Updated: Sep 5, 2021
"Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life" is a famous and regularly quoted quote from Confucius from around 500BC
It is nice to imagine we all have a choice in the job we do. While some people do, the reality for many of us is that we have no or little choice in the jobs we do. Or do we? Is career change an option?
I think it’s perfectly normal to love your job and simultaneously recognize the fact that it’s hard work.
That’s right—just because you sometimes feel stressed, overwhelmed, or even a little tired doesn’t mean that you’re in the wrong line of work. No one actually loves their job all of the time. No job is ever that perfect. Jobs can change over time too.
Having said that, it does make sense that if we love what we do, we will do it better, longer and with greater passion. But, if you do find yourself in a job that you once loved, and you spend most of Sunday dreading going to work on Monday it may be time for a change.
Here are some options to think about before you decide to quit:
1. Do nothing – for some people this may be their only option. There is always the option to do nothing. However, there is a reason you are reading this article. The reason why people stay so long in jobs they aren’t happy in is because they’re in their comfort zone and nothing changes when you are in your comfort zone.
2. Stay in the job but make some positive changes.
There are lots of ways in which you may be able to enhance or modify your current job to more closely match what you want. Here are some ideas for you to make positive changes to your existing job:
Talk to your manager about your career development, come up with your own action plan to develop your career.
Ask about opportunities that stretch your current capabilities.
Request a pay rise. Write out a list of all the reasons why you deserve a pay rise. This list should include additional responsibilities you are doing/would be prepared to do
Make small changes to your work environment such as moving your desk, so you can look out of a window; making some ergonomic changes to your work environment or taking short breaks to stretch or do a short mindfulness activity.
Change your perspective - focus on the good aspects of the job, rather than complaining about what is wrong
Be more assertive about your workload.
Find ways to manage your time more efficiently.
Seek out ways you can bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
3. Move to a new role in a new company
If you work for a larger company, look out for internal job opportunities. The benefit of moving to a new role in an existing company is that you don’t necessarily need the skills from the start. They may be happy to train you. If you make contacts with the right people , then a fantastic opportunity could be right in front of you. You just need to have the confidence to talk to your manager and then connect with the hiring manager and make a good first impression.
4. Move to a new company (school) doing a similar job
Sometimes a fresh start in a new environment will be all you need to regain your passion, motivation and job satisfaction. If you are in your comfort zone and a change of environment will provide you with new challenges to motivate you. You may find that the company values have changed, with new management, and they no longer align with yours. There might be challenges with colleagues that are making you uncomfortable or sapping your energy.
5. Change careers completely, and either
a) find a completely different career or
b) create your own business
There are many reasons why you might be considering a completely new career
As well as forced career change, such as a redundancy, relocation or for health reasons, many people choose to change career in their 40’s, 50’s or even 60’s
Some of these reasons include:
Looking for a new challenge
You feel that your skills are not being developed or challenged and your strengths are not being utilised. This makes you feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied.
Make a difference
You would like to find a job where you can really feel like you are making a difference. Wanting to make a difference in some way, is the main motivator (apart from money) for going to work. If you do not feel you are able to make a difference to the lives of others by what you do, then you are likely to feel very dissatisfied.
Your passion is elsewhere
Perhaps you chose or even were ‘forced’ into this career when you were younger, because of your parents’ expectations; a family to support or your financial situation at the time. This option was the safe choice with a guaranteed income, status etc. Although your career fulfilled the security requirement and earned you a good income, it didn’t bring you joy. Now you want to follow your passion and pursue a career that will give you pleasure.
Your values aren’t in alignment with the company’s/organisation’s values.
You can never be happy in the long term if you are working somewhere that is not in alignment with who you are and what you value.
As you get older your values may change so that they are no longer in alignment with the values of your organisation. Or the values of the organisation may change with new policy or management. Either way if you having to be a different person at work than you are at home and you care deeply about your basic values, this can result in high levels of stress and dissatisfaction.
As you get older, you may recognise the importance of a good work/life balance. After years of running around on hamster wheels you may want to get off the wheel and have more time to do other things. You may also be tired of long commutes to work which add hours to the time you can’t spend with your family. Unmanageable workloads or unreasonable time pressure are some of the many factors that contribute to burn out.
Finding a new career is a topic for another blog post and at the time of writing this I an creating an online course on career change. Sign up for my newsletter, if you would like to be kept informed of when the course is published because I will have a ‘special’ for my newsletter readers. You can also read my other blog posts on career change here
Do you jump out of bed every morning with excitement about going to work every morning? Do you wonder whether a career change is right for you?
If you are a teacher and you’d like to explore careers that are meaningful, align with your values and match your needs and requirements I can help.
If you are ready to quit teaching but don't know where to start, I have created a very short online course Getting Started in Career Change for Teachers that will help you to work out what you wnat from your new career and what you have to offer a new career. Click here to find out more about the course or here to book a complimentary discovery call.