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4 Signs That Changing Jobs Might Be the Answer

Joseph Liu
Career Relaunch
Published in
5 min readNov 6, 2023


We all don’t like parts of our jobs at times. Your boss may get on your nerves. Your work commute may get tiring. Your projects may be stressful. Your workload can feel overwhelming. I don’t know a single person who likes expense reporting (including me).

But how can you tell whether the dissatisfaction you’re feeling at work is “normal” for any job or a sign you’re on the wrong career path?

Maybe you don’t feel excited about your job. Or you don’t look forward to Mondays. Or you find yourself daydreaming about another career path. Or you’re just bored with your daily tasks.

The question is, how do you know when the time has come to actually make a change?

Unfortunately, no clear formula exists for this. Making a major career change is a very personal decision, and some sort of definitive, diagnostic checklist to tell you whether you should move on just doesn’t exist. The process of deciding when to make a career change is nuanced and influenced by a wide range of complex personal and professional considerations that just can’t be reduced to a single set of criteria.

With that said, these four signs suggest you may want to start considering whether you’ve reached a point where a change should be on your horizon.

1. Relationships Outside Work Suffer

I had a chapter in my marketing career when I was disenchanted with the day-to-day culture of the company where I worked. I noticed myself dragging this unhappiness from work back home. I remember one Friday night in particular when I was at a restaurant with my wife after work and complaining about my job. A lot.

I’d been complaining about my job so much outside of work that I didn’t even register how much I was doing it. On this occasion, she had to interrupt me and tell me to stop because I was just bringing so much negativity into our time together.

That moment made me realize I was becoming far too unpleasant around the people in my personal life. I knew I needed to make some sort of change.

There’s a fine line between any partner, friend, or family member serving as a healthy sounding board for you and becoming an outlet for continual venting about work frustrations, which can be tiring. When you feel like your job dissatisfaction begins to adversely affect your relationships outside of work, you may want to reconsider whether your job is right for you.

2. Not Making The Most Of Yourself

Coaching and mentoring others is something I consider to be a strength of mine, which is one reason I’m now a career consultant. However, in one of my former corporate roles, after being promoted to a global role, I oddly went from having direct reports to no direct reports. Instead of being able to utilize my strengths, I felt like my energy was being deployed toward tasks I felt were not making the most of what I could offer. And eventually got to a point where I just felt like every day was kind of a waste.

Imagine if you owned a high-performance sports car and never drove it faster than 30 miles per hour. Or a state-of-the-art smartwatch and only used it to tell the time. Or a sailboat that just sat docked and never taken out to sea.

Not making the most of what you can offer is like having a product you’re not using to its full potential. When you’re actively making use of your natural talents, interests, and skills, you feel energized and in flow. When you’re not, it can feel like a waste of who you are.

3. Not Feeling Proud Of What You Do

Over the course of my ten-year marketing career, I managed a wide range of products, some of which I would happily consume myself and wholeheartedly recommend to my friends and family. However, there were moments when I felt conflicted about trying to get people to consume more of the products I was marketing.

During one of these stretches when my work felt less meaningful, I was at a social gathering outside of work when my friend’s wife asked me to tell her more about my work, mostly just to make conversation. I remember snapping back at her for asking the question, sounding very exasperated and frustrated as I tried to explain what I did for a living.

You may not always prefer to talk about your work outside of work. However, if you catch yourself struggling to feel excited, proud, or good about your work when you describe it to others, you may want to reconsider whether you’re investing your professional energies in the right place.

4. Drags the Rest of Your Life Down

There have been times in my professional life when I found myself spending my evenings and weekends recovering and recuperating because my work felt so draining. I felt tired all the time, so I didn’t have the energy to exercise. I felt emotionally depleted, so struggled to find motivation to socialize outside of work. I felt professionally misplaced, so found my overall health, sleep, and motivation suffering as a result.

Many of us spend most of our waking hours working in our jobs. Therefore, it’s totally natural for work to inevitably trickle into the rest of your life, for better or worse. However, when your unhappiness at work adversely affects your well-being outside of work, you owe it to yourself to consider a change.

Moving On Is A Deeply Personal Decision

Just because you don’t feel 100% fulfilled at work or completely energized and positive outside of work, it doesn’t mean you are necessarily on the wrong track. We all go through rough patches in our careers, even when we’re on the right track in our professional lives. Making a radical change is not the only solution to these challenging moments.

At the same time, you should be willing to recognize when your dissatisfaction goes from unsettling to debilitating. Decide how long you’re then willing to tolerate your situation. Decide when enough is enough.

Most importantly, decide when you’ll do something about it. How bad will you let things get? How much more are you willing to endure? Where will you draw the line? And what steps will you take to rectify your situation when you cross that line?

For me, whenever I’ve reached points where I felt I was doing a disservice to myself or doing work that conflicted with the person I wanted to be, I made my leap. And in each case, after seeing how much my personal gratification, social relationships, and overall well-being improved, I was so glad I did.

Originally published at Forbes.



Joseph Liu
Career Relaunch

Joseph Liu- speaker, career change consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch® podcast focused on helping people do more meaningful work.