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5 Signs Your Career Is in Trouble

Creative Market March 31, 2021 · 5 min read

In an ideal world, a job is two things at once: something that securely sustains you financially, and something that feels fulfilling to your spirit. However, when it comes to careers, things don’t always work out exactly as planned, and a job can go from being something positive in your life to something that is dragging you down. If you think you might be facing career trouble, check out the list below. These 5 signs may be just the warning you need to turn things around at work for the better, or to find a new career entirely.

1. You haven’t learned anything new lately.

Jobs are not only supposed to pay the bills; they’re also supposed to challenge you. However, it can be a bad sign for any professional if there haven’t been any new lessons to learn lately. No learning at work means that the job has become stale, rote, and automatic. Not only does this mean that a job is boring in terms of your enjoyment, but also that you’re likely phoning it in and putting little passion into what you do. The best results come when you are forced to get outside of your comfort zone and grow, and if a job hasn’t done this in a while, it may be time to move on or take on new responsibilities to reignite that spark.

2. Your industry is on the decline.

Sometimes, a career may be in jeopardy not through the fault of any individual, but because of cultural trends. Industries die out—it’s just the way society works. So, if you’re a professional who works in a declining field, like print design or print journalism, there’s a chance that your career may be on the decline as well. If your industry is on the decline, you can help ensure you’re not out of a job at some point by learning how to transfer your skills to another related field. For example, print designers can learn how to translate their drawing skills to graphic design, and print journalists can educate themselves about social media and online publications.

3. You hate all the new work you see from younger professionals entering the field.

Another fact of the professional world is that industries evolve. Even if they are thriving, they tend to change as larger trends and interests change, and this can be difficult for a veteran of any field. If you’re a veteran professional who sees new, young people doing exactly what you’re doing, but in a different style, you may be completely turned off by the new work. After all, not only is it unfamiliar, it may be threatening to your work, as well. In reality, however, an industry will change whether you are willing to accept it or not, and the industry may just leave you behind if you are not willing to adapt. People who are down on the work they see from new, fresh minds should get to know the work and the things it is inspired by. You may just learn that new, fresh ideas are actually a good thing—a thing that can help save your career in the long run.

4. You’re only focused on the money.

Of course, jobs are about supporting yourself. However, as mentioned above, they’re also about fulfillment. Someone who is only focused on the paycheck or bringing home money may be in trouble in terms of career vitality. First, every industry ebbs and flows. There will be financial dips and peaks, no matter what kind of work you do. Thus, a slowing of business (and, in turn, money that business is bringing in) could cause someone only focused on money to stress out, feel negatively about their job, and, worst of all, jump ship. Additionally, careers should be an endeavor of passion, particularly if you want to produce the best and most meaningful work. Thus, if you are only doing a job for the money, it will not have the same depth and spark as someone who does what they do for a living simply because they love it. If you are only focused on working to earn a paycheck, you should consider what passions you have, and how those passions could ultimately earn you a living. The coupling of those two things will ultimately earn you a lot more happiness and a lot more success in the long run.

5. You spend a lot of time complaining about work.

This one is the most obvious—if you spend a lot of time complaining about your job (particularly when you are not at work), it may be a sign that it’s time to improve things, or switch careers. In short, a job should simply be an enhancement to life, not a detraction. So, if you’re complaining about your work, not only are you making your dissatisfaction clear, you are also wasting more of your own time by talking about that unhappiness. In the end, complaining about work is also likely an indication that you are not doing your best work, since dissatisfaction is often a sign that passion and fulfillment is lacking, as well.

Like most areas of life, careers have peaks and valleys, and no designer should fret if they feel like they are in a professional rut. Learning more about your field, meeting new peers, or even exposing yourself to new and innovative projects may just help you save your job and feel better about what you do in the long run.

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