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Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go?

Need to break up with your job? Here are some top tips for finding a career path that inspires you.

The first point to get clear on when you are thinking of changing employment, is, is it just a rut, or are you in desperate need of a career makeover? 

Do you have a case of the Mondays – everyday?

"Feeling uneasy about work after a break or during a challenging project is normal," says Melanie Miller of Small Fish Business Coaching. "Anxiety becomes a problem when you begin dreading work every Monday," she notes. “If that feeling is not due to a deadline or project that is happening, but just a general feeling, then it is definitely time to consider a change in career or role,” she says.  

But the emphasis is on the word “consider”, take time to weigh up whether or not your unhappiness is likely to be long-term. Give yourself a timeline, Miller advises, of at least three to six months to see if things improve. “Expecting change to happen within a month is unrealistic but waiting around for the next two years is not going to help either,” she says. “Set a very specific date, and if you feel no different by that date, then you have your answer.”  

Know the “why”

Miller advises individuals to identify specifically what soured their feelings on their job – was it money, a lack of challenge, too much work or disinterest in the field? Without this insight, they might choose another wrong job.

“If money is an issue, you need to ask if you are being realistic about your remuneration. Could further training or study be the answer? If you identify time as a problem then it is worth considering why. Have you allowed yourself to be taken advantage of?” It's important to answer the question, do I need to change job in the same arena, or do I need to try something entirely different. If it's the latter then...

Be passionate but realistic

It’s never too late to change course and if you decide, for example,  to switch from banking to teaching at age 45, prepare for the challenges that come with the leap. Having natural ability is great, but your career change might require extra study or training, or a change in salary. It also might involve doing a wide range of tasks beyond your actual passion – if you start your own business, for example, you might start out manning the register, doing the accounting and having to make sales calls as well as designing beautiful clothes.  .

Strive for your ideal environment

"If you’ve been fantasising about working outdoors, resist the urge to leap back behind a desk," Miller says. If you felt invisible in your large company, look for a small business opportunity. Environment extends to how you want to interact with others as well. If you love cooking, but prefer to work on your own, then operating your own café might not be for you. Developing your own range of gourmet products could suit you better. The essential ingredient to career happiness is to find your niche.

If you get lost, get learning

If you are at a career crossroads and genuinely have no clue as to what to do, consider a bit of education. You don’t have to return to uni; a one-off course on something that purely interests you might sow the seeds of inspiration for your next job, Miller says. Take a risk and try something you've always wanted to do.