4 Signs You're in the Wrong Job

Woman at desk, staring at computer screen
Woman at desk, staring at computer screen

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Have you been feeling disengaged at work? Do you feel your mind wandering? Do you wonder if this job is really the right one for you?

You may not be completely unhappy, but you also know you’re not happy.

You may be wondering if what you’re feeling is normal. When you talk with your friends, some are going through similar issues, and they seem to be sticking things out okay.

Maybe you’re just going through a rough patch.

Feeling doubt in your career is something completely normal. Doubt is the first of the 7 stages of a career change. However, this feeling of something being off in your job can be a warning sign of a larger issue. It could go beyond your specific role at your company and extend into how happy you’ll be in the long run with your career or industry choice.

Here are 4 warning of the most common signs I hear from people—things I’ve felt myself in past roles—that could signal you may be in the wrong job. How many of these are you feeling?

1) TALENT & TASK MISMATCH

You get this sinking feeling you’re not making the most of who you are. Like your true talents aren’t being utilized. Like you’re not exactly a “natural” at your daily tasks for projects. Consequently, you feel you’re not very good at what you do or always falling short. You also realize your natural interests, personality, or preferred ways of working aren’t well aligned to the work you’re actually doing.

2) CULTURAL MISALIGNMENT

You feel out of place. You feel like people don’t get you. In fact, you’re expending a lot of energy trying to be someone else in order to fit in. The organizational culture just doesn’t sit well with you. The behaviors required to do well in your particular role are in conflict with your values, the person you want to be, or the person you want to become.

3) DRAINING WORK

By the end of each day, you feel a sense of relief, but on the other hand you feel completely spent. By the end of the week, you’re completely exhausted. You feel like everything you’re doing requires so much effort, which leaves you feeling drained. You spend your weekends resting and recuperating from all the energy-depleting projects that fill your workweek.

4) LACK OF MEANING

This is a big one. While your job may look fine on paper, and while you may even know plenty of people who would want your job, deep down, you don’t really feel like your work matters. You may feel like a cog in a wheel, especially if you’re at a very large position or company. You just don’t feel like you’re making the difference you want to in your job, your company, or in the world for that matter.

YOU'RE NOT ALONE

You’re definitely not the only one who feels this way. I talk with so many people who experience this, and I’ve been there myself. In my video below, I share anecdotes from my own career experiences when I’ve felt each of these doubts. I hope my thoughts can help you clarify whether you’re also feeling these symptoms of career doubt.

Now that you’ve heard of a few common causes of job dissatisfaction, it’s your turn to pinpoint which part of your job you dislike. Before you do anything drastic, try to first clearly define what exactly is wrong in your current job. Taking the time to do this can help you more objectively assess whether you can address these issues, or if you need to make a larger change.

For some helpful structure around how to think about this, you can download this free Job Satisfaction Snapshot to get a quick, visual snapshot of how you’re feeling about your current job.

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