Being in the wrong career path can lead anyone to feel jaded about their job and become unhappier at work in general. Identifying when you’re in the wrong career should be the priority of any employee, as not leaving a job that is a bad fit can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and mental state. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to determine if you are in the wrong career path and, should any of the signs be spotted, steps need to be taken to get out of the bad career match while you can.
1. Your Job is Too Easy
There is a difference between being good at your job and the job being too easy. Your career should challenge you and use all of your skills, but if you are able to do your work with minimal effort or thinking, it’s likely that you are in the wrong career path. Maybe you feel as if the skills you spent years developing aren’t being used. If that’s the case, consider looking into a new career path that may use some, or all, of those skills.
Though, don’t quit your job straight away if you find yourself in this position. It’s important to put a plan in place before making such a leap. In conjunction with your current job, consider acquiring additional education and obtaining an online degree via a trade school. Trade schools use specialized courses to train students for specific careers, rather than broadly assigning a major to that graduate.
For example, General Assembly is a popular option that offers courses ranging from UX design to software development. If your job is too easy for you, it may be worth pursuing a career path that stretches your skills and challenges you.
2. You’re Just Not Interested in Your Work
Similar to your job being too easy, a lack of passion in your job is a great sign that you are in the wrong career. There are a number of reasons you may have lost interest in your job, as covered by recent studies. From your efforts not being appreciated to personal problems affecting your work, there is a myriad of reasons you may not be interested in your job.
To figure out if a career path is actually right for you, it is important to do adequate research before actually applying to a position. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a potential interviewer and ask why they should hire you. Look beyond mere qualifications such as education or experience and dive deeper to see if you hold a passion for that career path which is unrivaled by the competition.
Keep in mind that no job will hold your attention every second of the day, but it isn’t difficult to find a career that will keep you interested throughout the day. Your job will make up a large part of your life and it should be a path that you are interested in and genuinely enjoy working in. Not being interested in your job is one of the fastest ways to become burnt-out and should be considered when looking at career paths.
3. New Fields Interest You
We’ve all been in the position where a fascinating new job opens up at the company and you can’t stop thinking about the unique things those employees are working on. However, if it seems like every other job is more interesting than the one you hold now, it is possible you have a bad career match on your hands.
There isn’t anything wrong with becoming fascinated by another career path, but an obsession with jobs besides your own, perhaps manifesting as you constantly searching for new jobs, is a major sign that it’s time to consider a career switch. Look into what career paths are available to you with whatever college degree level you hold and see if anything catches your eye.
There are a number of reasons you may have ended up in the wrong career. Coming out of college you may have accepted the first job thrown your way or perhaps you just thought you knew what you were getting into and were wrong. Regardless of the specific reason, there is no valid reason to stay in a career that is a bad match for you. Even if you are earning a large salary, you are more prone to becoming burnt-out at a faster rate than any other employee because you don’t actually enjoy what you do. Don’t settle for a career that doesn’t suit your interests when you have the ability to pursue any path you desire.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.