Jumping ship may sound like a great option when you’re knee-deep in discontent with your career, but is starting over really the right option?
While apathy over our current job can often mean a job change is in the near future, if you’ve found yourself hopping from job to job and are still dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, it may be time to consider changing your career altogether.
Before you pack up your desk, though, ask yourself these six questions:
We can enter a career for all the wrong reasons–convenience, money, prestige, because our parents wanted us to–and a few years in, we find ourselves completely unhappy. Before leaving your career, consider why you pursued it in the first place. Career regret is common, especially among millennials. “The average millennial is going to have three careers in their lives,” says career and business coach Rachel Ritlop. “What ends up happening is they realize they’re good at these things, but they’re not interested in them.”
Boredom is a common cause of career apathy. If you’re stuck in a rut, it may be because you have nowhere to go. Ask whether your current career is providing you with enough opportunities for growth, or whether you’ve maximized your opportunities for advancement. Before you jump ship, consider whether there are opportunities for you to learn more in your current career.
Do you have more to offer? Perhaps your skills are being underutilized in your current job and could be put to better use somewhere else. Consider exploring new opportunities within your current career to use your skills rather than changing your career entirely. Perhaps a promotion is in order, or you could take on a challenging project.
Take yourself back to childhood when people used to ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If your answer is something other than your current career, ask yourself why.
If the only thing holding you back from making a career change is fear, ask what you can do to help yourself get over that fear. “Our potential really relies on our belief in ourselves,” says Ritlop. Work on raising your self-esteem to get over your fears by getting into a regular routine of celebrating your accomplishments, however minor they may be, and let go of any negative thoughts that are holding you back.
Make a list of the things you aren’t enjoying about your current career. If the things on your list include: my boss is a jerk, the company doesn’t provide enough benefits, or I don’t like my coworkers, perhaps a job change rather than a career change is what’s needed.
Before jumping into a new career, consider ways that you “try on” your prospective career. Are there people in your network who are doing what you want to be doing? If so, ask if you can shadow them to gain clarity on what the new career path may look like, what the day-to-day will be like, and how to break into it. If you don’t have anyone in your existing network, consider contacting people via LinkedIn or Twitter. Gain as much information as you can about your new desired career path before making the leap to ensure it’s the right fit for you.