As a full-time employee, I hear countless complaints almost every day from fellow Emirati colleagues in the workforce about different aspects of their careers and business aspirations.
Some want to quit and stay at home, others want a whole change of career 10 years into their jobs, while a countless bunch want to abandon the government sector, and start their dream small business.
Many complaints represent a dilemma that hundreds of people I read about are similarly facing worldwide.
A common one is also faced by one of my colleagues who shared with me her following issue: "I'm 34, and I've been working for almost 10 years now in the government sector. I'm paid extremely well, and I love my environment. My manager is great and so are my colleagues. But I drag myself to work every day. I feel that my time in the office is wasted when I could be working on something bigger. I don't know if this is a sign to change my job or I'm just bored."
I am sure that you may have come across someone with a similar issue. My friend fears that if she changes her job, she will end up in a worse place, with ill-behaved colleagues, unlike her current ones. But when can one know if a change of career is needed? Is it after a certain time frame or do certain events need to occur? Not necessarily. It differs from one person to another, and can depend on the situation one was put in.
Some people quit their jobs two months down the road and join a completely different sector. While others, like an old colleague of mine, decide to re-enroll in university seven years into their financial career, and pursue an art major instead.
Through personal experience, and in-depth research, I found that there are signs, discussed below, that would effectively indicate whether a person needs a change of career. If identified, one should make a decision once and for all whether they should stay or leave.
1 When your responsibilities and tasks do not match you at all. You may be good at creating analytical financial charts for an asset management fund you help to manage, but you hate what you do, and could not care less about numbers. This is one aspect that should not be ignored, because success in your career depends greatly on whether you love what you do or not.
2 When you have this itchy feeling that overcomes your mind every day at the office, and that is that your talents and abilities are made for something better. If you believe and keep saying to yourself that there is more to life than what you are currently doing, then repeat it no more, for there sure is.
Here is an example. I have two colleagues who previously held good positions at government corporations. One was working in the new nuclear energy sector, while the other worked as a senior financial analyst. Two different fields, with one common factor: they both disliked what they did, and they wanted to pursue their passions. But they were scared to chase after them, and needed a nudge.
However, the more they hung on to their jobs, the more miserable they became. It even affected their health. Stress developed for both, and one of them took up smoking and drank excessive amounts of coffee. Everyone around them was concerned.
Eventually they were brave enough to quit. One year down the road and they are on their way to great success. One is strongly becoming an international renowned fashion designer and the other is writing his second book. The best part is that they are happy, driven, and more successful than they were in their jobs.
3 If you feel chronically stressed, and exhausted. One of the first questions a doctor asks stressed patients is whether they are comfortable with their life/jobs. If you do not enjoy your job, it will definitely reflect on your health. You will constantly feel worn out, exhausted, and not energetic to do anything, which will ultimately reflect negatively on your work productivity.
Change is a very hard thing to go through, whether it is related to work, personal life or career. The important thing is to identify whether change is the ultimate solution to overcome a negative situation we are put in. That is why, when it comes to career, one should honestly face the situation and check whether the above symptoms apply. It will be downhill from there.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and fashion designer