If you’ve been trying to make it work in your current position but you’re still feeling stuck professionally, it might be time to change careers. While you might be waiting for those stuck feelings to go away, it’s important to know that these feelings only increase over time – alongside frustration, resentment, and hopelessness.
Many people stay in their careers for too long because “it’s fine enough for now” and, whether or not they admit it to themselves, they’re afraid of change. That’s normal and it’s totally ok to be afraid! But – don’t let fear keep you from living the full, rich, and meaningful life you want to live.
Here are five reasons why changing careers may just be the best decision you ever make. We hope that this article provides you with the motivation you need to take a step forward and keep yourself moving professionally.
- Change is an opportunity to redefine yourself. Are you feeling limited by the way people view you at work and want to be seen in a new light? Just like at home, our co-workers come to know us in specific ways, for better and for worse. When we’re known to be great at things, we may take pride in how people view us. But even then, we can start to feel boxed in and constrained by the expectation that we will continue doing those things, even if we might not want to do them anymore. Further, in places where we feel defined by our limitations, our self-esteem and self-confidence can take a hit, which keeps us from growing into our full selves.
- Change can be good for your mental health. If you’re feeling less-than-thrilled to start work each day and feel drained by the time you get home, it’s likely time to make a change. It’s important to know that our brains are not naturally wired for accepting change (especially as we get older) so we may initially be resistant. We tend to prefer things that we know, because it means that our brains don’t have to work so hard! But once we’ve moved past the initial feelings of fear and frustration, novel experiences and learning can result in a rush of dopamine – the hormone that can make us feel pretty darn amazing! Being somewhere new can spark your curiosity, and learning new things can bring about a sense of hope and possibility. All of these are great for your mental health and overall wellbeing.
- Change can bring more money, greater respect, and better work-life balance. Have you been working in your current position for a while and find yourself functioning as the glue that holds everything together? It might not be hard for you to do all of that, but you might be bored of doing it, burning yourself out in the process, and also feeling that co-workers are taking your skills and expertise for granted. When people leave those environments, they often find that they are replaced by someone who is getting paid much more, or that it takes two people to replace them! When you make a professional change, you may find that you’re finally getting paid what you’re worth. You may also find that it’s easier to start off by creating the boundaries you wish you’d had in place at the beginning of in your previous job.
- Change provides an opportunity to repair and improve your personal relationships. It’s not fun to be around an unhappy person. When we’re grouchy, we pass along those disgruntled vibes to the people around us, even if it has nothing to do with them. Opening new doors for yourself means welcoming new energy into your life, and that can be good for everyone around you. A new job might mean a different schedule, or at least an opportunity to right-size the amount of time you spend working and give you more time to spend with your loved ones.
- Change can provide an opportunity for major personal growth: In the process of changing careers, you will learn a lot about yourself. You may find yourself discovering strengths you never knew you had or finding new activities that spark your passion. A new career also provides an opportunity to break unhelpful behavior patterns like people-pleasing, over-committing, or perfectionism. Yes – all these things mean getting out of your comfort zone! But remember that learning happens at the end of your comfort zone, not inside of it! From the inside of the box that is currently defining you professionally, you can only see so much of what might be outside of it. Getting out of that box is only the start of your personal transformation. Aren’t you curious what else is out there?