Why a career change could make you happier...and when to take the leap

Career change

Stuck in what feels like a dead-end job? Feeling overworked and underpaid? You’re not alone!

There are thousands of employees who share the same sentiments and at some point; something’s got to give. Sure, there is a lot we can do to change our mindsets and to stop us from feeling demotivated, frustrated and uninspired. But when you’ve given it all you’ve got and find yourself back in that underwhelming state of purposeless, perhaps it is time to consider a career change.

If a new career is something that you’ve been contemplating for long enough, the good news is that in many cases, a change really can be as good as a (working) holiday. While the thought of finally taking the step and handing in that resignation letter can be daunting, the excitement of embarking on a new career venture in itself could be what drives you to the kind of success you’ve always wanted. 

When to take the leap 

When your health is taking strain If your emotional and physical health is suffering as a result of your current job situation, it’s time to take the leap! Stress is one of the leading causes of heart disease and waiting until we wake up after heart surgery, in order to finally make a change, is probably too late.

If you’re living your job

Is your work life negatively impacting life at home? Some of us can be happily married to our jobs without it affecting the rest of our lives. However, when the stress and demands of your job take a toll on your daily life, there’s a problem. In an ideal world, you should feel that you’re able to switch off and enjoy your personal life when you’re away from work.

If money means more than your happiness

Earning lots of money is a dream for many, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your happiness in order to get there. Staying stuck in a job that you hate, in order to afford a fancy car or other material things, can come back to bite you. Sure, South Africa’s tough economy and shocking unemployment rate means that many of us will take what we can get in order to pay the bills, but letting go of your career goals and aspirations can eventually affect your self-worth and esteem.

The benefits of changing your career

Up-skilling and expanding on your work experience in order to help you grow in your career can be incredibly empowering and rewarding. Being able to continuously raise the goal post without hitting a ceiling in the workplace is something that many people find when changing careers.

Once you’ve been employed by the same company for long enough, it’s not always easy to jump the income bracket. Often, changing a career can help you set more appropriate financial goals from the get-go, while many recruiters and potential employers will ask you to disclose your salary expectancies before you sign any agreements.

A better work environment makes the world of difference to any employee. A better company structure, with a good HR system that looks after employers as well as employees, is a good step. You are the company you keep, they say!

It might sound strange, but self-love means honouring who you are and what you really want out of life. In theory, if something is making you unhappy only you can change that. Most of us spend about eight hours a day in the workplace – and if you really hate your job, that’s a lot of time wasted!

Removing yourself from toxic environments (and many workplaces can be,) is essential to finding your happiness. Chat to those who have already made the leap and you’ll likely hear all about how changing careers has been the best thing they’ve ever done.

Changing careers can be a scary step, but with perseverance and the right kind of support, it could be just what you need to become a happier human! 

Writer | Caira-Lee Durand