If You Have an Itch: 5 Signs It’s Time for a Career Transition and What to Do About It


Are you yearning for a career change? Perhaps it’s time to scratch that itch! As Tony Robbins put it, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” That is sage advice; you must take action because life is too short to be miserable at work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics performed an American Time Use Survey in 2014 and found that employed Americans ages 25 through 54 spend the majority of their waking hours working (8.9 hours), which is even more than time they spend sleeping (7.7 hours)! If you’re not satisfied with your job, that’s a lot of time spent in a place that makes you unhappy.

There can be many reasons to seek a change. Maybe you’re working under poor management, you’re bored, you’re not making good use of your skills, or you’d like to pursue a budding new interest. Here are a few signs it truly is time for a career shift and what you can do to make that happen.


  • Sign #1: Your body and mind feel worn out. All. The. Time.

Maybe you walk around stressed out to the max, day after day. Maybe you develop a chronic illness, like an autoimmune disease, which is all too common these days. You are tired, crabby, or lack stamina. You can’t recall the last time you had a headache-free week. And to top it off, your concentration is lacking at both work and home, while at the same time perhaps your temper is short. This is the point when your work is affecting your entire life. “All great changes are preceded by chaos,” says Deepak Chopra. Stop the chaos by changing your life and the rewards will be monumental.


  • Sign #2: You think about that dream job day and night.

Do you find yourself distracted all day by thoughts of a new job? So much so it is affecting your performance at work and your personal life? It is probably time to take action and explore the job you are actually interested in.

Think it’s too late for a career change? Think again. Julia Child worked for the CIA until she decided to try her hand at French cooking at age 37 and the famous folk artist “Grandma” Moses didn’t start painting until her 70s! You’re never too old or too established to make a major career transition.


  • Sign #3: You are bored.

 Oftentimes people “check out” when they are not fulfilled by their career. When you start to feel your work has no purpose it can be very difficult to stay engaged. This is a sure sign you want to be somewhere else, so take the steps to do just that!


  • Sign #4: You are underappreciated

If you’re putting in long hours, going above and beyond on projects, and making an extra effort to help your co-workers, you deserve to get a little recognition in return. Whether it’s a pay bump, a promotion, or just some old-fashioned praise (like a shout out at a company meeting or a thank you card from your boss), your efforts should be rewarded. If not, there are plenty of companies out there that would love to hire an over-achiever like you! It may be time to start looking.


  • Sign #5: Your company/industry is struggling

Our modern world is constantly changing. As new technologies and ways of living develop, outdated systems and products fall by the wayside. In the 1950s, you could easily make a living as a switchboard operator, milkman, or elevator operator, but it would be difficult to do so today! Similarly, the tech industry looks a lot different than it did in the mid-1990s. The focus is less on desktop computers and more on tablets, smart phones, 3D printing, and mobile app development.

Sometimes, it pays to take a step back and examine your industry (or company) with a critical eye. Will your company be a viable business in 10 years? 20? Look for warning signs like major budget cuts, an increase in outsourcing, or similar companies closing their doors.

So what do you do if you know in your heart it is time to move on? Take action! By making even baby steps, you will eventually reach your goal. If you take mammoth steps, you will make it all the quicker! Move toward your vision, even if you are scared. Instead of letting fear debilitate you, use it as a motivator. Embracing fear means embracing growth.


Need help forming your exit strategy? My next blog post will address specific steps to follow when transitioning from one career to another. Or, feel free to contact me for advice on navigating a transition.