Have you been feeling disengaged at work? Do you feel your mind wandering? Do you wonder if this job is really the right one for you?

You may not be completely unhappy per se, but you also know you’re not happy.

You maybe wondering if what you’re feeling is normal. When you talk with your friends, some are going through similar issues, and they seem to be sticking things out okay.

Maybe you’re just going through a rough patch. Maybe this specific role just isn’t working. Maybe you’re just not feeling good about where the company is at this specific point in time.

Feeling doubt in your career is something completely normal. Doubt is the first of the 7 stages of a career change. However, this feeling of something being off in your job can be a warning sign of a larger issue that goes beyond your specific role at your company and extends into how happy you’ll be in the long run with your career or industry choice.

Here are 4 warning signs I hear from people—things I’ve felt myself in past roles—that could signal you may be in the wrong job. How many of these are you feeling?

1) Mismatch between talents & tasks

Talent to task mismatchThis is the feeling you get when you’re not making the most of who you are. Constantly feeling like your true talents aren’t being utilized. Like you’re not exactly a “natural” at your daily tasks for projects. Consequently, you may feel like you’re not very good at what you do, like you’re always falling short, or like your natural interests, personality, or preferred ways of working aren’t well aligned to the work you’re doing.

2) Misalignment with organizational culture

You feel out of placeYou feel out of place. Like people don’t get you. You feel very different from everyone else around you. In fact, you’re expending a lot of energy trying to be someone else in order to fit in. The organizational culture also doesn’t sit well with you. The behaviors required to do well in your particular role are in conflict with your values, the person you want to be, or the person you want to become.

3) Work is energy draining

Human Highway, Kevin Dooley IM Free

Photo credit: Kevin Dooley

By the end of each day, you feel a sense of relief, but also very spent. By the end of the week, you’re completely exhausted. You feel like everything you’re doing requires so much effort, which leaves you feeling drained. You spend your weekends resting and recuperating from all the energy-depleting projects that fill your workweek.

4) Feeling like work doesn’t matter

Matthew Wiebe

Photo credit: Matthew Wiebe

This is a big one. While your job may look fine on paper, and while you may even know plenty of people who would want your job, deep down, you don’t really feel like your work matters. You may feel like a cog in a wheel, especially if you’re at a very large position or company. Maybe you’re working on a project that doesn’t feel like it really matters. Most importantly, the work you’re doing may not matter to you. You just don’t feel like you’re making the difference you want to in your job, your company, or in the world for that matter.

Hear more about these symptoms of career doubt

You’re not alone in feeling this way. I’ve been there myself. In this four-minute video, I describe these four signs in more detail, and I share anecdotes from my own career experiences when I’ve felt each of these. I hope the video can help you clarify whether you’re feeling any one of these symptoms of career doubt.

Now that you’ve heard of a few common causes of job dissatisfaction, it’s your turn to pinpoint which part of your job you dislike. Before you do anything drastic, try to first clearly define what exactly is wrong in your current job. Taking the time to do this can help you more objectively assess whether you can address these issues or if you need to make a larger change.

Get your free job satisfaction snapshot

For some helpful structure around how to think about this, you can download this Professional Assessment Tool to do a quick assessment and get a visual snapshot of how you’re feeling about your current job. Note, you’ll need to open this in Excel in order for the sheet to auto-fill properly.

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About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu helps aspiring professionals relaunch their careers to do work that matters. As a keynote speaker, career & personal branding consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, his passion is helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands.

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