Are You On The Wrong Career Path?

Just as the approximate eight hours per night we spend sleeping replenishes our energy, repairs cumulative wear and tear, and allows us to assimilate all of the information we’ve collected in the last 16 hours, our jobs can be thought of in a similar way.  We spend approximately eight hours per day working to replenish our financial resources, pay our expenditures, and feed our sense of purpose so we can hopefully enjoy the remaining hours of our day.

are-you-on-the-wrong-career-path-businessmen-walking-down-hallYet, if one portion is out of balance with rest — for example, our job is causing us distress or unhappiness — chances are the rest will suffer.  Consequently, if your current line of work isn’t suiting you, there is a great likelihood you are already aware, even if you haven’t quite admitted it yet.

Knowing When to Make a Change

You may be thinking that since you’ve already got a job, it pays the bills, perhaps there are only a few more years to retirement (depending on your stage in life), why make a change?

Security is a powerful influence.  Some of us approach our jobs with such aversion and apathy in the name of perceived security, it’s a wonder we can even bring ourselves into work every day.  A negative outlook can permeate your day, even spreading to coworkers and beyond.

Recognizing the Signs

  • If you’ve found yourself feeling down, think about your line of work since one of the major causes of depression is job dissatisfaction.
  • You notice your home-life has been disrupted in some way.  Frequently, if you can’t get excited about your job, it translates as a lack of interest in your partner or your children, and sometimes dissatisfied employees bring their frustrations home with them.
  • You know you’re capable a doing a better job, but can’t seem to find the inspiration to provide your best work.
  • Even after being offered a raise or promotion, you still are not excited about your job.
  • You find yourself frequently searching job listings, although you haven’t applied to any.
  • Although you update your résumé regularly, you significantly downplay your current position.

Ask the Right Questions

  • Would working for a different company, doing the same job, solve my problems?  If not, you need to consider a different career.
  • Is there anything about this job that gives me happiness?  List your transferable skills.
  • What would allow me to love any job?  Make a list.

Finding Answers

Once you have ascertained you are better suited to another career or field, what are some of the first steps you should take?

The questions above may have provided you with some sort of idea of what you would like to do.  Now is the time to do some research.  If you enter blindly, you may be in for some surprises.are-you-on-the-wrong-career-path-new-career-sign-blue

Find someone who already holds the type of position that you covet and has been at it for at least a couple of years.  Ask them what their lifestyle is like; if there are downsides to the job; if there’s anything they might like to make you aware of that could help you make a decision.

Let’s explore a case-in-point.  Suppose that you want to be the person who rolls out the SAP software in all of your company’s international headquarters — in every city in the world.  You’ve never been on a plane before in your life, and this would offer an exciting chance to see all those great cities without personal expenditure.

The reality of that lifestyle may translate to two weeks in Paris; two weeks working from home preparing the next rollout; two weeks in Des Moines; two weeks at home; two weeks in Mexico City; and another two weeks at home, and so on.

If, however, you had performed your research, you may decide that after about a year of extreme traveling, the excitement would most likely wear off, or maybe there is a chance you could rouse a genuine interest in traveling all the cities of the world.  Perhaps, your personal life is such that traveling to that extent may cause you to miss out on a great deal at home; or maybe it would fit perfectly with your current lifestyle.

In other words, beyond researching, try to role-play in your mind what your existence may resemble if you take on your career of choice.  Remember that there are so many individual positions within most fields of choice that you are bound to find what would compliment your well-being, lifestyle, and financial necessities.

The Takeaway

Even with a conventional job on a less grand scale, involving no extraordinary travel, aspects of the job that you are unaware of might make it unbearable.  Investigate new opportunities before committing yourself.

Of course, jobs don’t just magically appear when we want them to (for the most part), so you’re going to have to invest little time and effort. It’s definitely worth it because somewhere out there is a job that suits you perfectly.  You just have to find it!

By Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

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