By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes
How many times have you realized your gut was trying to tell you something?
When I was in my early twenties, I worked in counterterrorism, pouring my hours into the Department of Defense. It was a solid career path, one I had worked incredibly hard for… but it wasn’t right for me. There I was, sitting in the Pentagon, when in a snap moment I realized I simply wasn’t supposed to be there. Everything felt wrong, and I knew something needed to change. I felt so helpless and scared, but realized it meant it was time to find myself. I had that gut feeling, the one I knew would guide me to the right path.
That’s why I decided to make the transition into my true calling, which would eventually be as a career coach and podcast host.
Realizing the career path I was on wasn’t truly fulfilling was hard for me to come to terms with, but it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. For me, I had an epiphany; one moment that truly opened my eyes up to the fact that I just wasn’t cut out to be a spy.
Nonetheless, I know not everyone gets that light bulb moment. So how can you figure out whether or not it’s time to switch jobs?
Maybe you’re feeling burned out, overwhelmed, stuck, or simply sick of your job. Maybe your gut is simply telling you it’s time to go. Whatever your reasons for examining your career may be, here are three questions you can ask yourself to gain clarity on the situation.
1. Is there room for me to grow?
If you’re like 87% of millennials, you probably desire job and career development. So ask yourself: How long have you been in your current position? Does it look like you’ll have the opportunity to grow into a bigger role, get a promotion, or otherwise have some upward mobility in your job? What’s most important is to be growing your skillset—even more so than the title on your resume or the dollars in your bank account. After all, it’s your skillset that will carry you in your career.
2. Am I feeling engaged?
As a career coach, I want clients to love what they do… But I must admit, I’m satisfied when a client even likes what they do. Perhaps it’s too much to ask yourself if you’re excited to go to work, but I do think you should check in with your energy. When you think about work, do you feel drained or energized? Ask yourself: Do you feel like your job is adequately challenging you? If not, that could be a red flag. Being engaged in your job is key to productivity and happiness. Your focus, presence, and energy all affect your performance at work, so being disengaged can also negatively impact your performance, leading to stress and feelings of incapacity.
3. Is this about work, or something else?
Are you thinking about leaving your job because of the work environment, or are other life factors feeding into the decision? Research indicates that employees don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. That’s why it’s so important to check in with whatever it is that’s influencing your disconnect. In fact, with many of my career coaching clients, it’s boiled down to the fact that their job is conflicting with their core values. Switching jobs, or any major change, can spike intense stress, so chances are if something isn’t going right in your personal life, this sort of change could be even more detrimental. Make sure your decision to switch jobs is about the job itself (unless there are extenuating circumstances, like needing to relocate).
In the end, it all comes down to your gut. Studies show that your gut is your ‘second brain,’ as it can actually help you make decisions as precisely as your ‘first brain.’ If something doesn’t feel right in your job, whether it’s the environment, the work, your boss, or any number of factors, only you know whether or not it’s time to switch jobs. But hopefully these questions can help give you a sense of clarity that will help you make a difficult, but potentially enriching and exciting, decision.
For a FREE course to land a new job you love, launch your dream business, or find your purpose, visit https://ashleystahl.com/