Does a dark funk descend over your bright weekend spirit every Sunday around 3 p.m.? Can you totally understand why the risk of heart attack is 11 percent higher on Mondays than any other day, especially for young, working people who have a 20 percent higher risk on the first day of the workweek?
If you can barely remember what the term “healthy work-life balance” means, chances are good that you’re ripe for a new career. To get a gauge on it, ask yourself these nine questions.
1) Is your body screaming: “Quit, already!”
Chronic fatigue, anxiety attacks, migraines, and muscle aches can all be signs your stress levels are cranked up to 11. If you’re battling depression or need to engage in addictive processes to get through the workweek, it’s really time for a career change.
2) Are friends and family worried about you?
If the people who are closest to you begin to remark upon a change in behavior and/or demeanor, you know that your stress is affecting more than just your own life. When those who know and love you best express concern, it’s time to rethink your career.
3) How do you feel when you’re at work?
It’s important to determine if it’s the actual environment that stresses you out, your coworkers, direct-line managers, or the nature of the work itself. If you find that your interpersonal relationships in the workplace leave you chronically frustrated and angry but you enjoy the actual tasks, you might just need to start over with another company.
4) Does your current occupation make the most of your skills, training, and talents?
Do you often feel as if the best you have to give is just going to waste — that you use only a tiny fraction of your creative capabilities and intellect in your current profession? That’s a sure sign that you’re ready for a new challenge and a career stretch.
5) Is there a clear path to promotion?
Does your current job provide plenty of opportunity for upward mobility laid out in clearly defined benchmarks? If promises of promotions and pay raises are nebulous, vague, or never followed through on, you’re spinning your wheels in vain.
6) Does your career offer you unlimited earning potential based on your efforts and skills?
If you feel like you’ve already hit the salary ceiling for your current profession but have lifestyle aspirations and savings goals that go far beyond, you’ve probably hit a financial dead-end. You might be well-served by self-employment or by seeking a sales position that doesn’t put a cap on your earnings.
7) Is your career a good fit for your lifestyle?
Not everyone is cut out for the five-day-a-week grind. If you feel stifled and caged by the schedule your current career requires, perhaps you’d thrive on a freelancer’s flexibility. If starting a family is a primary goal, the ability to work remotely might be paramount for you. Factor in your downtime needs and personal relationship priorities when deciding if your current profession is the right one for the long haul.
8) Do you feel that your current career is preventing you from pursuing your lifelong passion?
If you’re only hanging on for the money and the benefits while the years (and your inspired visions of what you’d rather be doing) slip away, remind yourself of how truly short life is. Who knows what you could accomplish, what good you might do for others if you make your contribution to the world by acting from a place of passion and heart?
9) Would you leave today if you could?
If you could walk out that door for the last time without any financial repercussions, would you? If you shout an excited, “You bet I would,” it’s time to take stock of your skills and passions, nail down the career path that lights your fire, and ask yourself: “Do I have the education I need to succeed in a new career?”