This is a guest post by Artur Meyster. Artur is the CTO of Career Karma, an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech. You can find Artur on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ending up in the wrong career is a fate that many people end up suffering. There’s nothing wrong with ending up in the wrong career, but it can be a distressing experience once your eyes are finally opened to the truth. With that in mind, avoiding ending up in the wrong career should be the priority of any worker. Unfortunately, many of us simply take the first job that comes our way out of convenience or because it offered a salary.
In fact, ending up in the wrong career and jumping on the first opportunity that comes along is one of the things I wish I'd known as a junior developer.
When it comes to reasons for accepting a job, doing so for the money or to appease others is almost always a bad idea. This can lead to you becoming dissatisfied with your work and feeling less happy overall with what you do. Your work will make up a large portion of your life and there’s no reason for you to go through all that time feeling disappointed in your career choice.
Learn the common signs that point to the fact that you may be in the wrong career and act on them before your situation becomes worse.
Your job bores you
Make no mistake; everybody gets bored at work from time to time and there may always be a boss who seems to pass you the jobs that require absolutely no brain power. Perhaps your coworkers are struggling to complete their jobs but you are quick to succeed. Regardless of the exact type of boredom, there’s likely a disconnect between your skills and the job you’ve been assigned.
On that note, try to identify what in particular is boring you and see if it has anything at all to do with your career as a whole. Sometimes it’s just a single job that bothers us and this can be fixed with a simple career switch. However, if the source of your boredom has more to do with your career, then it is time to consider switching paths.
Find what excites you in order to narrow down a job that may fascinate you on a daily basis. This will require a fair amount of introspection, but it will be incredibly rewarding when you discover a path that suits your interests and career goals. Finding this path and landing a job that doesn’t bore you will require you to think deeply about what skills you bring to the table and where they are best applied.
You constantly complain
Let’s be honest — nobody likes a complainer and it’s easy to know if you complain a lot. If you are picking up signals from your friends that they are tired of hearing you complain about your job, it may be time to look into a different career path. As with being bored at work, it’s important that you narrow down what exactly is the source of your complaints at work.
Assuming your complaints have to do with your career, determine what exactly is causing you to complain so that you can begin to identify how to fix the issue. Narrow down whatever seems to be the source of your complaints and, if they are not fixable, simply switch jobs. It may be time to learn how to write a resignation letter.
On that note, be sure to maintain good relations with your prior employer. If you are attempting to switch careers, you may need a letter of recommendation. This could be hard to get if you severe ties completely with your old job, so always try to leave on a good note.
New jobs at your company appeal to you
Perhaps you constantly find yourself on your companies job board. If this is the case, take it as a major red flag that something is up with the career path you are on. Don’t become dejected, but try to determine if the job you are looking at on your company site is actually what you want to do. For the most part, many people don’t know what they want to do well into their life.
Fortunately, online degree programs are readily available for anyone who has the desire to change up their career path at some point in their life. As technology has enabled remote work amidst the recent pandemic, it has also enabled new educational institutions to form.
There’s no point in staying at a job that doesn’t suit your interests or skills. In fact, this will only lead to you becoming jaded about your career choice as a whole. Keeping that in mind, watch for the common signs outlined above that can signal when you have entered the wrong career path. There’s no shame in entering the wrong career by accident, but choosing to stay in that wrong career is a choice that is entirely yours. Make the decision to do better for yourself and switch career paths when you’ve entered the wrong one.