How to Know if You’re In the Wrong Career

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Afraid you're in the wrong career? We've all had jobs we don't like, but when do you change careers? Here are 5 ways to find the right career for you.

More than half of Americans are unhappy at work. That’s according to the current edition of The Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey, and it’s the eighth year in a row Americans have felt this way. This is due to a variety of reasons, even something as simple as not liking the environment your office is in. The truth is, though, life is short, and if you think you might be in the wrong career, it could be time to change jobs.

Here some common cues that might signal it’s time to take a leap into a new job:

  • You dread waking up. Seriously, does the alarm have to be so loud?
  • You spend most of your work day on Facebook. Looking at other people’s lives makes you feel better about your situation.
  • You say bad things about your co-workers in your head as they’re talking to you. Why doesn’t anyone else see how annoying they are?
  • You eat lunch by yourself. It would be more painful to sit and listen to everyone’s stories about their weekend shenanigans.
  • You feel like you should earn more than you do. You kick yourself every day for not negotiating more when they hired you.
  • You watch the clock until it hits 5:00 p.m. The more you watch the clock, the slower it seems to move.
  • You research other job postings while you’re at work. Maybe someone will view your browsing history and fire you so you don’t have to quit.
  • You never volunteer for extra projects. Why take on more work when there isn’t more pay?
  • You avoid speaking to your boss unless absolutely necessary. You get the sneaky suspicion he or she knows how miserable you are at work.

How to Get to the Right Job


If any of the scenarios above sound like you, don’t worry. We’ve all experienced a little bit of the above at some point or another in our careers. The key is to really take charge of your future and make sure you find the best job for you. This isn’t something you should rush, though. Here are some steps to follow once you realize you’re in the wrong career:

Do Your Research


You shouldn’t jump into a new career without doing your research first. Speak to your friends and family members and hone in on the ones who are truly satisfied with their work. What do they like about their jobs? Why is their company great? Why wouldn’t they ever consider leaving?

Trying to get a sense of the type of job you’d enjoy and the perks you want to have will help you to narrow your focus. For example, if you are a parent, maybe you want to find a company that offers flexible scheduling or work from home opportunities.

Acquire Extra Skills


Depending on the job you want to have, you might need to acquire extra skills. This doesn’t mean you have to return to school, take out a lot of student loan debt and earn another degree. However, it might mean enrolling in some night classes or weekend courses to add to your skill set. For example, there are many different coding and programming classes available online for someone who wants to work in the tech field.



Applying to numerous jobs online just doesn’t work anymore. It’s an oversaturated market, and it’s hard to find a way to stand out. Instead, connect with people directly on LinkedIn. Go out for coffee with potential colleagues. Attend networking events.

Ask your friends and family to introduce you to people who could help you find work. Many different companies offer bonuses to people who bring in friends as new employees so they might be more inclined to help you if you have enough courage to ask.

Afraid you're in the wrong career? We've all had jobs we don't like, but when do you change careers? Here are 5 ways to find the right career for you.

Take the Leap


Once you’ve established the type of job you want and you’ve spent time and effort acquiring the skills you need to get it, it’s time to take the leap. Remember, if you’re in the wrong career, even if you’re comfortable at your job and you don’t want to rock the boat, your happiness is important. Take the steps today to find a job you love. Don’t settle for something you dread every day.


Have you recently made a career switch? Why did you want to leave your previous job? What are some other ways you’ve found to cope if you think you’re in the wrong career?

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • “You research other job postings while you’re at work. Maybe someone will view your browsing history and fire you so you don’t have to quit.” I think most people do this on their phone nowadays, but I also don’t think someone would get fired if they found out an employee was doing this. There is so much job hopping and switching in the corporate world that I think most companies and managers are realizing people are going to always be considering other opportunities.

  • Except waking up early, I was guilty of everything else you mentioned. However, I’m lucky to be still young and able to switch jobs.

    The same cannot be said about older people. It’s sad seeing someone in their 50s settle for a job they dread because they’re either afraid of change or no one would hire someone close to retirement.

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