It can be hard to work out when it’s time to try something new, but when the bad days are starting to outnumber the good (or even ok) days, then maybe it’s time to take a look at what’s going on, and what might need a shake-up.
Everyone has bad days at work – life isn’t all roses and Champagne.
Isn’t this how it is supposed to be at work? No-one is happy all the time.
Maybe you should just find something else – just quit and do something new…..
But it’s not that easy.
Maybe if you just got your head down, focused, maybe tried a bit harder, things would just sort themselves out.
Or maybe not.
Below I’ve shared my top 5 ‘red flags’ that something might need to change, work-wise.
Which of these do you recognise?
1. You’re doing a Jekyll and Hyde at work
Every time you go into work, or log on to your computer, it’s like having to put a mask on.
The mask of someone enjoying what they do, constantly striving to hit goals, pushing for that next sale…and that’s not you.
Or maybe you just hide in the office – you take all of your personality, and squash it down inside of you. Just keeping your head down, ticking off the hours and till home time.
And you’ve spent so long wearing this mask, you’ve now forgotten how to be anyone else at work.
So you carry on, week after week, month after month.
But it feels wrong – to be pretending to be something you’re not for so much of your life….
2. You can’t remember the last time you felt confident at work
Confidence comes from doing something you love, and from doing it well. And it’s so long since you really enjoyed what you’re doing, that you’ve lost faith in yourself.
You are trying to do a job that just isn’t a good fit – and as a result, however hard you try, you never feel like you are doing it right, you never feel like you’ve done a good enough job.
And that’s a tough feeling to deal with.
It often starts when you come back from a career break – mat leave, adoption leave, carers leave – the role shifts, and you as an individual aren’t the same as you were before.
It’s just not a good fit.
The harder you try to bend and force yourself into being the type of person you need to be to do the role, the more your confidence takes a knock, until you start wondering whether maybe it’s just you.
Maybe you’re just not cut out for the job?
But if you can’t even do this job, there’s no chance you could do something else….
3. You regularly see 3am on the clock
And possibly 4am, 5am, 6am etc.
And this time you don’t even have small children to blame for the multiple night wake-ups
Just as you close your eyes at night, that niggling though pops up…..what if I tried X career, or Y career? Would that make me happy? What if it’s not work that’s the problem…?
You finally drop off to sleep, only to wake up obsessing over finding the ‘right’ thing to be doing…only to be woken again by the same thoughts, over and over again….
Before waking up overwhelmed, exhausted and thoroughly fed up of trying to think yourself out of your career fog.
Everyone gets the middle of the night crazies at some point – no one is always 100% happy, but if this is happening on a regular basis you might want to think about the next steps.
4. The guilt fairy is a regular visitor
You’re snappy, irritable with the kids one minute, over emotional the next. And that’s when the guilt fairy pops up – you start buying little ‘presents’ to make up for the snappy moods. And then you feel guilty for doing that. You can't seem to win.
You find yourself splashing out on ‘treats’ to make yourself feel better after bad days at work, and then you feel guilty for spending the money. Again, no wins here.
You spend every evening crashed out in front of Netflix, with no motivation to go the gym, or see friends - and then you feel guilty that it’s been weeks since you made it past 8pm without putting your PJs on.
That extra glass of wine a night is creeping towards a bottle and you start making 2 trips to the bottle recycling bank a week. You only do it because ‘it helps you sleep’ but the guilt (and the foggy head) the next morning is starting to get to you.
If the guilty fairy is a regular visitor, and you are using ‘stuff’ (whether that’s Netflix, wine or a new jumper) to try and distract you from how much you don’t want to be doing your job, then it might be time to start thinking about what your next move might be.
5. You’ve just stopped caring
You used to care about what you did – you were always the first in, tye last out. Always striving to do your best, smash those targets, get the next client.
You’re just flat, just numb.
You just don’t care – about the work, the people, the politics, the future…
You just go through the motions, counting down the hours till clocking off time each day.
When you’ve stopped caring about what you spend so much of your life doing, it’s time to shake things up.
6. This is not a new thing
We all have bad days, weeks, maybe even months.
But if this has been going on for a while, and you’ve tried all the usual things – talking to your boss, trying a new project, talking to a new team etc – then may be you need to try something more radical.
Chances are if you are reading this article, you’ve been thinking about doing something new for a while.
Let yourself explore what the future might look like if you committed to a change.
Vicki is a qualified career coach working with mid-career professional mums who have reached the "if not this, then what?" point in their careers.
She helps them focus on what's important to them, and figure out their next steps so they rediscover their career mojo, and create a career that makes them feel excited again.