So you’re feeling a bit “blah” about your career situation. Bored, perhaps. Uninspired. You find yourself on that eternal quest for distraction from what you’re supposed to be doing. The tasks are there, but you can’t seem to put the mental or emotional energy into getting them done. (Maybe you’re even finding it hard to care about doing them.) Well, there’s some good news here: You have nothing to worry about. Take a deep breath because these feelings are normal, healthy even. These feelings are signs you may need a career change.
But let’s not jump to conclusions. These feelings may just be part of the natural undulation of human motivation. Sometimes we’re really into our careers – we’ve got that groove going on, that dopamine-firing state of flow – and then the wave crests and we dip into one of those “blah” phases – where passion dries up, apathy sets in and it can be impossible to get out of bed in the morning.
So how do you know if you’re just in the midst of a temporary “state of blah” or you’re truly in need of a career change? This one question will start to clear things up for you:
What are my current priorities, and how do they mesh with my current career path?
Why do human beings work? Why do we have jobs? There are three main motivators that provide the spark for any career. These “career sparkplugs” are financial stability, personal fulfillment/engagement and well-being/flexibility. Keep in mind that these are in no particular order, and the way you rank them in importance will shift as you experience new things, meet new people and enter different phases of your life.
This motivator is pretty simple. We live in a society where financial health matters – where, for most people, money in some form or amount is required to survive and thrive. And this requirement snowballs pretty quickly if you’ve got a family to take care of and/or kids to send to college. Being motivated by money does not mean you’re materialistic or selfish. It may mean you’re at a point in your life where money matters most. And this may not be a permanent situation.
This motivator is more about passion, inspiration and creativity. And don’t think you need to be an artist, writer or musician to be motivated by creativity! All jobs have aspects of creation. Accountants create, carpenters create, doctors create, landscapers create, office managers create. We are all creators, and this is what gets us excited about doing our jobs. Think about it: A mechanic has to assess a situation and, in his or her head, play around with the variables – what parts may not be working, what systems may not be linking up, what inputs/outputs aren’t being sent/received, what necessary processes aren’t happening. This is no different than the way a painter mentally imagines light hitting a tree, and then figures out how to manifest it on physical canvas. This authentic engagement with the problem-solving/creation aspect of your job, that feeling of personal fulfillment, is absolutely critical to enjoying it.
This motivator hits on your holistic happiness. This is where job satisfaction and work-life balance come into play – how content you are with what you’re doing every day, how much you enjoy the people you work with and how harmoniously the job fits into other aspects of your life (family, relationships, health/sleep, hobbies). This is not just about having a job that’s awesome, but having a job that makes the rest of your life awesome as well. A job that’s healthy for all the parts of, and people in, your life.
So, what do your priorities look like?
Fulfillment first, finances last? Or maybe health and well-being is at the top of your list? Whichever way you’re currently stacking up your priorities, assess how your job lines up with it all.
- If things aren’t going perfectly, but your job matches up with the areas in your life you care about most, then your current career is probably okay and you’re just going through one of those “blah” phases. You could just be having issues with your employer or your team, for example, and maybe working out those issues will help things fall into place.
- If your job and your priorities are at odds, then thinking about a career change is definitely your next step.
Sometimes, just the act of mulling things over – reflecting on where you are now and how that fits with where you want to be – helps smooth things out. Sometimes, though, that career change is absolutely necessary, and turns out to be the best thing you do for yourself (and your future self).
Remember: You deserve the best job for you, and there’s always a way to make it happen.
Just not sure if a career change is the right change to make? No worries! Helping you clear things up is what TPG Staffing Solutions Specialists do best. Whether you just need to mull things over or you’re ready to make that job switch, we’ll help you make the next move that makes the most sense for you.