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Are You In The Right Career? 5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself

When you first applied for that internship five years ago, did you pick the right spec off the job board? When you took that managerial position last month, did you make the right decision? Are your future life goals really aligned with your current career choices?

When work becomes a slog it can be hard to know for certain whether you’re on the right track. If you’re unsure as to whether your current job is worth it, try asking yourself these five questions.

Would you do it if you weren’t being paid for it?

We all know we should love our jobs. But it can be hard to feel grateful when the 10th ‘small manager request’ of the morning lands in your inbox.

While it’s impossible to feel elated with your job at all times, it’s certainly true that you should want to be doing it. Imagine that the universal basic income had become a reality, and you were paid a monthly governmental stipend no matter what you did to earn it. Would you still do what you’re doing? Do you feel passionate enough about your job that you would you willingly commit the hours towards it, with no monetary reward involved?

If the answer is no, you’re doing something that you think is neither necessary nor worthwhile. Such jobs aren’t worth your time; get out while you can.

Is it the thing you’re best at?

We all have our own talents, ranging from the marketable to the entertaining. While your juggling skills may be top notch, it can be hard to work that accomplishment into your tax advisory day-job.

Problem is, your talents are near unique. They are something you and only a marked minority of other people can offer to the world. Great at organizing parties? Congrats! You are a sales and events aficionado. Brilliant with numbers? Fantastic – get thee to an analytics role, pronto. If you don’t sell and develop those talents, you are depriving the world of your genius.

Imagine if Einstein had pursued a career in accounting or if James Joyce had devoted himself to law. If you choose to spend your life doing the thing you’re third best at, you’re committing a similar crime.

Are you optimizing your time?

We all have different daily rhythms; it’s a circadian thing, a biological imperative. Some people thrive on a 9-5. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Others are zombies until 12 pm or do their best work at three in the morning. Still, more people are most productive when working a day job or best when moving between several different part-time roles, or working from home for nobody but themselves.

Whatever career you pursue, it needs to be one where you are making the most of the time available to you. If a 9-5 is your idea of corporate hell, stifling your creativity and will to live, it’s not your optimal working format. Similarly, if you’re a slacker by nature and liable to lie around on the sofa instead of working from home, then self-employment is probably not the set-up for you.

Are you tired, bored and depleted all the time?

If you spend eight hours of your day working, that’s half your waking life – more, if you count time burnt commuting or lunching. Like any activity, work consumes both physical and emotional energy. The amount of both spikes for work that is not ‘right’ for you.

If you’re coming home from work in the evenings feeling drained, burnt out and bored, it’s a sure sign you’re not in the right role. Though nobody’s saying you have to always be upbeat and enthusiastic about your job, you certainly shouldn’t be down about it for more than 30% of the time.

Do you feel respected, appreciated and valued?

Humans are social animals; we draw feelings of self-worth from our standing in society and our relationships with others. To feel truly happy, we must exist within a community where our role is clear and our importance acknowledged. If you feel consistently underappreciated, undermined or – worst of all – abused in your current role, you need to get out as soon as possible.

If your answer to more than one of the above is ‘no’ (or ‘yes’ to number 4) then it’s time to sit back and reconsider your options. The world is full of opportunities for those willing to go out and seize them. The only people who stay in a role they hate are those afraid of the alternatives. Don’t be one of them; get out there and find something better, before it’s too late.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you find a career that satisfies you? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

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