Forty years ago, when you got a job, you had a career. The turnover was a fraction of what it is today. Today, moving from one career to another is commonplace. It’s normal for an average worker to change jobs and/or careers multiple times within a ten-year time period.
Even with these statistics, many people still end up settling with average, uninspiring jobs and tend to forget that they actually don’t like them. Maybe they’re afraid of not finding another job or that they will never do better than what they have now.
There are many reasons why you might choose to stay in a career that you don’t enjoy. Fear, lack of confidence, or willingness to accept the status quo are all reasons you might stay in an unfulfilling job.
The problem is that you may be lying to yourself and are wasting precious time that could be spent doing more meaningful work. Here are 10 lies you should stop telling yourself about your career:
1. “I will only stay for another year.”
We all have said this at some point and many times that year turns into 5 or 10. Don’t put off the inevitable. If you know it’s not the right career, make that change now!
2. “I went to college for this.”
Just because you got your degree in English Literature doesn’t mean you should suffer through a boring and meaningless career. There is no reason that you can’t go out and become a project manager, freelance photographer, or healthcare administrator if that’s your true passion. The fact is that more than 70% of people in the workforce don’t work in a field related to their college degree.
3. “There are no jobs out there.”
This statement is ridiculous. Yes, unemployment is just below 7% in the U.S. right now, but there are jobs available everywhere. If you can’t find a job, you simply aren’t looking hard enough. A company will always make room for high-quality people who know how to sell themselves. If you truly believe you will be a valuable asset to another company, you can find work. Period.
4. “The pay is too good to leave.”
This is a very dangerous trap to believe in. Once you become used to making a certain level of income, your lifestyle expenses seem to follow, which makes it hard to consider a lower paying career. Remember, money is just paper. You cannot put a value on your life experiences and you will never get time back. Do something you love; it’s a far greater investment.
5. “I don’t know how to start over.”
While this is a valid concern, many people get so caught up in the fear of not finding another similar job that they do nothing. Being burned out in a dead-end career will slowly drain the energy and passion from you. Starting on a new career path, regardless of your age, may be exactly what you need.
6. “My company needs me too much.”
Even if you work as the sole employee in your company, you can be replaced. It doesn’t matter how specialized your knowledge or how integral you think you are, you can be replaced. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for wanting to leave a career you don’t enjoy simply because you think your company will fail if you do.
7. “I’m not too unhappy.”
This lie is a dream-killer. Millions of people tell themselves that “everyone hates their jobs” or “there are worse careers.” Do not let yourself fall victim to this lie! We will spend upwards of 90,000 hours of our lives working and it should be doing something we are passionate about! Sure, everyone dislikes their jobs at some point, but if it becomes an everyday occurrence, consider a change.
8. “I’m too old to start a new career.”
Your age is just a number and you get one shot at this life. Staying in a career because of you think you’re too old to start fresh is foolish. As long as you’re willing to learn and get out of your comfort zone, there is no “too old.”
9. “I’ve put too much time into my career.”
Unless you are at risk of losing stock options or a significant pension, the time you have spent in your career should not be a limiting factor in leaving for a new path. Most companies use defined contribution plans now (401k) that can be rolled over into new plans or IRA’s if you leave. There’s an old proverb, “don’t throw good money after bad.” The same holds true for your years.
10. “I don’t know how to do anything else.”
This is another common lie people tell themselves. What this really means is, “I’m not willing to get out of my comfort zone and learn new skills.” Even if you feel as though you have no other marketable skills, you most certainly do. And these can all be honed by a little education. Learning is something you should be doing on a continual basis regardless, so why not use it to your advantage?
Just remember, you will spend between 40 and 45 years of your life working a job. Do not allow yourself to fall victim to these lies, which can rob you of your precious time. Instead, try to honestly assess your happiness in your current career and if you need a change, don’t wait. Do it now!