7 questions to ask yourself before changing careers

Guest article from career strategist Megan Dalla-Camina

If you think it’s time for a career or job change, there are many things to consider before making any big moves or drastic changes like giving up your job.

A common motivator for career change comes in the form of liking what you do (or part of what you do), but not being 100% happy in the role you’re in. If this sounds like you, then the following questions might help you determine if it is time to move on.

7 questions to ask yourself before changing careers

1. Do you have a clear passion and purpose?

People often give up a job they may not like with little clarity about what they actually want to do instead. This is a recipe for disaster (think train wreck). What are you really passionate about? What is your purpose in the world, or what could it be? What do you feel called to do? If you have a firm idea already, look at what you can do to further solidify it. If you don’t, start journalling and rediscovering what you most want to do, and how it will serve both yourself and others.

2. Are you enjoying your role?

It may seem like the most obvious question ever, but people often overlook enjoyment and undervalue it. . If you’re not gaining satisfaction from your work output, you dread heading into work each day and feel flat about your current projects, then it’s pretty simple – it’s time to look for your next opportunity.

3. Do you like and respect your manager?

Many people think that it’s normal to hate your boss and that you need to suffer in silence to get ahead. Sometimes this is true, but not as a general rule. There are times in your career where you may need to take a role or a project with a manager who is not your ideal boss, but you do it to get the skills or experience you need. When that is the case, you just have to get on with it, and take the experience for what it is. But in most cases, you should not have to grin and bear it. People usually don’t leave jobs or companies – they leave managers.

If you don’t respect your manager or feel that they don’t have your best interests at heart, then it’s worth considering seeking out new opportunities.

4. Are you still growing in your role?

Where are you at with your skills development and growth? Each role has a different learning and development curve depending on what your entry point is. Looking at where you are on that curve can help you answer your question about the right timing to leave.

If you still have a lot to learn, and more skills needed to get to your next role, then it may be best to stay for the development opportunities or consider taking up external study to advance your current career. However if you are nearing the end of the curve and a new position comes up that provides the chance for growth, then that is definitely worth considering.

5. Does the role align with your long-term goals?

Reflect on your career aspirations and where your current position fits in. Are they in alignment? Sometimes after being in a role for a period of time, your overall career trajectory can change. If your mid to long term plans have shifted, then you may need to change roles to realign with your aspirations.

6. Is your job making you sick or overly stressed out?

This might be the easiest sign that it is time to move on. If you are constantly stressed, can’t find any semblance of balance, are always negative about your work/boss/company, or just plain miserable when you even think about work, then it’s time to move on.

Work related stress is one of the major causes of illness and depression. You need to be able to manage your life with whatever job you have, and your health and happiness is a key component of that. If this isn’t possible, then you have your answer. If you have the option to look for something else, then do it immediately. No work is worth getting sick over. Move on now.

7. Are you too scared to change?

Many people sit in roles for far too long, as they are fearful of making a mistake and taking on a new role that doesn’t work out. This is understandable, of course. Fear is a potent motivator, but it often results in us getting stuck.

Changing jobs or moving companies does contain risk. You often need to build new relationships, different skills, and re-establish credibility. You need to ensure that you can mitigate this risk with the size of the opportunity and the potential for growth, or increased enjoyment in your role.

If you don’t like where you’re at or don’t feel valued for what you do, these are good reasons to consider a move. Sit with these questions, tap into your intuition, and get real with yourself about the answers. And remember, sometimes we just feel like it is time, and you need to trust yourself with that too.

Megan Dalla-Camina is the best selling author of Getting Real About Having It All: Be your best, love your career and bring back your sparkle. A former corporate executive, Megan is a business, career and creative strategist, as well as a coach, writer and speaker on women, leadership and well-being.