Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith – move forward into the unknown while hoping it will work out well. Changing careers can feel like one of those moments, although here at The Ambition Plan, we truly believe it doesn’t have to be. If you’re eager to make sure the career change you’re seriously considering is a good idea, here are six signs that you’re about to make a bad career decision.
You have to talk yourself into the career decision
No job or career is perfect, but if you’re about to make a career change and you are trying to convince yourself it will be alright – even though it doesn’t feel like a good idea – it’s likely that you already know it’s a bad move.
Did you get bad vibes during the job interview, but are telling yourself it was your imagination?
Is the commute a nightmare or the salary much lower than you need to live, but you’re convincing yourself it will all be fine once you get used to it?
Moving forward despite these reservations is a recipe for disaster because making huge compromises on your needs and values will be hard to tolerate in the long term. Avoid the temptation to press ahead. Instead, pause and explore if there’s another way forward.
Everyone – absolutely everyone – is warning you against it
Sometimes you have to do things unconventionally to achieve unconventional results. And when you decide to walk the road less travelled by making a drastic career decision, it’s pretty common for family and friends to advise you to stay in your existing career.
However, if you find that everyone you speak to – that includes friends, family, colleagues, people in the industry you want to move to and career coaches – says the move is a bad idea, it’s time to listen carefully.
When you feel passionate about an idea, it’s easy to romanticise it or dive into it without adequate preparation. If everyone is advising against your upcoming career change, it’s time to stop and check that you are making a move you won’t regret.
Career decisions you need to think very carefully about include turning your passion into your job or going to work for a company that is rumoured to have a toxic/dysfunctional culture.
You’re running away from your current job
The best career decisions always come from a place of empowerment, rather than escape. If you’re trapped in a nightmare situation and eager to get away, ALL alternatives (even the really bad ones) can feel better than staying where you are.
The problem with job hunting when trying to escape a horrible job is that your standards tend to plummet.
However, when the relief of being away from your former job wears off, you are likely to notice that you settled for many things that simply aren’t acceptable to you or aligned with what you need from a job.
If your current job is having a negative impact on your happiness and mental health, avoid finding ANY job to escape to. Instead, explore if you can do anything to improve the situation while you’re looking for a better job. If that is impossible, consider taking time out (that may involve taking a sabbatical, extended sick leave or constructive dismissal) and use that time to look for a better job.
Your career decision feels ‘off’
Most of us have been there: you’re about to make a big career decision, but something about it just feels ‘off’. And because you can’t pinpoint exactly why you feel a little uneasy about the situation, it’s easy to dismiss it as your imagination.
Don’t. A feeling of something being ‘off’ is your gut talking. Never ignore it.
We’re not saying that you should turn down your dream job because of a non-descript feeling, but you should certainly pause any big decision until you’ve gotten to the bottom of your apprehension. This is where doing your research on a company or industry becomes really important.
Finally, it’s vital to do some soul-searching to really understand what you want in life and from your career. It’s also wise to review if the career move you’re about to make will help you achieve that. Sometimes a warning from your gut is a warning that you’re going off track from your life purpose.
You’re dreading getting started
In life, you sometimes have to do things you don’t want to do, simply to grow and get to the next level. However, while many jobs are less than perfect, at least something about your new job should make you feel interested, happy and excited.
If you are absolutely dreading the thought of taking on a new role, it’s time to take a closer look at if you are making a good move.
Start by reflecting on your thought processes. Are you dreading it because you’re worried you won’t measure up? That’s more about your confidence than about the role itself. Feelings of imposter syndrome are common and shouldn’t stop you from making a career change.
However, if everything about the job fills you with a sense of misery and doom – beyond reservations about your own competency – that’s a sign that you may be about to make a really bad career decision.
You’re doing it for anyone other than yourself
It’s easy to dive into a new career to prove a point to others; however, the problem with doing this is that you’ll most likely fall into what we like to call the ‘external validation trap’. By this, we mean that if you start a new career to gain others’ respect or to prove others wrong, that career or job will only feel good to you for as long as those you want to gain validation from are aware of what you’re doing.
Unfortunately, the only person who is privvy to what you do in your career 24/7 is you. This means that when the ‘high’ of proving that person wrong or getting the attention of that person wears off, you may find yourself wondering why you’re even in that job or realising that you don’t actually like the career you fought so hard to break in to.
That’s why so many people who enter specific career fields to make their parents happy eventually feel unfulfilled and like the work they do doesn’t matter – and that’s because it matters to their parents, not them!
If you want to create a career you love and that makes you feel happy and fulfilled in the long term, the only person’s approval you should prioritise is your own.
Are you considering a big career move or change and want to make sure you’re making a good move? Check out if The Ambition Plan’s Career Clarity Bootcamp can help you kick serious ass in 2019!
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