Signs You’re In Your Career For The Wrong Reasons

June 17, 2019  |  
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wrong career decision

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Figuring out what you want to do with your life is hard. But, there is this pressure to figure it out quickly. We have to pick a major in college when we’re not even 20 years old. Just a few years prior, we still had a curfew, an allowance, and couldn’t legally vote and there we are, terrified and confused and deciding what path we’d like to go down forever. Of course, you don’t have to work in the field that you study, but it’s pretty hard to break out of that course later. Your degree lends itself to only certain jobs and not to others. So those are the ones you go for. But maybe you only chose that path because your best friends were doing it, too. Or because it makes a lot of money. Or because it seemed cool. Once you’re well into your thirties or forties it can be hard to admit if you’re in the wrong line of work, but there are some glaring signs. Here are signs you’re in your career for all the wrong reasons.


You’d never do it for free

You would never even entertain the idea of doing it for free. You won’t do pro bono work. If your company asks you to take on some weekend work that you can take or leave, for no extra pay, you find your way out of it. So, that means you’re only in it for the money. If you loved your work, you’d do it for free sometimes.


You mimic what others do

You don’t seem to get your own light bulb ideas. Your work doesn’t get your creative juices flowing. You don’t forge your own path. You aren’t a pioneer in any way. You just do what you see others doing, like a minion.


You experience a lot of envy

You feel a tremendous amount of jealousy. You watch the progress of others carefully, comparing yourself all of the time, and becoming very irritated when someone gets what you want. That’s because, again, the work itself doesn’t make you happy. You almost have to focus on something exterior, like some fake race with someone else, to get any excitement out of this work.


You feel you have something to prove

Maybe you won’t admit it to outsiders, but deep down, you feel you have something to prove. You’ve always felt insecure for some reason and there are “haters” you want to prove wrong. There are people from childhood, or college, that you want to be jealous of you and impressed with you. You post a lot online about your career, hoping those people see it.


You aren’t happy without lots of attention

Speaking of posting online, your need for attention is essentially a bottomless pit. You post about your success a tremendous amount online, often inflating the truth. You live for those likes. You are hyper aware of how outsiders perceive you, and couldn’t stand the thought that nobody was watching you. You wouldn’t enjoy the work, if nobody were watching it.


So you only want the high-profile work

Since you want attention so badly, you really only want those high-profile cases. If you’re a lawyer, for example, you don’t want to help the underdog—you won’t take the case that won’t garner media attention.


Approval of others is very important

You want very badly to be approved by a certain group of people. Maybe it’s the members of an exclusive country club, who all live in an upscale gated community. You want to get into that literal and figurative club. You know this type of work will get you that lifestyle. You’re in this work to be accepted by a group, more than you are to be accepted by yourself.


You nitpick over responsibilities

You’re hyper conscious of what does fall within your job description and what doesn’t, and won’t lift a finger to do something that isn’t your job. That’s because you barely like your job as it is, so you aren’t doing any more of it if you don’t have to.


You don’t like any coworkers

If you really don’t get along with or relate to any of your coworkers, you’re probably in the wrong line of work. Like-minded individuals tend to be drawn to the same types of work. You won’t be besties with every coworker, but if you really feel like an outsider and can’t find one thing in common with these colleagues, that’s a red flag.


It’s what your family has always done

You went into this work because it’s what your family has always done. You want to impress them. They had connections. You knew you wouldn’t have to work hard to move up the ranks. You didn’t like the idea of trying to find something else to do. And you didn’t like the idea of letting your family down by doing something different.


You dread the unknown

Speaking of finding something else to do, the prospect of the unknown terrifies you. You have nightmares over what would happen if you had to decide what you really want to do with your life. So you’re sticking to this job for fear of discovering the truth, but not because you like it.


You fuss over PTO and hours

You are also very fussy over paid time off and hours. You don’t want to work one hour over the time you’re supposed to be off. You push for a tremendous amount of paid time off. You’d never cut your lunch break short to get back to a project.


You couldn’t name a role model

There isn’t anybody in your industry to whom you truly look up to. There isn’t anyone whose career you’d like to emulate. You don’t see yourself in anyone who is successful in your industry.


You don’t light up when you discuss it

When you talk about your work, people often ask, “Are you tired?” or “Did you have a hard day?” Your facial expressions and tone all just seem to droop when you discuss your work.


You’re jealous of those who have less

You find yourself feeling jealous of individuals who, from an outsider’s perspective, have less than you. They have a tiny apartment, old, beat-up cars, and no money to vacation. But you know what they do have? They appear to have joy, because they’re doing what they love.

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