Career Change? when is it Time to Change Careers?

Career change is not the grandest display of my accomplishments, but I have an extensive array of jobs. Having worked my first job at KFC for over three years, I never really looked for the signs of a career change. I eventually moved on to Waffle House, stocked shelves, lifeguarded, yard service, got my CDL, and managed a restaurant in TN. During these jobs my wants changed and my needs increased. There came a time when the pay off didn’t meet my desires. Work smart, not hard and I believe I do both well. My friends and family work in restaurants and retail, and everyone in this business has looked back and thought “what if”? Whether you serve tables, work in retail, or in the downtown law offices, you should know the signals that tell you when it is time for a career change.

Do what you love

We all know it’s hard to do a job you hate, but if you know that you don’t like your job from the start, why stick around waiting to find out the extent of your dislike? When you don’t enjoy a job, you are less likely to be productive and ultimately you have no chance in advancement. You end up with less money and even fewer reasons to go in. A career change here may be exactly what you need to start really earning a living.

Getting along with co-workers

A career change starts off with an introduction to some of your potential co-workers and management. Naturally, we have different first impressions of the people we meet, but you should trust your feelings and decide if this environment of people is right for you. In most cases, unless it’s management, you can avoid certain people for the majority of your day. It might not be them; maybe you are in the wrong atmosphere for your personality and need a career change fast.

Management Criteria

I’ve worked jobs where management will come in like the police and look down at the employee. Even with dedicated employees who keep the manager’s job viable and have profited the business for years, deal with management that treats them like the “help”. Every server has waited on a table who clearly misunderstands what a waiter/waitress does and what’s expected of that server, then leave 10% or less for a tip. If a manager demands things of you without reason, or demands respect without giving it in return and is uncomfortable to work with, tell someone. Unless you are paid high dollar, there is no reason to deal with stressful expectations from the guest or the management team. There are plenty of minimum wage jobs out there when you need a career change.

Jobs with benefits

Your job is important, but your life is more important. Someone years ago decided to make life about the accumulation of wealth, and everything we have determined by that amount of wealth. I understand the importance of my job, but I believe it is necessary that my job understands that I have a full time life that I want to attend. Paid vacations and insurance is great, but shouldn’t be used as ransom to their perception of your quality of work. I work a set schedule so management knows what days to expect me, and if I can, I will work other days. In my field, there’s no bargaining for benefits at $2.13 an hour, but I expect decent hours, fair rotation of sections, and to be treated like an essential team member given that I care for the guest for most of their stay. If you are not a valued part of your job then it’s time for a career change, even if they have decent benefits.

We work for a living

This seems obvious, yet I have had a job knowing I should expect more pay. They are not going to give money away, but if they are saving money by working you for less, you might as well be on the end of a stick (sucker). After working a few years, you should know what skills you offer and their worth. Negotiation is always an option, and don’t make a career change because they won’t give you a raise, but feel free to keep looking. The best time to find a job is on the job. It’s like bringing cash to a car lot. If they know you are looking and think you do good work they might make the first offer.

I have left many jobs for many reasons. I have been at jobs and thought it was the best, until I realized I was in a job the next year that I loved even more. As in your life, find a balance at work or you will have many lengthy nerve-racking days when all you really needed was a career change.

Here are my other articles on careers and visit my do it yourself website with tips for the home and garden @

Interview Questions: Q&A Review

Things to Do and Not to Do at an Interview

Management: Qualities of Effective Management

Do’s And Don’ts When Firing an Employee

Living Life on a Budget

Mortgage Review: First Time Home Buyers

Refinancing a Manufactured Home

Credit Cards: The Good and Ugly

Scoring High on Credit Reports