Three Signs it’s Time for a Career Change

3 years ago by in Action Not Words, Featured Articles, Rants Tagged: ,

I had lunch yesterday with a former colleague who has recently gone back to school for a post-graduate degree. She’s an accomplished professional who had a seemingly successful career in business with lots of opportunity to go in many lucrative and solid directions.

Instead, using the opportunity to take some severance at our old company, she decided to go back to school and change careers. The day-to-day grind had worn on her and she decided it was time to do something different. Despite having a family, and responsibilities, she’s now on her way to that degree and perhaps a new career where she is more fulfilled and much happier professionally and personally than she was before.

Changing careers – at any age or stage – is always a tough choice. Or is it?

The old axiom that life is short is truth at its core. We only have so many days on this Earth and wasting them doing something you don’t love, or worse hate, just isn’t a good use of your time, talent or energy.

But how do you know if it’s time to disrupt yourself? Here are three signs it’s time for a career change:

  1. A Lack of Passion for What You Do. I’m always amazed when I meet people who are truly passionate about their job – no matter what it is. Traveling for business, I encounter drivers, bellhops, hotel staff, and airline employees who truly are passionate about serving their customers. Those are jobs I can’t imagine doing but seeing those who love doing it is central to my point. If you don’t have a passion to be the best at what you do, you need to examine your conscience and decide if it’s really the best fit. If not, look for something that does stoke the fires.
  2. You’re Stressed Out All the Time. Do you take your work stress home? Do you yell or treat those you love less than lovingly because you’re under so much pressure? Again, life is short and it’s neither healthy nor rewarding to take your work baggage home with you. I’ve been in this position before and it completely can crater your physical and mental health. If you find yourself in this position, first ask if it’s just your current role. If it’s not, and it’s your chose profession, then it may be time to find something new. Studies show those who have good balance and controlled stress levels do better at the office and at home.
  3. You Work for Money, Not Fulfillment. Now, some may disagree with this but the reality is this: if you’re in a career just because it pays well, then your priorities may need an adjustment. Another former colleague of mine recently gave up a $250,000 a year income to follow his true dream career as a dairy farmer. Yes, a dairy farmer. He works longer hours, makes a lot less money, but tells me he wakes up every day (at 3:30am!) happy and fulfilled. Yes, you can wake up smiling getting ready for work if its what you’re passionate about and it fulfills you. It’s not a myth but it takes dedication, sacrifice and a mental adjustment, to be sure.

I always bristle when I hear some people say something similar to what you’re reading in this post. Yet, it truly is a choice. Like anything in life, your choices dictate many things about your lifestyle and we have to make choices depending on those decisions. Despite that, as I get older, and my career progresses, the advice of so many mentors and people I respect rings through my head loudly.

If you’re telling yourself you can’t change careers because you’re too old, have too many responsibilities, or don’t have the time, then you may not be as truthful to yourself as you should be. Everyone – no matter what his or her profession or passion – deserves to be happy.

If you’re not happy today, change your situation and follow your passion. The happier you are, the more successful and at peace with yourself you’ll be.



Scott Gulbransen

Scott is Global Head of Digital Content at Haymon Boxing - the world's premier boxing management firm. He's the former Vice President of Digital Marketing at DSI, and ran social media and PR at brands like Applebee's, and Intuit's TurboTax. He's a regular contributor for Social Media Today,,, and in 2011 ranked #21 in the list of “Top 50 Daddy Bloggers” in the USA by Cision. His award-winning social marketing campaigns are known for their engaging content, humor and real results.

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