Outside of a lucky few, most of us struggle to settle on what we want to be when we “grow up.” With so many possibilities out there and not enough time to try on every role, many of us struggle to find that perfect fit. Even if we really enjoy the work we’re doing or the company we work for, there may be something missing, some spark that makes every day great instead of just okay. After a certain number of job changes, though, the worry that hiring managers will look negatively upon a long and storied resume can hold us back from continuing the search. But making thoughtful, considered career moves—not aimless job jumps—can help narrow down the fields and positions that are truly of interest. Here are a few signals the time is coming for a positive change in a new direction!
You like what you do, but you’re bored.
Leaving a position or company doesn’t necessarily happen because you dislike the work you’re doing or the people you’re doing it with. You may be in a position that you just don’t find challenging. Being challenged—in a good way—is a big part of knowing that the career you’re in is the right career for you. This is a good time to start looking at other options that intrigue you! Depending on the size of your company, you may not even have to look elsewhere to start something new. Speak with the managers or team leads that can help you find a new direction or consider your options. Many times, employers will work to help their employees develop professionally if it means they can retain them.
You didn’t think the job you really wanted was possible.
Sometimes in work, as in relationships, you settle for what you think is the only available option. What you really want seems so far out of reach that the struggle to get there may seem hopeless. Instead of pining for the role you want, do some research! Making a move toward the job of your dreams may be much more straightforward than you would have thought. For example, say you’ve always wanted to work with animals but you had nowhere to learn the skills to be a Veterinary Assistant or a Veterinary Technician. You can’t drive two hours every day to go to a school, so you move on and find other work that is almost as fulfilling. But with accredited, self-paced online programs, you don’t have to go out of your way for training. Research what you’re interested in pursuing. There more than likely is a program out there that will fit your needs and help you reach the goals you the thought were impossible.
It’s time to move on.
Sometimes, it’s just time to move in a new direction with your career because of changes that are out of your control. Whether your company has restructured the goals and operations of the business or completely reinvented the mission and culture, you may be in a work environment that just doesn’t suit your needs. It happens and it’s just a sign that you need to look for something new. Maybe you’re not even sure what the “something new” is, but it’s out there. Going back to school or pursuing career-focused training can help you decide where you want to go and help you take the steps to get there.
When it’s time to make the move to a new career, it’s okay to be worried and to consider the ramifications. But it’s normal to look for new opportunity every couple of years or so. As long as you’re not jumping from job to job every year, the impact on your resume will be minimal. Like finding the love of your life, finding the career of your dreams isn’t always one and done. It’s out there and you just have to keep looking forward!