Signs it’s Time to Change Careers

6 Signs it’s Time to Change Careers


Signs it’s Time to Change CareersSo, you’ve been thinking it might be time to change careers – you just wish you had a way to know for sure. With 84% of Americans claiming they want a new job in 2011, you are not alone. So, how does one assess if it’s time to find a new career path? We asked over 100 career experts what the tell-tale signs are it’s time to move on. We saw 6 common themes. Here they are:

1. You limit your job thoughts to 9-5.

Ben Eubanks, an HR professional says, “There are a few quick ways to figure out if you need to blaze a new career path. First, you’re probably feeling burnt out. That might be obvious, but some people excuse it with, ‘I’ve just been working hard lately.’ If you constantly dread going back to work, that’s telling. Another big one I’ve uncovered is whether you spend time thinking about it outside of work. Do you dream up ideas? Do you take time to learn more about your industry? If not, then you might be well-served by looking at another opportunity to see if it does ignite your passion.”

2. You’re breaking the 80/20 rule.

Dr. Janet Civitelli, a workplace psychologist & career coach says, “I have a 80% guideline for work satisfaction, meaning the goal is to be at least 80% happy with a career, job, or boss. If satisfaction falls below that, it is time to fine tune the job, find a new job, or change career direction completely. Many people are surprised to hear me say this because they expect to shoot for 95% or 100%, but I have learned through experience with thousands of clients aiming for near perfect work satisfaction causes less happiness, not more.”

3. Your idea of “career reading” changes.

Lisa Correu, a job search advocate & workshop provider lists the following:

  • At your annual review, you consider writing all the lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the “Goals” section.
  • You interview a potential hire and spend 30 minutes talking about Sean Connery versus Daniel Craig as 007.
  • You cancel all of your subscriptions to industry publications and replace them with Garden Gnomes Monthly.
  • You’re asked to speak at Career Day and pass out invitations to your Pampered Chef party.
  • You wonder what it would be like to love your career again.

4. There isn’t a perk that would make this job worth staying for.

Laura Lobovich, a certified Five O’Clock Club career coach says, “Career fatigue can affect you both emotionally and/or physically. If you are feeling tired, depressed or just plain bored, career fatigue could be setting in. If you are unwilling to do this job for more money, better benefits, at another company, with a goat, in a boat (you get the idea); looking for more ways to access Plants vs. Zombies from your work computer; or questioning the ‘natural’ career progression in your career (and secretly praying your boss won’t tap you for the ‘next’ move), then it could be time to explore a career change!”

5. You’ll use any excuse for a day off.

Debra Wheatman, a career coach says, “General malaise combined with not caring whether you hit your usual standards indicates it’s time to find a new career direction. Do you find yourself looking for excuses to call in sick, blow off opportunities to take lead on a new project, or pass the buck when something goes wrong? It may be time to assess your current career path. If your sense of satisfaction for doing a good job fades away, you aren’t unhappy your performance review didn’t go well, or you spend more time on Facebook than business it might be time to move on.”

6. You’ve got that “dread-it” feeling.

Lisa Adams, a career coach says, “My clear telltale signs include that, unfortunately, well-known feeling of dread every morning as you prepare to go to work. It is a dread that is more than being annoyed by your boss or company politics. That dread becomes more and more an apathetic attitude. When you can’t even pick up an industry article or a company press release to review, that is a sure sign to move on. Lastly, if this is a second round in the same industry and role and you still are not engaged, move on.”

What did we miss? I invite career coaches reading this to share their advice in the comments below.

What should you do? If you read the six signs and are in need of a career change, watch the recording of my social TV show, Career Reality, from this past Friday. It’s up above. I invited CAREEREALISM-Approved Career Expert, Chrissy Scivicque to help show our viewers how to change careers without fear.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

J.T. O'Donnell

Job Search & Career Expert. Syndicated Speaker & Author. Wife. Mother. CEO of CAREEREALISM Media. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. Something else to consider is that if you’ve found yourself feeling this way about your past several jobs, it is definitely time for a career change as opposed to a simple job change.

    Many people get in their heads that it’s the company/people/work that is the problem and proceed to look for another position in the same line of work. It may take years before they figure out that it’s their line of work that is bringing so much dissatisfaction.

  2. This is great advice, however, what if the job satisfaction is great but you hate the town and the ignorant-small town-but-sweet-people mentality! How do you change jobs, without letting them know that they are the reason you are leaving???

  3. I loved Lisa Correu’s creative answer (above). I have been in that place myself a few times in my former corporate roles. I see more and more clients who are ready to give themselves permission to be who they really are. When there is nothing about your current career that brings a sparkle to your eyes, it’s really time to get courageous and explore other possible selves. The sooner one takes a step, the better, because the process of changing careers takes time, action and commitment.

  4. Wonderful post, J.T.! These surely are the signs to know if you need a career change. I could relate so much to what Lisa Adams has written. The signs surely have helped me a lot in taking the right action in my career.

  5. Great advice. I’ve recommended the 80-20 split myself. Sadly, many people have it inverted. EVERY job will have some of what I call “grown-up stuff,” things you do only because are are told to, but most of your work should be, to quote Marsha Sinetar, “a gift of self.”

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