Is your job really a fit for you?
All too often, friends of mine have ended up in careers that slowly drained their energy and self-respect.
They could have avoided years in the wrong job by just taking a closer look at the concerns below…
If you’re finding a lot of these worries below ring true for you, it’s worth putting a lot of energy into finding new work and reassessing your career goals.
Let’s take a look…
1) You’re not following your passion
What do you love to do so much that you lose track of time?
It could be buying and selling stocks or it could be working in construction…
It could be repairing boats or doing insurance sales.
Your passion doesn’t have to be “unique” or particularly interesting to me or anybody else, but it has to be something that you really get lost in and excel at.
You love doing it and you also get to use your skills (more on that in the next point).
If your job isn’t providing this for you it’s not the best fit. Simple as that.
2) You’re underusing your skills
Are you at a job where your skills aren’t really being used?
Friends of mine with mid-level government jobs have had this experience working in bureaucratic government positions, for example:
They’re well paid with fair hours, but they feel like they’re not using their skills.
Their job bores them with repetitive tasks that don’t challenge their intellect or creativity in any way.
If you’re working in white collar work and feel much more inclined to work with your hands in blue collar work, it’s time for a change…
If you’re working in an industry that you find boring and repetitive, think about branching out…
3) The work environment throws you off your game
Not every job can be a friendly, welcoming place.
And that can actually be a good thing.
You may experience a growth in your knowledge or toughness under bosses and colleagues who are frankly a**holes.
Extremely polite and pleasant workplaces can become places of complacency and conformity.
But if your work environment has become toxic to the point you’re actually feeling bullied or no longer motivated, it’s time to get out.
Your personality may respond to tough love and a bit of good-natured rough-and-tumble talk, but if it’s crossing the line into all-out aggressive behavior, you probably aren’t a fit.
Unless you find that you also want your work to become like a daily cockfight, your personality is going to be a match in a more copasetic place of work.
At the same time, if you find your job overly polite and dainty, it may also be a little too quaint and proper for somewhere that aligns more with your type A personality.
4) The job doesn’t fit with your ambitions
When there are no more opportunities for growth in your organization, it’s only a fit for you if you don’t want to grow.
I don’t mean that as an insult.
If you have a personality that seeks out routine and stability and aren’t looking to do a lot of vertical movement in your career, this can be the right place for you.
But if you’re ambitious and want to move around a lot in your career, then an organization that’s not giving you room to grow is the wrong place.
Talk it over with your superiors and relay your concerns. If nothing changes, do your best to move on to a new job.
5) The future of the company doesn’t line up with your future plans
Where do you see yourself in five years?
It’s the interview question that’s become a stereotype it’s asked so often.
But it’s actually a good question, even if you don’t have an answer right now.
Here are the top three signs your company or job isn’t lined up with you in this regard:
- The company or job isn’t forward-thinking and ambitious and you are
- The company or job is overly ambitious and constantly changing and this doesn’t line up with your need for stability
- The industry you’re in is changing or going in a direction that’s contrary to where you want to move or the lifestyle you want to have down the road.
6) Your job goes against your ethics or core values
If you’re a vegetarian, you shouldn’t work in a butcher shop unless it’s the only way for you to earn a living and stay alive.
Some vegetarians I know are committed to the extent that they still wouldn’t even if it was the only job left.
But on the subtler level, does your job line up with your values?
If you strongly value honesty but you’re working for a news organization that spins everything in ways you find dishonest, it’s time to start thinking about new organizations to work for or even a new career…
If you have a great work ethic and talent for sales but you’re now finding the real estate development industry full of dishonesty and hype, is it really a fit?
If your job goes against what you stand for and care about, it’s time to branch off from it or at least find a new organization to work for.
If you’re not quite sure, think a bit more about what your core values are…
7) You’re not being paid adequately to your needs
The subject of salary is an important one.
How much is enough?
This honestly depends on your needs and your ambitions.
At the bare minimum, you need enough to support yourself and any dependents while having money for rent, mortgage and food (as well as utilities).
You can also get a good idea of whether your salary matches the average in your industry.
Never walk away from a job without having another job, if you ask me, but also don’t be afraid to straightforwardly ask for a raise.
Your boss can always say no.
But at the same time, if you have other opportunities or offers, do be prepared to walk away.
8) You need more work-life balance
Some members of my family are workaholics.
My grandfather used to work a full day at his engineering firm and then come home and work three or four hours more, fitting dinner somewhere in there.
He was so dedicated to his job and enjoyed it so much, that relaxing was difficult for him to enjoy.
Others find working too much difficult, not due to laziness (not necessarily, anyway!) but sometimes because they are just a more life-focused, relaxed person.
It’s important to find out where you stand and how much you want to work versus having flexibility or time off.
If your job is all wrong on this, it’s probably not going to work unless your boss is able to adjust your schedule.
9) You dread going to work each day
How do you feel in the morning (or evening) when you get ready for your job?
If you feel a bit stressed, that’s fairly normal.
But if you feel dread almost like you want to vomit, it means you’re not a fit in the job.
Your body and heart are telling you to please find other work for you to do that will give you more respect and fulfillment as a human being.
10) You can’t imagine yourself there in the long run
If your job isn’t something you can imagine yourself doing in the long run, it’s the wrong fit.
Your job should be a place where you can grow and where you feel at home in terms of who you are.
The only exception to this is if your job is only a stepping stone to another career phase that you already have planned out.
If not, it’s time to head for the hills and find something new.
11) Your job is overwhelming and causes you physical and psychological stress
Having a job that’s difficult can be a very good thing, if you ask me.
Much wonderful achievement and progress have emerged from hard jobs.
But if your job is actually causing you psychological breakdowns or problems with your physical health, it’s time to find other work.
Far too many people sacrifice their wellbeing on the altar of their job, and it’s something they later regret bitterly.
What to think about before leaving your job
Before leaving your job or even getting serious about quitting, you should have other opportunities lined up.
Don’t act on impulse or recklessly, as you may come to regret it.
At the same time, if you find that your job isn’t a fit for your personality, you’ll be much better off by having the bravery to walk away when possible.