The signs that tell you it's time for change
One of the things I notice as a coach is how long my clients sit in the misery of work that is no longer working for them. It's not usually like there was a day when they sat down and said to themselves that they needed to change things up. No, it's a slow burn, a collection of pangs of dissatisfaction that casually pile up, the quiet whispers of the inner voice asking you 'what the hell are you still doing here?', the cringe-making moments that happen when work makes you be or do something that really doesn't reflect who you are, the relationships with your peers or a boss that stress you out, eating away at you over time.
The realisation can take years to result in any action. It's not like you haven't thought about leaving, of course you have. But working out what's next can feel like a huge mountain to climb, with a million unknowns. It sounds messy, complicated, challenging, and quite frankly people just don't feel like they have the energy for it. That's hardly surprising when their work is literally zapping the life from them. So, people stay in this half-way house, post rationalising their inaction by saying things like 'What if this is as good as it gets? Maybe the grass isn't greener' or 'Work isn't meant to be fun, it's a job not a hobby'.
Others are harbouring dreams to set up their own venture, or to step into the freedom of freelance life, but the uncertainty of it all stops them even daring to think about it. They are crippled by the 'how will it work?' questions, which kill it before it has chance to fully form. It's a self fulfilling prophecy of not believing they can do it or feeling they are not deserving of it that, all too often, keeps this dream from becoming real.
Many see leaving as the only option without being open to seeing what else could be possible in their current place of work. It isn't always necessary to leave in order to create the change you're looking for. I've had several clients who came with a brief to change career, but have in the end found a new love for their work by changing how they related to their work and the people within it.
Whatever change needs to look like for you, it's important that you make it. Here's some of the signs to look out for. If you've got more than 3 or 4 of these, please, don't suffer in silence. Change is easier than you think, and people like me are here to help you make it happen.
1. You've stopped learning
2. You're trying to convince yourself that life outside of work gives you all of your fulfilment
3. There's no progression left for you in the company
4. The team camaraderie is through what doesn't work, not what does
5. Work is affecting your personal life and wellbeing
6. People don't know the real you at work
7. You feel under-valued and under-appreciated
8. You are drained by managing people and relationships
9. You have responsibility but no real power
10. You value very different things to what the company values