Six signs that you're in the wrong job
I've been in the wrong job. Although I had suspected it for a while, I knew it for sure when a new international boss was appointed to run our team. She immediately wanted to bring in her own Senior Editor to lead the Canadian publication. (That was my job.) When the Canadian management team pointed out that they had gone to some effort to acquire me from a competitor, and that I had been the most successful front page editor in their history, she replied with the clearest sign I was in the wrong job: "I don't care about success."
She cared about being agreed with. She cared about local editors publishing the stories and the spin that she thought were important regardless of whether or not they generated actual measurable success: audience engagement, page views, traffic distribution, advertising revenue, and all the things that keep the lights on.
I couldn't be successful while being second-guessed and micro-managed from afar, and I would have been despondent watching my reputation and track record reduced to rubble. I said, "Yeah, you're going to need a new Front Page Editor."
This was although I didn't have another job lined up at the time, and I am the main breadwinner for my family. However, the only reason I would have stayed on in that demoralizing role would have been out of fear. And that's no way to live.
With more careful planning, I would have spotted the warning signs sooner, tapped my network, scoured for opportunities, and made an earlier exit.
Here are the signs that you're in the wrong job:
You're only in it for the money
As I mentioned, if you think about quitting every day, and it's only the fear of the lost revenue and finding another job quickly enough that keeps you going to work, you're in the wrong job. We all have bills to pay and responsibilities to meet, but if that is the only thing that motivates you to show up to work, you should be actively looking for something more fulfilling or enjoyable.
You don't enjoy the work itself
When you actually find the stuff you're paid to do all day uncomfortable, boring or distasteful, you should probably try something else. The way to succeed is to excel at something, and hopefully to do it with a positive attitude. Both are impossible when you hate what you're doing. In a recent Workopolis poll, 29% of our users said that "Enjoying the work itself" was their most important career goal. (Ranked as more important than becoming wealthy or even just achieving financial stability.)
You dread the idea of going to work
When work has become so unpleasant that you dread the very idea of having to go in, you're in the wrong job. Having it weigh on you that much means that you can't even enjoy your time off because of the looming return to work. This can lead to depression, substance abuse, stress-related illnesses and other health consequences that are just not worth it. Stay healthy and go someplace else.
The team is out to get you
This can happen when someone above you is looking to replace you, or when you are just not a good fit with the team and they have formed a clique to oust you. Either way, it's time to start looking for another gig. Signs that your coworkers are aligning against you include:
- credit for your accomplishments being given to others
- blame for any setbacks being directed to you
- feedback or comments on your work being sent to people over your head rather than to you directly
- team members routinely passive-aggressively putting down or questioning every decision you make
- you're told that your new boss doesn't care about the things you're good at (or about success at all) if it means contradicting their opinion
The rest of your life is no good either (because of work)
If you don't enjoy your job, but it pays you enough money for you to enjoy the lifestyle you've always wanted, and affords you the work/life balance that you crave, it might be worth staying. I think that people limit their potential by engaging in careers they are not passionate about, but not everyone is passionate about work. Sometimes it's just a job. However, if you don't like it, it doesn't pay enough to support your desired lifestyle, and you don't have the work/life balance that you need - it's probably the wrong job.
There is no growth or learning potential
When the position you are in is a dead-end, you're probably in the wrong job. The trouble with dead ends is that even if it seems safe where you are currently - everything changes. When things change and you have nowhere to go, you're in trouble. And if you haven't been learning along the way at work, your skills will eventually become dated and less valuable on the market.
Because everything changes, we have to as well. The real wages we garner from any job are the experiences we gain, the skills we acquire, and the connections we make. These are the things that a career is made of. And a career spans many jobs: sometimes the right ones and sometimes the wrong ones.
(To bookend my story -When a VP of Marketing whom I had worked for years earlier heard that I had left my job, he called me up and said that he had recently changed companies as well. He was working on a project to reinvent and rejuvenate a major Canadian brand, and he wanted me to join him and become the voice of the website. It was an offer I couldn't refuse, and that's how I came to Workopolis.)
Category: Life @ work