You have arrived at a pivotal juncture in your professional life when you are in your 30s. You’ve got a good deal of experience under your belt; you’ve been promoted several times, and you make a satisfactory income for your position. On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that it is not going to make much of a difference how quickly you are moving if you are wandering in the erroneous way.
It is essential to set the correct goals before beginning any endeavor if you want to have any chance of succeeding in reaching those goals and having those successes actually add to your level of happiness and overall satisfaction in life. Having a clear understanding of what your actual priorities are, should be your first and foremost objective at this time.
Getting to a list of your top three values is good while attempting to identify your personal values, which is a wonderful strategy to accomplish this goal. Next you should inquire of yourself whether or not these beliefs are truly reflected in your career and the way you live your life now. If this is not the case, you might begin by formulating objectives that correspond with those values, followed by the development of a strategy to realize those objectives.
- You have reached a point where you can no longer improve yourself and learn new things
If you find that every part of your position is becoming routine, if you find that you are continuously bored, and if you believe that you no longer have any prospects to advance either in this role or in another role at your current organization, then you would be better off looking for a new challenge. There are times when you simply need a change to jolt your existence and propel you back onto that steeper learning curve.
- The benefits are no longer sufficient to balance the drawbacks
If the amount of money you make doesn’t make up for the amount of stress and overtime you put in, if there are fewer and fewer opportunities to have fun at work, and if the interesting projects don’t make up for the monotonous work you have to do, then you should probably look for a job where the stress-to-benefit ratio is better. It is up to you to determine what you are willing to tolerate in a job because no job is going to be enjoyable for you 100 percent of the time.
- There is no cause for concern
Things don’t always have to be bad; sometimes they’re just okay or fine. Do you intend to lead your life in such a manner – somewhat unremarkable, with activities proceeding in an unremarkable manner but lacking in ardor, excitement, and a genuine sense of accomplishment? Sometimes you just get the feeling that there must be something more to life than this, even when there isn’t necessarily a great catastrophe going on. Something that is even better than just fine.
- You practically exist just for the weekends
Something is not right if, on a Monday morning, you are already counting the days until the weekend, and if, upon entering the office, you immediately begin counting the hours until you can leave to go home – there is a problem. Although there are certainly moments when work is challenging, it should also be fulfilling and enjoyable. If you despise the time that you spend at work – whether it’s four hours, forty hours, or more – then there is no amount of life that will make up for the fact that you have to spend so much time there.
- You are going perilously close to reaching the point of burnout
We all put in a lot of effort at work, whether it’s staying late to meet a stringent deadline, checking emails while we’re on vacation, or going the extra mile to deliver a flawless presentation. However, if you’re staying late every day, if you’re constantly feeling anxious and stressed out, and if you’re not taking care of your health, then it may be time for you to take a break or find a lifestyle that is more balanced.
- The principles that the company upholds do not fit with your own
If you find that you fundamentally disagree with the general direction of the company, or if your boss makes decisions that go contrary to what you believe, and if you realize that your values are not aligned with those of the company, the best thing for both you and the company will be to find a role that is a better match for what you believe in. This will be the right thing to do for both you and the company. Working for something that you have no interest in or, even worse, something you believe to be unethical may be very damaging to your spirit.
- You can’t shake the nagging feeling that you should be doing something else
If your instincts are telling you that it’s time to make a change, and if you have a desire that you’ve been daydreaming about pursuing for years, then the timing may finally be right for you to turn that dream become a reality. You might have a concept for a business that is completely formed in your head, or you might want to pursue something that is more creative, or you might just want to go out and tour the world. This is maybe the finest reason to quit, as you’re not just escaping from something unpleasant, you’re escaping to something amazing!
You could ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I getting out of my current job (both in terms of tangible advantages and intangible benefits such as happiness and growth)? Where is it lacking?
- What are my next steps in this role that I currently hold? (Your manager should also respond to this inquiry.)
- Which of the following is most essential to me: having a secure employment, a good wage, opportunities for growth and learning, leading others, etc.?
- In what capacity do I hope to see myself in the next five years? Ten?
- What advantages might I gain by switching careers?
The next step to take is:
Your motivations for wanting to change, as well as your responses to the questions that were presented earlier, will determine the next steps that you take. You might make the decision that all you need to do is go to a similar job in a different company, or even a new industry; you might be wanting to move into the not-for-profit sector; or you might wish to launch your own company. If you haven’t already, I would recommend doing some study on what it would take for you to make that move. This is just some broad advice that you may use as a general reference.
Take a look at the available positions, which are currently being advertised as follows: Does your profile meet the job description? In order to get qualified, do you need to acquire any specific skills or attend any specific classes? Which books can you study to learn more about this emerging sector or profession so that you can make smarter decisions? What kinds of conferences and other opportunities for networking are available in order for you to make connections with people who are already there?
When people decide to make such a significant adjustment in their lives, one of their primary concerns is typically about their financial situation, especially if there is a possibility that their wage may be reduced. If this is something that concerns you, it is in your best interest to examine your financial situation in great detail as soon as possible rather than putting it off until later. Should you make an effort to reduce your spending in order to build up a savings cushion in preparation for when you finally give up? How long do you estimate it will take you to save this much money? In other words, when do you think you will be able to say goodbye to your job for good?
You might want to explore working with a career coach if you’re genuinely concerned about whether or not switching careers is the best decision for you, or if you just want some additional support from someone who is objective and neutral. In either case, the help would be beneficial.