5 Signs It’s Time to Switch Careers

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated May 16, 2022

Is it time to switch careers? As the Great Resignation era continues to sweep across the UK, an increasing number of workers are considering a career change. But why?

Low salaries, a lack of benefits, toxic work cultures, and general burnout seem to be the main factors behind the shift. Interestingly, employees who work from home or in a hybrid model are less likely to want to change jobs. This indicates that the daily commute to the office plays a part.

So if you’re considering switching careers, you aren’t alone. Walking away from a stable job is a daunting thought. However, with the proper research, it doesn’t have to be. The first step is to take stock of your career so far. What do you love? What isn’t working? 

In this article, we look at 5 telltale signs it’s time to switch careers. We also offer some actionable advice to help you understand when it’s time to move on.

5 Surefire Signs you Should Switch Careers

There are significant benefits of switching careers. Having said that, it’s not for everyone. Only you can truly know when it’s time for a career change. Having said that, we’ve come up with 5 telltale signs that indicate you may be ready to change jobs. Here’s a closer look.

1. You Feel Unfulfilled 

This is one of the biggest warning signs that it’s time for a career change. If you find yourself feeling apathetic or complacent on a regular basis, it could indicate it’s time to move on. Research shows that employees who feel unfulfilled at work tend to underperform, participate less, and lose motivation. When you reach this stage, it’s time to change jobs.

The moment you feel like you’re no longer learning is a red flag. Feeling unfulfilled will lead to negative feelings and a loss of energy. Before long, this will spill over to your personal life too. 

In a nutshell, when the learning stops it’s time to move on.

2. You’re Experiencing Physical Symptoms

You know it’s time to switch careers if your body is giving you warning signals. When we are unhappy or unfulfilled in our careers, this unhappiness will often manifest in physical symptoms. 

Common symptoms include:

  • stress
  • exhaustion
  • stiff limbs
  • trouble concentrating
  • alcohol or substance abuse
  • a strong feeling of dread every Sunday

Of course, everyone experiences ups and downs in their jobs. This doesn’t mean that you should switch your job every time you experience work-related stress. However, if you suffer physical symptoms long-term then a career change may be on the cards. 

Chronic stress can lead to burnout. According to Mental Health UK, burnout is “a state of physical and emotional exhaustion” often caused by long-term work-related stress. Burnout is a serious medical condition that can take months to recover from. As a result, burnout has a significant negative impact on our lives. In summary, if your body is showing signs of stress it’s time to switch jobs.

3. You Don’t Feel Like a Valued Member of the Team

Having a sense of purpose and feeling valued are two extremely important factors for emotional wellbeing. If you don’t feel valued by your company, changing jobs may be the best option. When we feel like our contributions aren’t seen or appreciated, we lose motivation. Similarly, if we are constantly overlooked for promotions, it affects us negatively. Working in an environment where your hard work isn’t recognised will take its toll on you emotionally. So if you start to feel this way, speak to your manager or consider switching jobs.

Put simply, being valued and praised is a huge motivator in the workplace. When you don’t feel recognised, your work is likely to be affected. Move on before it negatively impacts your personal life. 

4. Your Personal Life is Affected

Work-life balance is essential for a happy life. A clear sign that it’s time for a career change is when work is negatively affecting other aspects of your life. If your friends and family have noticed a change in your mood, attitude, or energy levels, it’s time to take a step back. Ask yourself the following questions. Am I cancelling plans more regularly? Am I more irritable than normal? Do I feel disconnected from my close circle? Have I lost interest in my hobbies?

If you answered yes to one or more of those questions, a change is needed. Firstly, be honest with yourself about how long you’ve been feeling this way. Then, figure out the root cause. For instance, is it the job itself or the culture you work in? Finally, make a plan of how you are going to address the issue. Do you need to change companies or switch careers completely? 

To sum up, work should never negatively impact your personal life for an extended period of time. When it does, take action immediately. 

5. You Daydream About Quitting Your Job

Do you spend your day fantasising about quitting your job? Is your Google search history full of job searches? Are you jealous of your friends’ jobs? These are telltale signs that you aren’t happy in your job.

Sure, we all daydream now and again about winning the lottery and quitting our jobs. But, when this is a daily occurrence, it may indicate something deeper. People who hate telling others what their job is or who spend a lot of time searching for other jobs are generally unfulfilled in their work. If you feel this way, you aren’t alone. A quarter of UK workers reportedly considered a career change in 2021

Put another way, constant daydreaming about a new career could mean you’re ready to switch jobs.

How to Switch Careers

So, you’ve made the decision to switch careers. Congratulations! The big question is how to change careers. Changing careers requires a plan and plenty of research.

One of the biggest barriers workers face when considering switching careers is finding which career is right for you. Identifying your transferable skillset and seeking advice from other career changers can help you with this step. You could also consult trusted career change guides for support. 

Upgrading your skills or retraining in a new industry will open up new doors for you. At Refreshing a Career, we have put together a wealth of valuable resources for career changers. We have detailed guides on adult apprenticeships, adult internships and night courses to refresh your skills and prepare you for your dream job.

For further advice, check out our resources on changing careers or take a look at our live job board for career change opportunities near you.

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Last Updated: Wednesday June 8 2022
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