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Signs of Burnout that Signify it is Time for a Career Pivot

Knowing When to Tough it Out and When to Enact Change

By andrewdeen14Published 8 months ago 5 min read
Signs of Burnout that Signify it is Time for a Career Pivot
Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

It’s very easy to stagnate in a job you don’t like. After all, most people don’t love going into work even in the best of circumstances. How can you determine when you are experiencing normal reluctance or outright burnout?

Recognizing the signs that it is time for a career pivot is critical not only in improving your workplace satisfaction but in many cases, also in boosting your salary and benefits. In this article, we look at how to recognize when you’ve stayed on too long at a job you don’t like, and what to do about it.

Sign One: You Feel Exhausted with and Unenthusiastic About Your Job

When you no longer have any emotional or intellectual energy to apply to your work, it is a major sign that you should start thinking about a career pivot. This consideration is admittedly hard to identify. Everyone goes through periods of sluggishness.

How can you tell that you are experiencing something that goes above and beyond the usual, temporary burnout?

Navigating this consideration does require a bit of self-awareness. Is there something going on in your personal life that accounts for your feelings of burnout? Maybe you're sleeping less, or things aren’t great at home?

Professional and personal experience are not nearly as separate as many people like to think, and issues in one category of your life can certainly bleed into the others.

However, true burnout permeates beyond what can be easily explained away. It occurs when you simply have no more interest in doing your current job, regardless of other factors in your life.

Sign Two: Your Career has Stagnated

Ideally, you will get raises and promotions every year or so that not only allow you to keep up with the rising costs of living but also enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle as you age. When people describe “dead-end jobs,” they are referring to positions that don’t provide those types of opportunities.

Sometimes career stagnation happens not because the industry you are working in is devoid of opportunity, but because the specific business you are working for can’t provide them.

For example, maybe the promotion track at your current place of employment is narrow and clogged up by middle-management employees who won’t be leaving or retiring anytime soon. In situations where you need to wait for someone to move on or retire to get a promotion, it is often much faster to simply look for a different job.

Sign Three: You Start Googling “Signs of Burnout”

Well, you’re here for a reason, aren’t you? It’s very easy to talk yourself out of a career pivot, but once you’ve arrived at the point that you are looking the topic up online, it typically means you are ready. It can feel like a crazy thing to do. It may involve going back to school, or finding some other way to enhance your credentials— and who wants that?

But you rarely get what you don’t ask for in this life. If you want to be fulfilled at work— if you want to improve your salary and find a lifestyle that makes you happy— you need to take active steps to acquire these things.

A willingness to change jobs can often open many more doors than you realize. What you’re desperate to get from your current job—more money, a flexible work arrangement, etc.— may be readily offered by another.

But how do you get it?

Making the Pivot

If you have a solid work history, making a pivot might be easier than you think. For example, if you have leadership experience, or have worked with a really niche tool, those are good skills you can leverage to a much wider range of positions than you might realize.

In certain cases, you will need to upskill. Depending on how significant of a pivot you wish to make, this might mean going back to school. Even in these situations, you won’t necessarily need to start looking for four-year college programs.

Many times, established professionals who already have an undergraduate degree can either go for their Masters— this can take 1-3 years depending on the pace you set— or you can acquire credentials through accelerated programs.

For example, if you wanted to become a nurse, you would not need to slug your way through gen-eds you’ve already taken. You could enroll in an accelerated, healthcare-specific program that touches only on the skills you are interested in. The same is true of other positions that require state and federal credentials—like education.

For other jobs, you can make the pivot through skill boot camps or other training opportunities that can be completed in under a year.

The key, of course, is to verify the quality of any program you are considering. You want to make sure that your new credentials will open the right doors.

Myth: You Can’t Gain Salary Traction If You Change Jobs Frequently

It’s not a completely unreasonable prediction. The logic goes something like this: most jobs will not consider you for raises and promotions until you’ve proven yourself— usually over the course of 1-3 years. However, if you move from company to company, you may never stick around in any one place long enough to gain serious career traction.

There are situations where this might be the case. If you find yourself making a lot of lateral moves, it could indicate that you need to do a more serious evaluation of your credentials, and the industry you are working in as a whole.

Most people, however, move up. The average job change results in a 10-20% hike in salary. Why? Well, for one thing, the more professional experience that you acquire, the more you can leverage your skills in salary negotiation.

This even applies to people who are pivoting into new industries. While you may not have the precise background stipulated in a job listing that caught your interest, you probably have developed many of the same skills that this (hypothetical) company is looking for.

As with anything, the job-hunting process is what you make of it. If you do your research, decide on what you are looking for, and take active steps to get it, you may actually open the door to many more opportunities than you would have had to stay at the same dead-end job.

Modern social and financial mobility often hinges on a flexible mindset. If you aren’t getting what you want out of your current job, you need to be willing to look for it somewhere else.

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    andrewdeen14Written by andrewdeen14

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