5 Signs Your Career Path is No Longer on Course

June 8, 2015

Almost on a weekly basis, someone asks me for career advice. I welcome the conversations and I like to believe I give pretty good advice. But, I might just be full of B.S.! Either way, I like to help people find their path.

In my opinion, there are signs that tell people if they're on the right path, but either they fail to recognize these signs or they don't like what the they are saying. So, I thought I would go ahead and list out five signs that I think indicate you’re no longer on the right path If any of these ring true for you, it might be time for a change.

1. You've recently moved back into your parents house.

If you are starting a new career path you have no experience in, this isn’t necessarily a bad sign. But, if you are ten years into your career and trying to stay in this career, moving in with Mom and Dad should be a sign that you might need to switch paths.

2. You haven't done one thing to educate yourself within your field in over 12 months.

During interviews, I like to ask people how they have kept up on their chosen field. There are so many answers to this: reading and writing for your career field specific blogs, attending conferences local or national, watching a conference stream remotely for free, attending a local professional group meeting, putting together a LinkedIn group and sharing information amongst each other, etc.

People that aren’t on the right path will often say, "I read articles and stuff", but have no specific journals that they can actually mention a recent article that really spoke to them.

3. You wore something to work today that knowingly had a stain on it, and you went forth regardless.

People on the right career path don't show up with a stain on their shirt or pants and think it's okay. This tells your colleagues and leadership in your organization that you no longer care about how you appear, how the company appears and that you hate your job.

4. You cooked fish in the microwave at the office.

This may sound strange, but think about it - you know doing something like this stinks up the entire office, and everyone will hate you. You don't care, because you hate your job and subconsciously your stinky fish speaks to your attitude about where you are in your career. In my opinion, anyone who cooks fish at work should be put in jail.

5. You can't remember the last time you spoke glowingly about your chosen career.

Even if your career is on the right path ,you're still going to have some bad days. But, you're also going to have some great days and a lot of good days! This means you will advocate for what you do, and people will hear it. If you can't recall speaking highly of your profession, that's a sign!

The key thing to remember is this is your 'chosen' path. You chose it. No one forced you into being an accountant or selling copiers. You made a conscious decision to do what you do for a living. The great news is, you still have a choice. You can choose to do something else. Something you will feel more satisfied doing every day. Something you will be proud of. It's up to you.


Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, SPHR is the President of HRU Technical Resources, an IT and Engineering staffing firm headquartered in Michigan. He is also a popular writer in the HR and Talent space, and highly sought after public speaker. Schedule a hug at TimSackett.com.

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* Image from Seinfeld