Walk away from anything that doesn’t serve you. Whether that means to leave your career, to disengage from a toxic relationship, to separate from something debilitating, this is a life-altering change. This quote has resonated with me deeply in my twenties, as this has been a period of growth, strength, and selfish pursuit.
Sometimes, however, I question the validity of this empowering statement. The way I read it, is that it’s not necessarily about walking away, but about identifying what it is that no longer serves you and parting ways with that person or thing. Knowing the fundamental difference between ‘bad’ and ‘good’ can keep you from leaving something that’s challenging, but necessary to your growth. And once you understand what is positive and what is truly negative, knowing when to leave your career becomes a process and decision that feels right and considerably less stressful.
If you feel like you’re battling whether to leave or stay, this list is for you. If you’re standing with one foot halfway out the door and the other stuck in place, this list is for you. And if you’re searching for, and pursuing other opportunities, while still rooted to your current job, this list is for you. Here are some thoughts to help ground you, inspire you, and reveal the signs that it might be time to leave your career for something that fits and feels right.
1. You have a nagging feeling that something isn’t right.
People say to listen to yourself, to your body, and to your emotions. This is easier said than done, right? However, when it comes to serious things like your profession or passions, it’s important, if not essential, to listen to what you’re truly thinking and feeling.
As cliché as it sounds, listen to yourself. Are you satisfied with your current job? Do you feel fulfilled? Wake up excited? No, you won’t wake up every single day with a burst of energy and joy for your career, but there’s a big difference between being satisfied and completely disheartened when you think about work. And if you feel the latter—tired, frustrated, bored—or have a nagging feeling in your chest that you’re meant to be doing something different/more, you need to listen to that! This is your soul’s way of telling you something isn’t right. You might not know exactly what you’re supposed to do, but it’s important to acknowledge those feelings instead of pushing them aside.
2. You fantasize about other jobs, positions, or opportunities.
When your mind wanders, are you thinking about yourself in another position? Do you picture yourself as something completely outside of your expertise? Are you passionate about other jobs, other ideas, other areas?
If so, these are signs that you’re just not meant to be where you are. It doesn’t mean you have to pack up your bags and jump ship immediately, but it does mean that you need to acknowledge that where you are might not be right.
3. You often talk about the ‘what ifs,’ or other ideas you have for your future.
Are you plagued by the things you didn’t do, or wish you would have? Are you struggling to accept where you currently are because you keep envisioning a different dream, different path?
If you are often having conversations about something else you wish you did, or looking into your future as if you were already pursuing a different job, take note. These are signs that your current job might not be the right fit.
4. You are disengaged in the day-to-day responsibilities.
Do you resent going to work, doing daily tasks, and being a part of your company? If so, these may be major signs it’s time to leave your career. When you’re in the right place or position, you will be happy, engaged, and constantly growing.
5. You aren’t excited about the future of your position / your company.
When you’re in the right career, you’re excited about what’s to come. You’re filled with passion about the next steps and the growth for both you and the company as a whole. If you are neither of those things, or worse, the opposite—start planning your escape!
6. You feel stagnant and don’t see yourself really progressing in your current role.
One of the biggest signs you need to leave your career is when you don’t really feel like you’re going anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, regardless of where you are or what you do you’re going to have moments where you don’t quite know what to do next. However, if time passes and you feel like you’re still in the same spot, then it might be time to start thinking deeply about your career move. If you’ve had conversations with your boss/higher ups about your career trajectory and don’t see yourself growing, or if you feel like there’s nothing to do to really build yourself—this is time to start pursuing options elsewhere.
Featured Image Credit: Jeshoots