We can all agree that regret is a universal emotion, and we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives, “What am I doing?” and “How did I get here?”.
Well, no one’s perfect, and everyone has something they wish they could change. We make decisions that don’t always end up being good, and that’s difficult to admit, not just to others but to ourselves, too.
But how can you recognize someone who regrets their career choices? Maybe you’re that person, but you’re not ready to admit it yet, or maybe your colleague is on the way to realizing that for himself.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at behaviors that define people who regret their career choices but can’t admit it. Let’s see what they are.
1) They dread Mondays more than the rest of us
I’m sure all of us sometimes feel that shiver down our spine when we hear the word Monday, especially after a long weekend or a nice holiday we had.
We know it means back to work and back to reality.
Some people feel like that every single Sunday (yes, Sunday) as it means back to a vicious circle of unhappiness at work.
You’ll recognize them by being late to work, and guess what? It’s always on Monday.
They moan as soon they get to the workplace and always find some excuse for being late and sometimes don’t even try anymore to come up with a reasonable explanation.
Even a good old cup of coffee or a quick hallway chat won’t help.
2) They’re always checking the time, hoping it magically speeds up
As it’s not bad enough that it’s Monday, you’ll notice them checking the time all the time. They also move slowly around others, asking about time and trying to “kill” it.
My dear old friend, who I worked with at one point in my life, was having career choice doubts, too, and one of the things he was doing was being glued to his watch.
In the morning, he would even start the day optimistically, sitting at his desk, sipping his coffee. But a few minutes later, his time-checking extravaganza began.
Every hour or so, he would express his worries about time being very slow, asking if it was quitting time already.
It seems like he thought time would move faster if he stared enough at his watch.
In the beginning, it was very surprising to me as he was very good at work, and I don’t think he even realized what the real cause of this behavior was.
A few months later, he moved on from his position and took on new challenges that made him happier.
3) They’re openly counting down the days until the weekend or vacation
The same amount of effort that goes into checking the time also goes into counting the days until the weekend or vacation.
People who regret their career choices are only enthusiastic about weekends and vacations to come.
That’s where their freedom starts, as they feel like they’ve outgrown their current job.
When you see them on Fridays, you know the weekend is near as Friday is the only day you see them smile.
You’ll also know if they have some vacation coming up by detailing and marking off the calendar on their desk.
4) They’re procrastination pros
I’m sure you’re guilty of checking your social media at work as much as I am. But the difference between us and procrastination champions is drawing that line where it interferes with your work.
They’re drowning in social media during work hours and sometimes don’t even realize it.
Delaying and postponing important tasks and spending time scrolling through endless reels and posts will lead to a delay in completing important projects or not completing them at all.
Procrastination isn’t to be joked about, and it’s usually a cry for help.
Procrastination pros have mastered the art of finding anything and everything to do except the actual work.
It’s like having friends without benefits. Their work doesn’t benefit them at all.
But at least they have the cleanest and most organized work desks and all dinner plans in place, but their work-to-do list remains untouched.
5) They’re frequently ill on workdays
People who are having career second thoughts will try to avoid work as much as possible.
Work for them is the place where they don’t feel comfortable, and it reminds them of all the wrong choices they made.
The number of sick leave days increases, and sometimes you feel surprised they are at work at all. The thought of spending one more day at work is becoming unbearable for them.
Remember my friend earlier? He had a mysterious “fever” every other Friday, and this lasted for more than two months.
We all joked about how his immune system must have a calendar.
6) Always the first to know and share the latest office drama
Gossiping. We’re all curious about others’ lives. It’s simply in our nature. But people who have career doubts have an extra sweet tooth for it.
Sometimes, that’s the only way to move attention from themselves and their unhappiness.
They feel insecure and sometimes very bored, so everyone else’s troubles seem more interesting.
Sharing the latest office drama is a stress relief tool for them. It’s a coping mechanism where they can, for a short moment or two, forget their concerns.
7) Never volunteer for new projects or challenges
People who aren’t happy with their career choices won’t take on new challenges or projects at work.
They don’t feel enthusiastic enough to show their passion for the new project because they’re not happy with their current role.
They’re not interested in how this will benefit them or the company as they probably detached themselves from the role they’re in.
They won’t take any extra projects, either.
8) Extending lunch breaks to escape the office
If you’re unhappy with your career, extending the lunch break to escape the office seems like a precious window of freedom.
It’s a place where you don’t need to question yourself, and you can escape from whatever is happening in the office.
Your emails and phone calls can’t reach you, so why not extend this time of happiness?
If you notice someone at your work who is frequently late from lunch break, you’ll know why.
9) An endless stream of complaints about work
A person who regrets their career choices complains all the time about work.
Don’t get me wrong, we all complain about work. It’s what connects us all, but not to the extent that prevents us from doing any work or makes it a very unpleasant atmosphere for others.
If you have a colleague who grumbles all the time about the long hours, workload, your boss, or even other colleagues, it shows they might regret their career choice, and they may be in need of help and good conversation.
10) They have a lack of interest in celebrating achievements
If you doubt your career choices, your values and your job’s values are not aligned.
How can you feel fulfillment from company achievement if you think you shouldn’t even be there?
There is no motivation and passion in you, and you don’t think you deserve recognition.
You also don’t have the power to celebrate someone else’s achievement either. It’s more of a task than a celebration.
In your mind, you’re maybe even making some future job changes, so you feel like this doesn’t concern you.
If you notice the person who shows this type of behavior, or this person is you, try to think about how to help them, approach them, or let someone approach you.
Everyone needs a good conversation.
Regretting your career choices isn’t easy, and it takes a big toll on you. If you’re the person I’m talking about, don’t waste another moment of your life.
It’s difficult to admit that you wasted good years of your life doing what you don’t like because money was good or you had to.
But listen, no job is perfect all of the time, and trust me, good jobs are out there.
Try to take time to realize what you want and appreciate what’s in front of you, and if you can’t, move on.
What would happen if you did something differently? So, gather some friends, share your thoughts, and get some constructive feedback.
Make a plan and change your attitude. Also, if you see someone struggling with the same problems, be the friend who will help out, share a good word, and be there for them.
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