Please note: We are all aware of the personal/financial ramifications when we consider a job change. Take this post in the spirit in which it was written: to be helpful.
Many of us have experienced the wrong job. I would say that fault is difficult to assign. However, it may be dawning on you that your work life is dangerously out of alignment. Nothing is worse than throwing yourself into work with the best of intentions — yet things seem to continue to go very, very wrong.
The trick to this situation? Identifying the problem for what it is (in very short shrift) and acting to make meaningful changes. Poor matches do happen. Recruitment is not always loaded in favor of applicants — and selection is not a perfect science.
So, take a deep breath. Let yourself off the hook and do what you can to avoid a long-term soul sucking experience.
Remember that “withering on the vine” is not a viable career strategy.
Here are 6 signs that you should be paying attention to:
- You feel lost. Have you been experiencing the classic nightmare that you arrive at class, only to find that you’ve not read a single page of the textbook and it is final exam day? This should not be your experience with work during waking hours. If every task or project leaves you feeling unprepared, take note: fit errors do occur. Sometimes that “next step” in your career, has been the wrong step. It’s more than ok to acknowledge this.
- You are in avoidance mode. Be honest with yourself — the process of going to work is absolutely excruciating. If you had your druthers, you would never set foot in the office again. If you’ve tried to make things work and you still can’t envision a future for yourself in your current role, you have a serious problem.
- Your strengths aren’t being utilized. Ultimately our work should align with our strengths. If this is not the case, it’s time to start exploring other options. If you feel that your weaknesses have taken center stage, it’s unlikely you’ll stay energized for the long haul. Have a conversation with your supervisor now — and don’t wait.
- You feel disconnected. Does it feel as if everyone else is on one page and you are on another? Whether you work in customer service, sales or consulting — if it feels as if you are not aligning with the vision of the organization, the person-job match may be off. If you see yourself as a lonely island (and everyone is speaking an entirely different “language”), it may be time to explore moving on.
- You can’t seem to complete anything. Everything seems pointless and your level of motivation is at an all-time low. Are your psychological resources waning? Are you dealing with looming deadlines with a blank screen continually staring back at you? Have you simply stopped caring? All are telling signs.
- You are entering self-blame mode. You certainly can own the part of the problem that you’ve controlled (you’ve ignored your “inner voice”, for example). However, I guarantee there were plenty of other factors in play. The bottom line is this: You are not happy and it’s time to act. Blame doesn’t help things resolve — only a plan to move forward will.
Of course — please pay attention to physical signs of stress. If you are not sleeping or eating take heed. Feeling depressed or anxious is a clear indicator that something is off. Time to take the issue to your supervisor, a trusted mentor or a health professional.
Has this ever been your experience? How did you move forward? Share the story with our community.
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She examines the effect of Core Stability on work & work life life. A charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program since 2012 — her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.