(I couldn't resist putting this warning sign to grab your attention.)
Is your career not quite as fulfilling and exciting as you hoped it would be?
You were probably taught to just put your head down and work through the pain. I know I was. I have a tough old-school German father who worked 60 hours a week to build up his business.
This can be a risky way of dealing with your career. Stress can overwhelm anyone and if you aren’t willing to listen to the signs and prevent that, then you may be missing out on work that can enable you to be healthy, make a bigger impact and increase your happiness.
Many of you were probably encouraged to get a good education in a field that would provide stability. Now that you are in this field, how does it feel?
Are you excited to go to work, or dreading it, or somewhere in between?
I know that your career won’t be filled with joy 24/7. But you still deserve to have a career that fulfills you.
You may have been like me -- afraid to admit that your present career isn’t worth the pain. If this is true, you need to start to look at some of the hidden warning signs that you might not have been paying attention to.
1. You Wake Up Dreading Your Day
Your day should be filled with anticipation of what is to come, not what you know you need to avoid. Look at how you feel when you get out of bed. The thoughts that occur before you start your day are signals that indicate whether or not you are working in a career that is a good fit for you.
Are you excited, scared, bored or already tired before you even get to work?
2. You Have Trouble Falling Asleep at Night
You may be having trouble falling asleep because you aren’t meeting your emotional needs throughout the day. If you are lying in bed thinking over the day and all you can focus on is the negative aspects of what happened, then you aren’t doing work that fulfills you.
Do you have trouble falling asleep? What is going through your mind at the end of the day?
3. You Avoid Tackling Projects
You probably have a long list of things you could be doing at the beginning of your day, but instead you avoid this work because it doesn’t excite you. Maybe you linger at the coffee maker a little longer just hoping to bump into someone to talk with and procrastinate actually starting the "work" part of your day. Whatever you do to procrastinate and avoid work, take a look at why this is happening.
I suggest you spend some time pondering why you are avoiding certain projects.
4. Your Co-workers Don’t Share Your Values
Your values change as you grow your career. Maybe when you first started your job your values did fit the organization, but as your company grew so did you. Look at how you feel as you interact with your co-workers. If they don’t energize you, then there is a disconnect.
Can you bring these values back to common ground? If not, what type of job or organization can help align your values with your co-workers' values.
5. You Aren’t Able to Leverage Your Superpowers at Work
If you aren’t doing work that takes advantage of your superpowers (passions, focus and strengths) then you aren’t able to fully dive into your work. You may hold back from doing the projects you are assigned because you know that even when you complete the assigned projects, you won't feel fulfilled.
Are you able to use your superpowers in your present career?
6. You Can’t Stay Focused on Your Work
Focus is a big component of doing great work. If you can’t stay focused on your work -- doing the type of work that gets you in “the zone”, then you are missing out on your best productivity.
Some organizations allow people to unplug from email, meetings, etc. so they can focus on the high level work that gets the best results.
Do you have blocks of time to focus on your high level work or is your day always spent in meetings and in reactive mode?
7. Your Boss Doesn’t Listen to Your Input
Not all bosses are created equal. You know this, but sometimes it’s hard to admit that you need a change. You may not necessarily need to change your career unless you see a pattern in the type of bosses that you’ve worked with.
For example the advertising industry is notorious for having a fast-paced environment. Bosses in this industry feel the need to push their people to their limit, so they can get the results that will make their clients happy. Some people are a good fit for this environment and some aren’t. In addition, this type of boss doesn’t usually take the time to listen because they are always on tight deadlines.
Have your bosses listened to your input?
What warning sign would you add to the list?