out there you’ll regret never exploring, it’s time to think about it,” says Jessica Sweet of Wishingwell Coaching.
  • Are you literally sick of your job? John M. O’Connor of Career Pro Inc. says, “I coach executives in career shifts and changes, and it is shocking how often after they transition to a better opportunity that their physical and mental health improve.”

Of course, once you decide to make a career change, it helps to know how.

How to Make a Career Change

Changing careers can be a daunting journey. Here are four steps that can help you make it:

  • If you’ve chosen another career direction, itemize your job skills and talents, from inchoate to perfected, from social skills to personality attributes, and prepare to hit the job interview circuit ready to sell who you are to prospective employers.
  • Identify your internal and external resources. The skills and talents you inventory during step one are your internal resources. Your personal and business networks count as external resources.
  • Develop what Forbes Coaches Council member Dris Mhammedi calls a growth mindset. In essence, “be confident in your skills, and allow yourself to learn from your mistakes.”
  • Once you’ve taken the first three steps, make a plan and execute it.

There’s Proof You Can Survive the Change

Forbes contributor Joseph Liu gathered good advice for career jumpers from 50 people who pivoted and survived the transition. He opens with Stephen Satterfield, a restaurant manager who founded the food magazine Whetstone. Satterfield warns, “Prepare yourself to run a marathon rather than a sprint.”

Basically, there are few shortcuts to career success.

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USF Offers Many Paths to Career Success

The Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education can help you compile academic credits and professional credentials that can make career dreams come true, even if those dreams mark a change in careers.

Interested in law? Check out our Paralegal Certificate Program.

Considering hotel management or something else in the hospitality industry? Try our Hospitality Leadership Program.

Want to shepherd the human resources of a company or organization? Try our human resources management offerings.

CTPE prides itself on courses and programs that are designed with working professionals in mind, including those planning career-altering transitions.


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