You’ve noticed that something is off, and you just can’t put your finger on it. Your enthusiasm has waned, you can’t recall the last time you felt good about getting up and going to work, and you spend your days on the job clock-watching and dreaming of escaping. These are signs that perhaps it’s time to be honest and ask yourself whether this particular role is actually suitable for you. Being in a job that is not suitable for you is depressing, and can impact not only your work life, but life outside of work, too. So, why stay?
Does it get your juices flowing? Does it tap into your passion? Is it doing anything for you other than providing you with a pay check? Does it meet your career needs?
If you’re umming and ahhing about whether to stay or go, here are a few signs that may help you in deciphering whether this role is indeed the role for you.
1. You’re unable to use your natural thought processes
If the job messes with your natural thought process, or does not require you to use your natural thought process, you may find it difficult to grasp the fundamentals of the role and the systems put in place. If you’re a creative thinker for example, a systematic role may cause immense confusion as you continuously struggle to get to grips with methodical processes which require you to be extremely organized and analytical. Likewise, if you are a methodical thinker, a role requiring creative, intuitive, and out-of-the-box thinking may make you feel all out of sorts and disorganized.
Working against your natural rhythm can have its benefits. It can challenge you and develop a whole new side of you. However, if you find that continuously working against your innate thought process leaves you feeling insecure, it may be time to start looking for a job more suited to your way of thinking. After all, we were all created differently with differing strengths. It may be time to put your strengths to use.
2. You feel it brings out the worst in you
When you started, you may have felt a tiny bag of nerves, unsure and a little tense (we all do), but that’s nothing compared to what you’re experiencing now. Any insecurities you may have had about your abilities are heightened; you feel like an imposter, you’re frayed, stressed, and anxious, and find yourself getting angry at the slightest things. In short, you feel all out of whack.
Not only will these feelings become impossible to ignore, but if you feel that deep down inside this role is definitely not suited to you, it’ll begin to plant major self-doubt within—you don’t want that kind of trouble! Also, take note of any new habits you may have taken up as a way to cope with this unsuitable role. Excessive drinking, smoking, eating (or under-eating), or any self-destructive patterns need to be addressed immediately.
If you feel the job is indeed changing you for the worst, it’s time you find something that will help to bring out your best.
3. Your fighter spirit has upped and disappeared
If workplace challenges don’t bring out your fighter spirit, a.k.a. your “can-do” attitude, it’s time to start thinking about moving on. Instead of making you want to face any work challenges head on, knowing you’re likely to come out on top, you’d rather run for the hills and avoid any challenges whatsoever.
In the ideal role, challenges can bring out the best in you, making you a confident and capable worker. However, if you’re in a role that just isn’t right for you, you’re more than likely to be floored by any difficult situation you come up against, even the seemingly easy ones, as your heart and soul are just not in it. Knowing this is a step in the right direction, as you begin thinking about the sort of job you would, and could, fight for.
4. Your skills feel under-utilized
All those years of training, experience, and skill building, and you’re not putting any of it to use? This is a sure way to leave you feeling completely down and discouraged about your career prospects. If it doesn’t utilize at least some of your skills, what’s the point? Your skill set is extremely important and provides you with the confidence and ability to be successful at a role; knowing what to do, when, and how best to utilize your knowledge. If you’re not putting to use any of your skills, this means you’re not able to improve upon them within the job, which means your skills will lay dormant. If this is the case, please begin looking elsewhere. Continuously building on your skills is a sign you’re progressing.
5. You don’t see the role going anywhere
If the role has very little room for advancement, it may be time to rethink your reasons for staying. Feeling like you’re in a dead-end job is bad. Knowing you are, is worse. With no room to grow or manoeuvre, the gig could get old very quickly. Take this as an early sign to begin looking elsewhere for something that provides you with the opportunity for growth.
6. You know your heart is elsewhere
You not only dream about your ideal job, you’ve trained for it, bought the tools, and worked at it. But for whatever reason, you’ve put it aside, or downgraded it to hobby status. But the more you think about it, the more you realize how unsuitable your current situation is.
Look, it’s commendable to work on your dream career while doing a job that pays, and at times advisable, as it not only provides you with the necessary means to fund your dream, but you also acquire experience that may be invaluable in the future. The risk is, however, that you may become completely sidetracked by the money, benefits, or routine of the job. Your dream remains just that, a dream. If you know you’ve relegated your dream job to solely dream status, and are bored out of your mind in your current role, maybe it’s time to take that leap of faith and just go for it. Trust yourself. There will be other jobs, there may not be another dream.
7. You feel it has become second nature
Though this may not seem like a bad thing, if you never have to think about what you’re doing while you’re doing it, chances are you’re not being challenged and are now in robotic mode! The role has become too mechanical and does not require you to be “awake” for any of it. If you’re not thinking about what you’re doing while you’re doing it, it’s probably time to move on. And this goes for everything else in life! Second nature can be a good thing, but too much familiarity can lead to way too much comfortability, and you’re unlikely to make changes to a dead-end situation if you’re too comfortable! This is your life, your career. It’s time to move on to something you can put your mind to.
8. You have been told to move on
Those close to you have probably already caught on that the job is not suitable for you. Sometimes, they are the best points of reference, especially if you’re in two minds as to what to do next. Being on the outside allows those in your circle to be objective. Detached from the bevy of emotions that may surround your decision to stay or go, their truth is a great indicator of your reality. Plus, there’s the added benefit that they truly want to see you happy and fulfilled. So listen up, they’ve probably been saying what you’ve been thinking, and feeling, all along.
9. You feel obligated to stay
Maybe you’ve recently gotten a promotion, a friend got you the role, or you have an awesome boss who has invested a great deal of time and energy in developing the role around your skills. Now, the idea of leaving feels, well, wrong. Perhaps you’ve invested years in this job, and know you’re an integral part of the force, and feel that leaving will have a negative impact on your team. It’s great that you’ve made such a positive impact, but there’s nothing more suffocating than the feeling of obligation, and pretty soon you’ll start to resent it—all of it.
You feel owned, controlled, and locked in. Yes, you feel a sense of nobility as you follow through with your deed and debt to others, but in truth, if you dislike everything about the job and only stay put out of obligation. It’s probably time to acknowledge those feelings and think about moving on. Be grateful for the opportunities, and thank those who have helped you along the way. Those who truly value you and your work will respect your decision, and even encourage it.
10. You’re in the job out of fear
If you’re in a job out of the fear of pursuing your true dreams, using it to suspend movement for fear of failure, chances are you already know this role is not suitable for you. You have to make the conscious decision to refuse to allow fear to dictate what you do. This is tremendously important. Being stuck in a job you have very little like for is soul destroying, but doing so because you’re afraid that things may not work out “out there,” sadly means you’ve already failed. If need be, take small steps to get moving if you’re not comfortable, but get moving.
It’s been said before, but now’s the time to face your fears and do it anyway. Get started on that journey. You’ll be glad you did.
11. You’re not passionate about the role
The truth is, if you’re not passionate about the job, you’re not really going to care about what you’re doing. This is sure to lead to overall dissatisfaction with your job. Lack of passion will inevitably filter into you becoming nonchalant about deadlines, meetings, administration, finances, and a whole host of things that keeps business ticking. Plus, lack of passion for the job probably means you’re having to feign any kind of interest. This alone is exhausting, as the extra effort you have to put in to get you through the day, and week, becomes apparent to you, and most likely to those around you. It may not be always ideal, or possible, but finding a job that taps into at least a few of your passions is a step up on that ladder to overall job satisfaction.
Remember, giving in isn’t the same as giving up! Knowing something isn’t right for you means you’re on the right track in finding something that is, so be encouraged and get started. Good luck!
Featured photo credit: Hayden Petrie/Thinking about a dip via flickr.com