For years I ignored the fact that I was unhappy practicing dentistry. A few times in my decade of practice, I seriously considered getting out. But each time, I convinced myself to stay. My biggest excuse was the economy. As luck would have it, right when I concluded I wanted to change, things started to tank. People were out of jobs, and I told myself I should have felt lucky to at least have one. While that excuse was very real, it was just that– an excuse. I don’t regret it because it forced me to stay in the career for 6 more years and determine if it was really the job or the career. As the years went on though, I couldn’t live with myself anymore. No more excuses. Work was wearing me down, and I forced myself to stop and pay attention to what was really going on. In case you are as distracted or in denial as I was to notice whether you should make a change in your life or not, here are some clues that helped me. You can’t make the change until you know you want it.
10 Signs You Need a New Job… or Maybe Even a New Career
- You buy a Powerball ticket every chance you get, and it’s not just a quick, carefree purchase. It’s a ritual born out of desperation. You check the numbers on the ticket, daydreaming and lusting for a different future. Whether you win or not, it feels so good to escape your life even for just a few moments.
- You come home from work every night reeling about your day. Your spouse is getting tired of the
incessant complainingsame old stories. When he/she asks how your day was, the best you can come up with is a less than enthusiastic, “it was okay. Meh.”
- You get upset or angry more often and notice you are more negative than usual. You always blame your bad mood on your job. I used to do that all the time. I thought I was using my job as an excuse to be in a bad mood. Now I realize it was in fact my job, and those moods almost never come around.
- That glass of wine can not hit your lips fast enough by the time you get home… okay, it’s really 2 glasses. You need to forget about your shitty day.
- You sometimes cry on the way home from work. Duh, that’s a pretty obvious sign. (Yeah, yeah, excluding the men. Am I the only one who did this? I suggest not crying on your way to work. The “I have allergies” excuse only works so much.)
- When people ask what you do for a living, you wish you could lie. You think about it during most of your waking hours, and you really don’t want to devote even a second of it to your Saturday night out. You used to be proud of what you did, but now you resent it.
- A piece of you wants to fail. Even when opportunities arise, you don’t really want them. You fear anything that will make you feel more committed, or in other words, more stuck.
- Weekends are amazing, but Sunday nights are hard. I’m not talking about your typical Sunday Night Blues. I mean the you-want-to-crawl-in-a-dark-hole-and-never-come-out blues. There is a difference.
- One word: insomnia. Nothing is more miserable than waking up at 2 am and worrying about the implant crown you just placed that looks perfect functionally but catches food every time your patient eats.
- You get sick more often. Maybe it’s stress. Maybe your body is trying to tell you something.
I experienced all of the above at some point or another, and it still took a series of very clear recurring dreams to get my attention. I’m guessing that wouldn’t normally make a top ten list of most common signs, but it was a very helpful tool for me. Once I began to notice them, I became very mindful of their presence and purpose. This was surprisingly my best tool for creating some self-awareness.
Do you have any signs pointing to change that you’ve noticed… or maybe even ignored? What are they?