And a major reason for workplace dissatisfaction is feeling you are on the wrong career path.
What are the risks of staying in a wrong career? How can you be sure that it really is your career path that is the problem? And what can you do next if it is?
Signs that can mean you are on the wrong career path
Stress, even if you manage to internalise it and appear unstressed to others, compromises the immune system. And going against your true desires and personality every day by working the wrong job for you is indeed stressful. So you might experience physical symptoms such as sleep problems, general aches and pains, digestive issues, or regular colds.
But it’s also mental health that’s impacted.
Mental Health Symptoms of Being Stuck in the Wrong Job
Mental health signs that you might be unhappy in your career can include:
It is important to understand if your dissatisfaction with your career is just a passing phase, or if it’s truly time to change careers.
Start by pinpointing just what led you down this career path can help. Do any of the following five wrong reasons for choosing a career sound close to home?
1.Choosing a Career When Too Young.
Choosing a career when you’re very young can mean you may not have experienced life in the way that meant you made a fully informed decision.
2. Parental involvement.
Sometimes we don’t even realise we chose a career because of our parents. We have mistaken their personal valuesfor our own for so long we need help seeing the difference. Of course some parents very deliberately divert their children from their own ideas, believing they know best. But you are the only person who truly knows what is best for you.
3.Lack of self-awareness.
Again, we need to know ourselves fairly well to choose the right career (perhaps accounting for why most people experience at least a few career changes in life). If you do not understand your own values, perspectives, and beliefs, you are more likely to choose the wrong career.
What else is happening in my life that could be the root cause of these issues?
What can you do if you are in the wrong career?
It’s important to take time to find real clarity.Quitting your job impulsively or based on emotions is never a good idea. Even if it is the wrong job for you, you might be able to be promoted within the company itself to a job that suits you better. Or you might need a reference in the future. So take time to be sure that it is indeed the job that is the problem first (read our article, “Should You Quit Your Job?” for the right questions to ask.).
When you do know that it’s the wrong career track, identify exactly what is not working for you. Is it the hours? The role? Company values? Too much/too little social interaction? This will help you choose a better career track next.
Personal values represent what is important to you, and they guide your actions in life. Determining and constantly re-evaluating your values will help you find a career to which you feel more connected, and that gives you a sense of purpose.
Paying attention to what inspires you is one way to get closer to your personal values. What do you find motivating? Engaging?
Do you need career counselling?
Seeing ourselves clearly can be hard. So one of the smartest ways to get clarity on your career and future is to reach out for support.
Many workplace insurances provide enough coverage for several sessions of work and career counselling. Career counselling helps you see your situation clearly, and helps you realise what it is you truly want from your career. This means the next job you take will be one you feel good about.