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How To Decide When to Change Careers

By Jill Sutton

Have you ever met someone who loves her job? She seems to be confident, happy and overall more satisfied. So, why don’t you feel that way? Could it be your job? Is it the right fit for you? Your job is like any relationship; even the best ones have their ups and downs. You should not leave your job every time that you feel overworked, discontent, or frustrated. But, there are a few specific questions that you can ask yourself to help you decide if your current job the right one for you or if it’s time to look for a new career?

These five questions can help you decide if it is time to proactively start the process to make a career change.

  1. My current job may not be my “ultimate job” but does it provide me with future opportunity or help develop skills that I may need in the future?
  2. Do I feel invigorated or challenged on the job at least one time per week?
  3. Overall, are my abilities and skills being utilized on the job?
  4. Do I live for the weekend and look forward to 5:00 everyday?
  5. Do I have any physical symptoms that I can attribute to work, such as head-aches, anxiety, or inability to sleep?

If you answered no to any of the questions 1-3 and answered yes to any of the questions 4-5, then you need to seriously consider a career change. But just in case you are still on the fence about making such a change, ask yourself this final “million dollar” question.

If I won the lottery tonight, would I quit my job?

A. No, I would not quit my job.

  1. No, I would work a few more years. I am too young to retire.
  2. Yes, but not immediately. I would wait until I speak with my family and a financial planner.
  3. Yes, my desk would be cleaned out by tomorrow.
  4. YIPPPEEE! I would send my boss an email and never look back!

Believe it or not, there are many people who are satisfied with their career and would actually keep their current job even if they hit the jackpot. If you answered “D” or “E” to this question then you are ready for a change. Did you know that the average person will spend over 90,000 hours on the job over her lifetime? If you are going to spend that many hours working, why not enjoy what you do? Don’t spend any more time on a career that is not right for you. Now is the time to figure out what career would keep you on the job, even if you were to win the big bucks.