In Focus

Hallie Crawford: How do you know when it’s time to go?

Jan 4 Blog 2 Time

Deciding when to make a career change

We all have our ups and downs at work—good days and bad days, tough periods when we’re just not happy. But how do you know when it’s a chronic problem that needs major adjustment? How do you know when it’s time to move on versus a rough time that you can work through? It’s important to know the difference because career transition is a big deal. It takes time and effort and a certain amount of risk, so it’s critical to understand whether you really need to change jobs or industries, or if you are just going through a tough time that you need to—and can—work through.

For me, I knew it was time to go when I found myself crying in the bathroom at work. Yes, this is a little embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. And I have spoken to many people who have experienced similar frustration and stress at their job.

Work is a huge part of our lives. We spend a lot of our time there so it’s important that we’re fulfilled, not burned out, unhappy and continuously frustrated. A certain amount of stress and frustration is normal—work is work, it’s not always perfect—but if you don’t get fulfillment from your career, eventually you will get burned out. It’s MUCH better to think about changing careers before you hit that wall and become so frustrated that you’re ready to walk out the door.

So how do you know if it’s really time to make a change?

Here are 7 things to consider:

Take some time to really analyze and think about your answers to the above. Write them down.

Then ask yourself, “What would the ideal day at work be?” Take a few minutes and write down anything that comes to mind. Now look at the differences between your answers to this and the questions above. What elements are not in your job today? And are there enough of them to make you consider changing your career direction?

Use this exercise to find clues to what might bring you fulfillment and happiness in your career as well. The sooner you start focusing on what you want—instead of what you have if you’re unhappy—the better! The New Year is a great time to start making a change.

For more information on Hallie Crawford, visit www.HallieCrawford.com. For more Phoenix Focus articles featuring Crawford’s career expertise and advice click here.

Hallie Crawford

Hallie Crawford is a certified coach and founder of Create Your Career Path. Her team of coaches helps people find their dream job and make it a reality. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media, including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and US News & World Report. For information about their services and to sign up for a complimentary consultation, visit www.HallieCrawford.com.

9 comments on “Hallie Crawford: How do you know when it’s time to go?

  1. Lisa Bayne says:

    This article really hit home with me. The number of times I spent crying in the bathroom or sitting in my car screaming were too many to count, and sadly spanned almost two decades. I had to support my family which is why I stayed on for so long. However, I felt stuck in the lousy job because I did not have a degree at the time. My degree from University of Phoenix has brought me out of hiding. Thank you.

  2. G. Wright says:

    My problem is I love my job which is working in Education, but problem is the pay because of no degree. So I’m a Phoenix now and will graduate with my first degree in May or July 2013!

  3. Trish says:

    Hallie, my name is Trish. I’m an alumni of University of Phoenix, and graduated with a BSB/M in November 2011. I am currently pursuing my MS in Organizational Management, and will within the next two-years transition out of my job. I have worked in higher education for the last 13-years, and know my job like the back of my hand; and am ready for a career change, but want to finish my Master’s first. I have not dealt with “crying in the bathroom” – but am ready to further professional development.

    After reading your testimony, I know it’s time to move on!

  4. Carmela says:

    Most of those I fit well into. Wow!! I have known for a whole that it is time for a change. It became more evident after this years review. My review, which was elementary, but good. It is when I inquired about future advancement opportunity and told no in a nice way is when I began feeling nauseated about it. I will complete masters in May and in a low pay clerk position.

  5. Cynthia Hackaday says:

    Yes, I most certainly need a career change. I am alumni of University of Phoenix 2006.
    Cynthia Hackaday

  6. Glenn says:

    Thanks. I can relate to your perspectives. I am depressed every morning, knowing that I have 4-7 conference calls ahead of me everyday with the usual encounters of being put on the spot, or asked to attend meetings at the last minute without being prepared, as the list goes on. I graduated from Phoenix and currently at another institution for a MS in Leadership, and so far, none of my degrees seem to help, especially with the high unemployment rate and large number of job applicants. My concentration in health care at times, seems fruitless because they’re all looking for several years of experience. Otherwise, I keep playing the lottery every week, and trying to have a little faith, while I contemplate a much needed career change… as the plot thickens. (:



  7. Glenn, It does sound like a change is needed and unfortunately when we realize this, it doesn’t mean we can make that change immediately especially with the job market being the way it’s been the past several years. If I could make one suggestion, start conducting informational interviews if you haven’t already to find out how to get your foot in the door to the industries you’re interested in and as a way to expand your network to find out about potential job openings that aren’t advertised. This takes time, it’s not a quick fix, but since most people secure a job through the hidden job market (These stats from ABC news are still accurate today: http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/80-of-today-s-jobs-are-landed-through-networking), it’s an important step to take in your search. I hope this helps, Hallie Crawford, Certified Career Coach, http://www.halliecrawford.com

  8. Pingback: In Focus top 10 | Phoenix Focus

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