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17 Signs You’ve Been Staying In The Same Job For Too Long

17 Signs You’ve Been Staying In The Same Job For Too Long

As children, we all have our dreams. We are going to be doctors, lawyers, astronauts, or NBA players. Then reality sets in. The cost of college or graduate school deters you from going. And then you realize the chances of you making it to the NBA are small because you’re only 5’10”. Then you settle. You settle, you settle, and then you settle some more. Here are 17 signs that you have been staying in the same job too long, and it’s time to get a little inspiration to get your tushie in gear and make a change.

1. You learn absolutely nothing new at training sessions.

Yeah, yeah, yeah … team building. Yaddah yaddah yaddah… leadership. Blah blah blah…diversity. If you could teach the trainings yourself, maybe you should actually go do it!

 2. You think the new employees are “kids.”

Aging is weird. It sneaks up on you. But when the day comes that all the new people seem like children to you, then you know that maybe you’ve been there a little too long. Well, let me clarify. If the new hires who are equals – at the same level as you – are “kids,” then that’s a problem.

3. Your sick days and vacation days may have rolled over so long that you might lose them.

Hey, it’s highly commendable that you are so healthy that you don’t need your sick days. But if your vacation days have stacked up because you can’t afford to take one, well, maybe you need to get some more ambition and move up the corporate ladder.

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4. Your stack of awards for longevity on the job are piling up.

It’s great that you have commitment. Commitment is good. Well, that is if you’re talking about a 50-year marriage. But if you’ve been so committed to your company, your boss, or your job that you just get numb inside when you see all the plaques on your wall for all the years you’ve been there, well, need I say more?

5. You surf the internet way too much.

Either you get done with your work way too quickly (and have a lot of time left over), or there isn’t enough work for you. It doesn’t matter. Either way, your brain is searching for ways to overcome boredom. You can only watch so many YouTube videos a day before your mind becomes mush.

6. You constantly check your clock to see if it’s 5 PM yet.

Is there anything worse than having time drag? I think not. Have you ever heard of the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun?” Yeah. We all have. But if that’s not what you’re living, then there’s a problem. You should be in the moment and love what you’re doing. Not be a clock-watcher.

7. You daydream about anything … and everything.

Winning the lottery. A fantasy trip to Bora Bora. Escaping your life and living on a mountain alone. It doesn’t matter. If you find yourself thinking about anything other than work, then your mind is trying to tell you that it’s bored. Prepare for the next challenge.

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8. You don’t get invited out with the “in-crowd” for happy hour anymore.

Maybe you used to be the life of the party in your day. But what if you’re only in your 30s? It’s not okay if you consider yourself “over the hill” if you’re not. Heck, even if you really are over the hill, it’s better to live in denial. If you’ve lost your spark, you need to go find it again. Probably somewhere else.

9. Your resume titles sound different, but the descriptions are the same.

Let’s face it. Anyone who has written a “good” resume knows that it always sounds better “on paper.” A telemarketer can be a “marketing specialist.” Or a receptionist can be an “executive assistant.” Anyone who has written a good resume knows that you can spin any job into sounding cool. If you find yourself doing that, you need to move on.

10. You no longer care about cool business lunches.

It used to be a sign of prestige. It used to be a time to go out and show your stuff. It was glamorous. It was seductive. But if all you do is dread these business lunches, well, you guessed it. Houston, we have a problem!

11. You don’t care if you get in trouble from HR or your boss.

Maybe it’s that you know them too well because you’ve been there forever. Or maybe you just don’t even care about being fired anymore – either because you think you can’t be – or because you think it might actually be a good thing.

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12. You could sleepwalk through your job because you know it so well.

While feeling confident and knowledgeable in your duties is a wonderful thing, if it becomes so routine that you could do it blindfolded and tied up, then that’s a problem. Human beings need positive challenge in life to thrive. So if you’re not getting any, it’s time to do something different.

13. You count the “ya knows” and “likes” that the newest 22-year-old is saying.

You’re so bothered by the new cool lingo of the 20-somethings that, in order to keep you from doing something unacceptable, you decide to count the number of times that they say a word. Obviously, this will just drive you crazy and it won’t help you retain what they are saying.

14. You don’t even need to look at your performance review, because it’s the same. Every. Single. Time.

If you just toss your review in the bottom drawer of your desk without looking at it, you might have a problem. Maybe you’re at the top of your game and you don’t need to improve. If so, that’s great. But you’ll never know what to change if you don’t even glance at it. But if you have enough experience with reading the same comments over and over, then it’s time to move on.

15. Your boss is 20 years younger than you.

How did that happen? When did that happen? If the “kids” are already at your level or above (like your superior), maybe you need to look for the next challenge and better yourself.

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16. Your reasons for staying aren’t even believable to you anymore.

Health insurance. Vacation. Sick days. Promotion opportunities. Your commitment to the company. While these might be some good reasons to stay, remember, when you go somewhere else, you will probably have a similar situation with all of these things. So these reasons aren’t really reasons, they’re called excuses.

17. You dream of retirement.

If you start calculating how much money you’ll bring in per month between your retirement pension and social security, then you are dreaming of escape. Not many people look forward to being “old,” but if it’s your fantasy because that means freedom from the mundane doldrums of your job, then you need to start moving onward and upward.

The takeaway

Becoming stagnant in any area of our lives is not healthy. And plus, safety and security are only illusions. So be brave. Be bold. Try new things. Get a new job!

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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