Experts tell The Independent the signs you might want to top-up your CV

In the UK school system, we have careers advisors and fairs from the early teens. By 16, we are required to decide whether we want to take A-levels potentially with the subsequent goal of university, undergo another study option or start an apprenticeship or vocational training before making that all important 'career choice'.

However, many people do not know what they want to do at this age and many won't know for a long time often feeling the pressure to decide what to do for life at the ages of 20, 25, 30 and older. Society’s expectation is to enter a career fresh out of education and stay in it, gradually progressing through promotions or moving companies and then you will really be considered ‘successful’.

It is no surprise that people often experience a crisis: Thinking they should now be at an age to have a life plan sorted or, having tried the career path they always thought they wanted to do, had a sudden realisation it might not be for them. 

Once you have a job, there is an unwritten pressure to love and be happy in your career. To have ups and downs in any job – even a ‘dream job’ is normal – but when do ‘Sunday night blues’ signal a deeper sign that your job is impacting negatively on your life and you need to get out?

Recruitment and career experts told The Independent the warning signs you might be in the wrong career:

You are bored

While it is nice to have quiet days at work, if you are constantly daydreaming because you have actually completed all tasks you are probably not being challenged enough. If you are fairly senior, this might just be that you are bored of the status quo and your industry or career.

“Boredom at work happens, and some tasks are always more tedious than others, but there should always be areas of your job that you do love. If you you’re struggling to identify any areas that excite you, it could be time to move on," Lee Biggins the founder of CV-Library says.

You are a different person at work and home

People who are happy at work tend to relax at work; if you find that after leaving the office you can finally be yourself it might be a sign that you do not feel wholly comfortable in your career.

“People who are in the right job and career would tend to bring their 'whole' selves to work, allowing themselves to form deeper relationships with colleagues,” Joe Wiggins from Glassdoor says. “Ask yourself if you are trying too hard, or if you consciously present a certain side of yourself in order to fit what you think people want to see. Maintaining a facade of competence or cheerfulness can be exhausting. Equally, being unhappy in the workplace can be draining and can bleed through to your home life, affecting your relationships.”

You don’t like talking about work

Do you prefer to ask others how their jobs are going rather than speak about yours? Perhaps you are asking questions about the type of chairs they have in your friend’s office or the coffee they provide in the kitchen rather than simply admitting work is not going great at the moment.

“Are you naturally enthusiastic and proud of what you do? Or do you clam up, pretending that everything is 'fine' or preferring to avoid talking about work altogether? If the latter, this is a useful early warning sign that things are not right,” Mr Wiggins says. “People who are satisfied at work like to talk about what they do because they are passionate about it and they are an advocate for their company and their brand. They recommend the company to friends, whereas people who are in the wrong job tend to avoid talking about it at home because they don't want to spend any more energy thinking about work than they have to.”

You leave the office as soon as you can

While it is important to have a healthy work-life balance no matter whether you love your job or not, if you are the first to rush for the doors when the clock strikes 5.30pm perhaps you need to be in a career where you wouldn’t mind putting the odd extra half an hour in.

“People who are stagnating in their current position tend to have a low propensity to contribute to team, group or company activities, such as charity days, social activities or internal gatherings. They also tend to have a higher rate of absence and are the least likely to spend any more time in work than is absolutely necessary,” Mr Wiggins says. 

You are jealous of other people’s jobs

If someone gets to travel the world for free or is in the rare field of having an unbelievable salary and holiday allowance for  not doing much actual work,  a feeling of envy is to be expected. But Sandra Hill, a managing director at Page Personnel Finance says envy of a person outside your organisation might be a sign you’re not quite where you want to be. 

 

“If, when you talk about work with people outside of your organisation, you ever feel jealous or that they work in far better places than you it’s usually a good indicator that you’re not where you want to be. Sometimes, even when you’re in a role you’re suited to, if the company isn’t right, you might wish you were elsewhere.”

You dread work every day

This might seem obvious but it can be hard to know when ‘Sunday blues’ go from being a bit sad the weekend is over and dreading tomorrow’s alarm to a sign your job is making you miserable. 

“No job is worth risking your health or happiness for, and if your routine is beginning to feel like an endless cycle of waking up, going to work, getting home, sleeping and repeat – then something’s not right,” James Reed the Chairman of Reed recruitment agency says. “Let’s face it, if you’re working for the weekend, you’re doing it wrong. Do something about it and make sure you love Mondays.”

Similarly, Ms Hill summarises: “If the thought of Monday mornings plague your weekends, there is likely a deeper issue than simply preferring to stay in bed.”

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