You’ve successfully switched careers or made the leap from a dull corporate workplace to one of the world’s coolest offices, and while it’s all going OK, you can’t help but feel like something is a bit off. Could it be that your new nine-to-five just isn’t as amazing as you thought it would be? Though acknowledging the sinking feeling is a huge bummer, it could be that your new professional challenge just isn’t *perfect* for you. To help you assess and power through, we consulted with a handful of career experts. Scroll on for the signs they say are surefire ways to know that you’re in the wrong job — along with their awesome advice for handling it.
1. You can’t seem to cut it, even after you’ve asked for help. You might have had an amazing onboarding experience and feel excited about all of the work you’ve been hired to do, especially if you’re trying something totally different. However, there are times when a job just won’t work out no matter how hard you try or how many people you ask for help. If you’re struggling to understand your role or projects and can’t find clarity to complete your tasks, you might just be in the wrong job.
2. You just CAN’T stay awake. Caileen Kehayas from Proven, a company that helps employers post to more than 100 job boards, says, “If you find that no matter how much sleep you get, coffee you inhale or cold water you slap on your face, you just can’t make it through a day without nodding off — it might be time to look elsewhere.” We’d be hard-pressed to disagree!
3. You’re stressed or disengaged. We’re firm believers that quality of life is a SUPER important quality of any great job out there. Caileen and her team at Proven agree, and tell us, “Tons of companies strive to create a culture with perks that help happiness, creativity and sometimes flexibility. If your job is stressing you out to the point of constant unhappiness, find a new one.”
Career coach Kamara Toffolo agrees that your mental state at work says a whole lot about whether or not you’re in the right job. “It’s absolutely normal to have the odd day where you just don’t want to work — sometimes you need a break. But when feelings like ‘I can’t do this’ haunt you every day, something is definitely wrong. Whether it’s something like burnout or even the feeling that you’re betraying your passions, it deserves exploration so you can identify the cause.” Well said.
4. You don’t know where you stand. Whether it’s moving targets or deliverables you’re proud of that receive little, if any, feedback, having a hard time pinpointing where you stand (and how you can improve!) is a solid reason to feel like you’re in the wrong job.
Kamara wisely shares, “It’s a boss’s job to give their team members feedback. When there isn’t any, it’ll be impossible for you to know how you can improve and grow.” If you’ve asked for feedback or direction and don’t receive any, you’re likely in the wrong role.
5. You’re embarrassed to tell people what you do for work. Career coach Deborah Scaramastra tells us that being proud of what you do is important for your career growth and personal satisfaction. She admits, “Though it might *seem* kind of snobby on a surface level, know that embarrassment usually stems from the fact that your job doesn’t call on your best skills or simply doesn’t align with your personal or moral values.” Are you selling yourself short, settling for less than your friends and family know you deserve or going against your beliefs? Check in with yourself.
6. You feel sick more often than before. Our bodies are REALLY good at letting us know when we’re doing work that isn’t right for us, especially when our minds don’t seem to have a clue. Deborah notes, “If you’re plodding away at a job and collecting a paycheck, thinking this may be all there is to life but feel sick without a good reason or medical diagnosis, you might be stressed, overwhelmed or unhappy with your work.” Pay attention to when you feel the worst to see if you can figure out trends. Do headaches always seem to creep in on Sunday night? How about stomach aches on Tuesday mornings, the day of your team meeting? See what you can learn about yourself and then figure out what steps you can take to start feeling better.
7. You can’t explain what you do. Unless you’re working on something super secret or in an area where people truly can’t understand how you clock your professional hours, you should be able to clearly sum up what you do in a simple sentence or two. Deborah backs us up. “If you can’t tell someone in a sentence or less what you do (and how you add value!) then you’re probably not in the right job.”
8. The culture just doesn’t fit. Struggling to fit in at work can be exhausting. Maybe even worse, experiencing the pain of it means that you don’t feel comfortable as your true self. Kamara notes, “Sometimes we have to change our persona a bit to fit our work culture, or be more strategically stoic to ensure we put our most professional face forward. But if you find that while you’re at work you’re judgmental or gossipy when outside of the office you would be a caring, compassionate person, something at work is definitely not right.”
If you find that your work environment just doesn’t suit you, first try to figure out what it is that makes you feel stressed, off or insecure. Then, evaluate whether it’s the type of people, your role or the company structure and values. Remember: A mismatch isn’t the end of the world. It might just be that you’re better suited for a small business, fast-paced startup or big corporation — all of which there are plenty of.
9. You can’t build relationships. Building strong relationships with the people on your team is incredibly important to your long-term happiness at work. Career coach Jeffrey Kelley reminds us that it’s also key for your company, since the whole team produces more, overcomes problems faster and innovates when it’s built on strong relationships. He says, “If you feel like you’ve been on a team for a while but the real relationships just aren’t there after you’ve done your part to build them, it’s time to look for a new job.”
10. You know you can do more. If you have a nagging feeling that your current role is limiting what you can offer, it might be time to move on to a more challenging position that’s a better job for you and the career path you hope to follow.
Jeffrey says, “Being at a company that doesn’t have an opportunity that can help you achieve your next career goal is okay when you’re getting skills you’ll need later. But, when you’re not getting anything that will help you to your goal in your current role AND there are no other position opportunities that’ll help you move forward, it’s time to move on.”
Have you ever been in the wrong role? Tell us how you knew it wasn’t the job for you on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)