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Picture yourself when you were seven. You were probably playing with your neighbors, pretending like you were a teacher, a firefighter, or even a superhero with the world’s fate resting on your scrawny shoulders. Now think back to when you were in high school, fulfilling college essays and listing your top career preferences, hoping that you get into the same school as your friends. Fast forward to college graduation where you’re filled with dread for what’s to come but also with that sliver of hope and optimism which you try so hard to hide.  Now, go back to the time when you finally landed your first job. Go back to that elation and the feeling of validation—a tiny voice saying, “This is where I belong.” 

So, you wake up on your first day and stroll out the door with a crisp appearance, armed with ideas that you hope would impress your boss. And you do this, every day, just like clockwork. Until one day, you realize that your job seemed better on paper than it is in reality. So, you find yourself clicking on this article, wondering whether you’re just in a rut or you’re actually on the wrong career path. 

Below are the signs that your career may not be the one for you. 

Your Values Don’t Align With the Company’s Mission

For pride’s sake, let’s assume that you’re in a long-term relationship. Now, can you name the factors that helped you stay in the relationship? Chances are, having shared values with your partner will be one of them. The same goes for your career. Just as how looks is not everything in the relationship department, money is also not the end-all-be-all in a career. In fact, wages ranked 10th out of 23 drivers for job satisfaction, a survey conducted last year found. 

If your values are misaligned with your company’s, it won’t be long till you start feeling as if you’re a sellout which, in turn, will lead to frustration and decreased engagement to the work that you do. Dig deep and identify your mission statement then find the company that will help you turn this into reality.  

You’ve Lost Your Passion

Everyone who enters the workforce starts with a passion to be great at their job. For the lucky ones, this passion will stay. It may lessen in degree sometimes but never lost. Then there are those who, caught in the lull of unfulfilling tasks, eventually lose that fire. If you’re having a difficult time answering the question, “What gets you out of bed in the morning?” or walk out the door as soon as the clock strikes 5 pm, then it might be time to switch gears. 

Your Work Has A Negative ROI 

Everything you put your time and effort into is an investment. That includes your work. Before you say yes to a job, there’s a conscious effort of evaluating whether your investment matches your returns. So, you ask for the scope of responsibilities that your role carries and you gauge whether the number offered on the table aligns with their demands. But oftentimes, the job description looks simpler on paper and the tasks you do in real life are more nuanced than what you had in mind. Soon, you find yourself recalculating: “Is what I’m gaining worth the investment that I’m putting in?” 

Remember that gains don’t immediately pertain to your income. These could also be in the form of the skills and knowledge you retain at work. Are you learning from your managers and colleagues? Are you progressing? Or, have you become stagnant? If your investment outweighs your returns, then it may be time to leave your job and find something that not just aligns with your values but also with your investment.

Be Flexible 

No job is perfect. Some days will be dreary and some days will be exciting. However, if you find yourself spending more energy convincing yourself that you’re on the right path, then re-evaluating your goals is imperative. No one knows what they want off the bat. Oftentimes, it’s a trial-and-error process. You could start by answering career tests. If that doesn’t help, go back to that time when you were seven—when you played as a teacher, a firefighter, or a superhero. At a young age, even you knew that paths change. 

Warning: You’re On the Wrong Career Track

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