December 6, 2017
Last Updated:
January 28, 2021

How to Know It’s Time for a Career Change

If you love your career—that is, you wake up each morning eager to get to the office and tackle the assignments for the day—that’s awesome. It means you’re in the right place at the right time and feel energized and empowered.

However, it’s common to become less motivated in your career or to desire a new path. Plus, as values and passions often evolve, you might find yourself shifting into various career channels and roles throughout your life. No matter what you’re doing, you’ll want your line of work to fit in with your personal and professional goals and lifestyle.

Here are a few signs that it might be time for a change and some tips for transitioning with ease, all thanks to IIN alum and career coach Liz Traines.

The Signs
If you feel like you can’t speak your mind or follow your instincts as a means to contribute, it could mean you’re no longer feeling connected and dedicated to the company you’re with.

“This can be a sign of a misalignment in values. Ideally, you want your personal vision for yourself to align with your role and the greater company mission,” she explains. 

Another factor might be a lack of motivation to get to work or coercion to forgo your favorite hobbies or social plans in favor of doing work—when that work isn’t uplifting.

If you’re “constantly saying no to the things you’d like to do in your personal life (because work takes up too much time and energy) and you’re left feeling exhausted or the ‘Sunday Scaries’ are keeping you up at night and sometimes ruining your entire Sunday,” it could be a red flag. A career move could make a huge difference to your well-being and priorities! 

If you’re not focused at the office or feel unchallenged, it could also signify a need to switch roles and career paths. “During the workday, you might find yourself snacking when you’re not hungry, drinking multiple cups of coffee to keep yourself awake, or Internet browsing more than you’d like to admit. This can be a sign you're no longer engaged in what you're doing,” says Traines.

If you’re bored or your current role isn’t playing to your greatest strengths, it might feel like you have untapped talent that you never get to use, she says.

woman sitting outside with mug in front of plant

Tips for Transitioning
Next step? Find a new passion or role that enhances your life and helps you hone those skills. Get curious about the root of your career dissatisfaction. Isolating and understanding the problems will help prevent you from bringing the problems to a new role.

Examples might include “Is it how your current boss treats you?” “Do you not feel connected enough to your work?” “Is the culture not the right fit?”

Consider other opportunities at your current organization that may be better for you. A lot of people assume they need to leave a company to be happy, but that's not always the case.

Get clear on what you’re best at: Think about things like listening, learning, and curiosity to figure out what you excel in and how best to apply those skills.

And bring it back to your own personal values, says Traines. “Determine your non-negotiable core values that must be present in your life or career and make sure that future opportunities will align with these values (or give you time to live that value outside your career),” she says.

Last, ask for help if needed. “Making a change can be really difficult and isolating, but reaching out to people you trust can help you build perspective, strengthen relationships, lead to informational interviews, and, eventually, roles you never knew existed,” she explains.


Have you ever changed careers or sought new opportunities within your current profession to pursue your passions? Please share your personal stories below.

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