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How Do You Know When It’s Time to Change Jobs?

Matthew Cuddeback LCSW 

A difficult fact to consider is that not everyone is going to be working in their dream job. This is something that can be frustrating and disappointing, but it doesn’t have to be. For some this can be completely healthy and acceptable. For others this can be motivation to change. Below, we will discuss a few ways to understand the feelings you might be having and whether or not they suggest it is time to change jobs. 

  1.     Is it a Temporary Frustration? Often when we feel frustrated and think about changing our jobs it is because there is something that is presently bothering us at work. However, these kinds of frustrations can be temporary. Ask yourself is this something that will pass soon? Is it just the current project? Or a momentary setback? Give it time to see if your feelings change after that situation passes.
  2.     Can you Solve the Problem? Is it something that you just need to address to change? If you are struggling with a difficult boss or co-worker, it can be worth addressing. Maybe it’s time to talk to them, if it’s really bad then maybe it’s worth talking to HR. This can resolve the situation, if it does, do you still feel like you want to leave?
  3.     Is it Possible to Change Your Thoughts? Our thoughts impact our feelings and often create them. That’s why it’s important to recognize that if we change the way we think we can change the way we feel. Are you disappointed in the kind of work you are doing, or wish you were further along in your career? Sometimes it can be powerful to practice this change in thinking. Maybe it’s not that you aren’t where you want to be but that others make you feel you should be further along, maybe nobody does and it’s just negative self-talk. If you can practice this and it makes no difference in how you are feeling, then maybe it’s time change jobs, if it does make a difference then maybe you had some unhealthy thought patterns that needed to be changed.
  4.     How Hard is It to Change? Perhaps you have become more and more convinced by the need to change, then the next step is to consider how to make the change and more specifically, how hard is it to change? Sometimes the difficulty of change can be a deterrent, this can be good or bad, but either way it is worth examining. If it seems hard to make the change, and you still want to, then that is a powerful sign you are ready for a change. If it makes you decide to stay with your current job then that may be a sign to stay, or not, again, it is just about taking the information in.
  5.     What Kind of Change Are You Looking For? Is a small change needed? Would it be enough? Will that just not cut it anymore? Spend some time thinking about the specific change, is it that you just need some time off, get new assignments, or start trying for a promotion? Or is none of that good enough?
  6.     What Do You Want to Spend 80 Percent of Your Day Doing? This is a key question I like to ask. We all have a part of our job we spend most of our time doing, that thing, the thing we do for 80 percent of our time, is our job. Sometimes we try to convince ourselves the company is good, or the commute is short, or the promotion potential is high, even though we don’t like what we do day in and day out, and that will wear you down over time. If you find yourself doing something the majority of your time that you don’t like, then it might be time to change.

There is another important component to consider after you look at all of these questions, does it really matter that much to you? We often get hung up on external factors in our work and look for more when we are actually happy with what we have. For some people, they don’t need to be passionate about their work because it does what they need it to. There is nothing wrong with feeling like your job is just good enough, that can be completely healthy. However, if you keep finding yourself wanting to change your job try these steps above and of course feel free to reach out to meet with one of our skilled counselors at Symmetry Counseling if you want to explore more.

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