When To Make A Career Change by Donna Galay, B. Admin, CHRP, ACCC Whether you are already in a transition or just exploring some new options, you have the opportunity to examine whether a change of job or career is appropriate and any perceived barriers to making that needed change. It takes courage to face what isn’t working in our lives – but the wonderful consequence of taking that courageous step is often a major leap forward in our personal growth. Rather than facing the need for change, many of us prefer to stick our heads in the sand. We want to avoid looking at our needs and challenges directly. We can tell ourselves there really is no problem – until our inner pain and emptiness can no longer be ignored. Do you enjoy taking chances from time to time? Do you give conscious attention to your career and personal growth on a regular basis? Do you take on new responsibilities at work as you have the opportunity (even if you have to create the opportunity)? If you answered not to some of these questions, you may wish to ask yourself why you are avoiding change. Compulsive behaviours can also be an indicator that change is needed in our lives. One variety of compulsive behaviour is workaholism, in which you work many more hours than necessary, taking work home frequently, and having work on your mind constantly. Workaholism is usually an attempt to cover up an uncomfortable or unresolved issue, such as an unfulfilling marriage, a lack of forgiveness or unresolved anger or resentment against another person, a job that is boring or lacks fulfillment, or an overall lack of purpose in life. If you find yourself constantly putting in more hours than are necessary or required of you on your job, ask yourself if there is some issue you are avoiding by excessive work. Could it be that some self-examination, and perhaps a change of jobs or careers, is in order? Another way we avoid dealing with the real issues beneath our behaviours is by rationalizing our actions. We may stay in a job long after it has ceased to serve us because of a justification for not leaving the job. This eliminates the need to seriously consider a change – at least for a while. It is a mental game we play with ourselves to keep from facing needed changes in our lives. What we must do is recognize the mistaken logic we are using and be willing to identify our excuses and deal with them. Are you burned out on your job? Burnout nearly always includes three components: physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, and mental exhaustion. Symptoms of burnout include: physical depletion, feeling of helplessness or entrapment, disillusionment, development of negative self-concept, or development of negative attitudes towards work or people and life itself. What action(s) are you willing to take to make needed changes in your life? Are you willing to do whatever is necessary to experience greater fulfillment in your work and life? In some instances, a change of job or career is not advisable. Why? Because changing one’s outer circumstances will not change the root (inner) cause of the dissatisfaction. If you keep trying to find a more understanding, less critical boss, but find critical supervisors at every turn, consider the possibility that if you become more loving toward yourself (and stop your own self-criticism), you won’t have to attract external criticism. We attract people that mirror our own beliefs about ourselves. This is called the Law of Attraction.