October 15, 2014
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

Sharon’s Take: How to Tell if You’re on the Wrong Career Path

There’s a lot that goes into our decisions about what career to pursue. Sometimes it’s finances, or family expectations, or a fluke job opportunity—and sometimes we truly follow our dreams. But even in those rare cases, there can come a day when the passion that once got you out of bed in the morning begins to weigh you down instead.

I know, I’ve been there.

After studying theater in college, I moved to New York City to pursue a career as an actress. Before long, I’d gone on tour in a children’s play and was performing a one-woman cabaret. It was my supposed dream, and yet I wasn’t happy.

Acknowledging this was tough. Really tough. I was overwhelmed by the idea that “I have to do this because I said I would,” and felt like I couldn’t turn away from the subject I’d studied in school.

But whenever I went to Barnes & Noble, I walked as quickly as possible past the theater books and toward the nutrition books. I felt myself losing my passion for what I’d always loved—performing—and developing a new passion for health and wellness.

Ultimately, I acknowledged that my acting ambitions were no longer aligned with who I was. Because I knew that I couldn’t be one of those people who did something that made me stressed out and anxious every day, I realized it was time for a big change. Having that realization was scary, but also the best thing I’ve done for my health and happiness.

If you’re unsure about whether you’re on the right career path, here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to tell if it’s time to move on:

1)      How do you feel on Sunday night (or any night before going back to work after a day or two off)?

woman sitting outside with mug in front of plant

Do you have a knot of dread in your stomach thinking about going into work the next day? If so, that’s a major red flag. Your career should be something that nourishes you just as much as anything else in your life. If it’s bringing negativity instead, it’s time to make a change.

2)      How do you feel when you get home from work?

If your job is leaving you so drained that all you have the energy to do after a day at work is flip on the TV and zone out, then it’s not serving you as it should. When you’re in the right job, you feel vibrant after a day at work, and ready to socialize with friends, cook a healthy meal, or pursue other hobbies that make you happy.

3)      What do you do with your free time?

Do you find yourself still drawn to the things that led you to your career, or is your gut pulling you toward other interests? For me, the “Barnes & Noble phenomenon” showed me that I wasn’t in love with acting anymore. Look at how you enjoy spending your time, and see if it aligns with your current career. 

Of course, making a career change is a big deal, and can often feel intimidating. But there’s no need to make a drastic change all at once—for me, I was able to get my Health Coach certification and build my practice little by little on the side, until the idea of leaving my job felt more manageable. Simply learning more about a passion of yours can give you a renewed sense of purpose that makes the right choice for you crystal clear.

If you’re passionate about health and wellness and ready to make a change in your career path, now is the perfect time to do it. Get started with Integrative Nutrition's Health Coach Training Program today to see what living your dream really feels like!

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