Signs It’s Time For a Career Change

man questioning life

Changing jobs is not unusual. You may jump to a new company every few years for a paycheck boost or chance to climb the ladder in your industry. Changing careers, however, is a life-altering decision that hinges on more than office perks and the length of your commute.

When you first break into your career, you may have been so excited about having a job that you never really asked yourself, “Do I really want to stay in this business?” Even if the answer was yes, changes to your personal life (marriage, children) and changes to your industry may have you thinking about a new career path.

Richard Rathburn, Lead Employment Outreach Specialist for Ashford University’s Career and Alumni Services team, identified these five signs that your career is no longer fulfilling, and it might be time for a new direction:


This feeling is a huge red flag, and one that you shouldn’t ignore because it’s unlikely to change. If you don’t feel challenged in your current role and don’t see any possibility for upward (or even lateral) mobility, you should consider other industries where your talents might be in demand.


If you’re coming home at night completely wiped out, and not in a “that was a good day’s work” kind of way, then it’s probably time for a change. A stressful and demanding career can leave you feeling burned out, and may start to impact your physical health.

No room for growth

No one wants to stay in the same role, performing the same duties, for their entire career. Before you even reach your breaking point, you should have a one-on-one with your supervisor about growth opportunities or professional development. If your boss doesn’t want to have that conversation, or you know you’ve reached your ceiling in your current role, then you should start exploring new opportunities.

Changing industry

Sometimes changes in your industry leave you feeling like you’re not fulfilling your original purpose. Other times you realize your business is about to become the next Blockbuster Video. In either case, you’re going to need to find a way out. It’s important to monitor the trends in your industry to determine whether it’s still going to be around in 5-10 years. This knowledge will give you a better picture of your options.

Salary cap

We all want to make more money. Ask yourself if that can only happen with a career change. If you feel you’ve reached the monetary maximum in your industry and can no longer support your lifestyle, it’s time to look for a new line of work.

So now what? In your head and heart you may know you’re ready for a new career, but you can’t cash out in your current job without a plan for the future. According to Rathburn, your next move should be a lot of research.

“The more you learn about a new industry, company, or career, the more you can alleviate your fears of moving in that direction,” he said.

If that new direction requires more education, look at your options and determine how a degree can help you move forward. You should also look for opportunities to make new connections, and set up informational interviews with people already working in the industry you want to join. You may even be able to find a new mentor or land an opportunity to job shadow someone. These opportunities will help you get your foot in the door while you still have a job, and show your future boss that you’re serious about making the jump to a new career.

For more advice, read “The Difference Between Job Satisfaction and Career Contentment” and “Follow Your Passion: Good Career Advice?” on Forward Thinking.


Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.



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