9 signs you need a career wake up call

“Death is the final wake up call” Douglas Hortongap 300x225 - 9 signs you need a career wake up call


What a morbid thought … you might be wondering why I’ve chosen this quote to start a conversation about your career. It’s because over the years I’ve met many people who nearly did the career equivalent. They waited until it was almost too late to wake up to themselves, realise they were in the wrong career and do something about it! It’s like seeing impending storm clouds and not taking action to avoid getting struck by lightening. Here’s what I mean …


Living a nightmare career

Maybe you know someone like Matthew who found his OK career had, over the years, turned into a nightmare career. It was never his dream to be a teacher. He wanted to be an engineer but after moving away from home and failing a few subjects at uni he found himself unsure what to do next. So he worked in some “pay the bills” jobs before going back and training as a Maths teacher. His parents were relieved he’d chosen something secure. He figured it was close enough.

Fast forward 15 years and he was not only miserable but also in danger of losing his job due to poor performance. It was only after he hit rock bottom, aided by a lot of alcohol, that he quit and pursued his dream career as an engineer in his late 40s. In his case it took nearly dying for him to wake up.


Not all wake up calls are as dramatic as Matthew’s.


You don’t need to wait for a life threatening situation to occur before you take action. Here are 9 more subtle signs that you need a career wake up call.


  1. Feel guilty that you have a career other people envy but it doesn’t make you happy
  2. Realise you’re sabotaging your career by doing poor quality work or not meeting deadlines
  3. Missed out on a promotion or client project you should want and are actually relieved you don’t have to do it
  4. Find your performance has slipped to the point where HR get involved (I’ve worked in HR so trust me when I say that is a very bad sign)
  5. Experienced a relationship breakdown because your partner is sick of the impact your career has on you
  6. Can’t relax on holiday because you dread the thought of going back to work
  7. Don’t have the time or energy to really enjoy time with your friends or family because of your career
  8. Have stopped doing any of the hobbies you love because your career is so draining
  9. Count down the days until you can retire


If you can relate to any of these statements I suggest you take my free Career Wake Up Call Quiz. This will automatically sign you up for my regular Dream Career Tips full of ideas on how to create your dream career. They might be just the wake up call you need to take action.


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