Is it time to rethink your career choice?


It’s time to stop snubbing the little voices in your head telling you to switch careers, and start listening to them very, very carefully.


Many people may be willing to give anything to have the job you currently have, but you may walk into your office every day with the urge to burn it down, wondering what a waste it all is. And you feel ungrateful, sometimes. But that’s alright because you are not the first, neither the only one to be unhappy with a job that is seemingly great.


I made a career switch long before I could even begin to hate my previous career choice or job and that is exactly what I recommend everyone to do – switch before it becomes necessary. I almost ‘fell onto’ my new career path and I can’t be happier about it. Most people, however, take too long in making that decision either because they’re afraid of the uncertainty that comes with changing careers or because they fail to identify [or ignore by choice] the signs. Of course, it is no easy decision to make but one that can make all the difference in your life.


Ask yourself the following questions. If the answer to any of them is yes, it might be time to rethink your career choice.


Was this career path thrust upon you?

Did you accept a job only because it helps you pay your bills? Or did your parents look at you pulling apart gadgets as a child and decide you must become an engineer? Parents choosing our destiny is the common rule particularly in the subcontinent; either because they expect you to join the family business or because that is what everyone in the family is successfully doing. At other times, it’s an unfulfilled personal wish.


Whatever the reason, you have ended up being in a career that was never your choice and despite trying hard you just can’t get to like it. If this is true, and you have an alternative career choice you always wanted to follow, there is no better time to switch than now.


Have you hit the ceiling?

You feel that there is no more scope for growth, learning or better financial returns. You’ve hit the ceiling. Hitting the ceiling is different from reaching a plateau. A plateau can be a temporary situation where you are stuck because of a flat hierarchical structure, for example. A ceiling, on the other hand, is a more permanent situation where any upward mobility is unlikely even if you switch jobs.


Sometimes diversifying can help. For example, bagging consultancies on the side of a full-time. That may bring you additional income, feel more challenging and exciting, and even add to your skills, but it is also likely to add to the dissatisfaction from not having enough time for yourself.


If you feel that putting in more time into the same career path is adding lesser and lesser value, a career change can be the right thing to do. So ask yourself, can you do something to improve your prospects in the same career? If you have exhausted all options and any more attempts at moving up in the same field are expected to result in even more discontent, start exploring alternative careers – particularly ones that can utilise the strongest of your transferable skills.


Have you developed a strong personal brand that is limiting how far you can go?

Author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker, Seth Godin, while talking about a friend said, ‘Doug needs to leave for a very simple reason. He's been branded. Everyone at the company has an expectation of who Doug is and what he can do. Working your way up from the mailroom sounds sexy, but in fact, it's entirely unlikely. Doug has hit a plateau. He's not going to be challenged, pushed or promoted to president. Doug, regardless of what he could actually accomplish, has stopped evolving -- at least in the eyes of the people who matter.


If he leaves and joins