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No one wants to dread going to work or having a job where they just clock in and out without enjoying their day. That’s why making a career change or leaving a job for a new workplace is becoming more common. In fact, the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times during his or her career and the “new normal” is for young professionals is to change jobs four times prior to age 32.

Here are some tips we have compiled to help you decide whether a career change is what you need and if so, how to navigate it:

Is it time for a career change?

The Goal Digger Podcast spoke with Kate Eskuri about how she decided it was time for a career change:

“Kate spoke to how she had herself convinced she “loved it” for so long even though her gut told her differently all along. She went on to say how easy it is to use “success as a bandaid” and adapt the mindset of “if I’m this good at it, it must be right.” Kate said she didn’t notice that it wasn’t a good fit until it was affecting her mood, her emotions. She became anxious walking into work and often slept talk and dreamt about the stress of the job. This emotional shift was quite different from her typical lighthearted attitude, and she knew something needed to change.”

There are five solid signs that a job just is not right for you, according to the job search website Monster. One of those signs is if there’s no opportunity for growth or professional development at your current job. This could mean you need to stay in the same career and change where you work, or it could mean it’s time for a new career path. If you want to stay in your current field, consider this insight from Monster:

“Opportunities don’t hide under rocks. They’re all around you — at industry events, weekend seminars, Webinars. Most companies have budget to send their staff for professional development and training when it’s relevant to the job. Find out what your employer’s policy is.”

Forbes identified seven signs that your current job is not the right fit for you. Two signs that may seem obvious, but deserve pointing out are:

“If your anxiety kicks in on Sunday nights, or you’ve been working on an exit strategy for a while now, it is likely not the right fit for you.” Also, “If you are looking for jobs online when you know you should be working; asking your friends what they do for a living and if they like it; or getting easily distracted from your work duties (and focus isn’t normally an issue for you), it may be time to consider a move.”

You know it’s time to make the career change, now what?

You may have a specific career in mind you wish to enter, but if that’s not the case, then The Balance suggests you use career tests to determine what jobs may be the right fit for your personality and priorities. You can find a wide variety of self assessment tools and career tests by clicking here.

Developing a plan for what your career switch will look like and what steps it will take are crucial, and The Muse provides some great advice on how to make a plan. Consider this:

“Are you lacking certain skills that you need to be an attractive candidate for this new type of role? Do you need certifications? Classes? Licenses Sometimes, even if you do, it’s entirely within reach. It could be a simple matter of taking an online course and gaining some baseline proficiency. …But sometimes, you need more extensive education or licensure. You need to sleuth this out and make decisions on whether you’re willing to make the front-end investment this pivot requires or not.”

This is a big change in your life. Your job is at least 40 hours of your week, so take your time when figuring out your next steps. Do not quit your current job without a new one already lined up or making sure that your finances can handle a few weeks or even months without guaranteed income.

How to leave

Exiting your job should be done gracefully with respect for your employer and co-workers, but you also have to make sure you are respected in the process.

Provide your employer with at least two weeks notice so they can begin to search for your replacement and possibly hire on someone new during your last days so you can help train them. During your last two weeks, prepare any documents or necessary items that your co-workers may need as they continue without you.

Do not feel guilty for leaving your job. If it’s not the right work environment for you or the right career, then you are making the best choice for you. Letting guilt creep into this process can mean that you do not receive these you deserve, such as paid out vacation time.

Final words of advice

Remember Kate Eskuri? She says “to ‘honor your intuition’ and trust your gut if your job doesn’t seem right. But she also spoke to how important it is to fully devote yourself to whatever position you are fully in. Never give a job half of your effort even if your heart isn’t in it- each job offers a unique skillset and can transition to your ‘next step’ if you let it. Allow each chance to expand your thoughts but, in the end, ‘whatever sets your heart on fire- you need to pursue that’.” [source]

It is important to remember that you are not your job. If you take a new job or change careers and it does not work out, it is not a sign of failure. It is a sign to keep trying.

Ready to make a career change so you go to a job where you feel fulfilled and are making a difference? Learn how you can become a teacher through American Board’s online, self-paced program by clicking here.

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