As a career coach, Kathy Caprino has met with thousands of unsatisfied people. What makes her clients unhappy? They feel unfulfilled at work, and many seek new challenges and opportunities — or simply an escape from the “toxic” environments they’ve found themselves in. Often times, the answer lies in making some type of change, and in a thoughtful Forbes post titled “The Quickest Way To Tell If You Need A New Job Or A New Career,” Caprino shares four tips for figuring out what type of change is most appropriate. Read on for a summary of her advice.
1. You’re Not Into the Outcomes — Caprino once worked for a company that marketed memberships through sweepstakes schemes, and she found the entire thing terribly unrewarding. If you’re in a similar situation, she suggests taking her Career Path Self-Assessment test and figuring out (a) what you’re currently focused on at work and (b) what you’d ultimately like to be focused on. After that, think about 30 companies you’d like to work for and try reaching out for interviews. By connecting with people in your professional network, you can also begin to brainstorm ideas about job and/or career changes. As Caprino writes, you’re “not stuck unless you think you are.”
2.You’re Not Using the Right Skills — Just because you’re good at something, it doesn’t mean you’re locked into doing it every single day. As Caprino writes, she used to be great at giving presentations about financials, but she couldn’t stand doing so. Think about what skills you’d like to be using, and then ask yourself whether another job in the same industry might allow you to feel more useful and fulfilled. If not, it might be time for an all-out career change.
3. You’re Not a Big Fan of Your Coworkers — When Caprino decided to leave the corporate world and get her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, she met a bunch of like-minded individuals that she respected, and whose company she truly enjoyed. This was refreshing, as she’d come from a series of jobs where she didn’t like the people she was with every day. For her, a new job wasn’t the answer — she needed to shift directions and find a whole new scene. “If this problem follows you wherever you go, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong line of work, and your heart and soul are not invested in what you’re focused on and being paid to do,” Caprino writes.
4. You’re Not a Big Fan of Yourself — If your job is turning you into a person you no longer like or respect, it’s time for some type of pivot. The tricky part is to think about whether the specific job is causing you to deviate from your core values, or whether it’s the industry in general. Have you been seduced by perks like high pay and “prestige?” These things can tide you over for a while, but as Caprino writes, they’ll never truly deliver happiness.