Signs It’s Time to Re-evaluate Your Career Goals

You woke up this week and realized the career direction you were headed in is no longer right for you. Knowing that isn’t a comfortable feeling, and you might even deny it to some degree. You were very strong in your conviction of this goal, and it’s not easy to let go of.

How did you get to this point? Was your original career goal wrong to begin with? Should you be thinking of re-evaluating your career goals?

It would be nice to think that, like some people, you knew what you wanted to be and stayed the course for 40 years. But that doesn’t happen to too many people, so don’t consider it a realistic expectation for you. Even when you have clarity about your direction, you don’t have to stay the course at all costs. Most careers weave in various directions for all sorts of reasons, and if resetting your goals looks like the right thing to you, don’t waste your time worrying. It’s think time.

Let’s look at a few signs you may be ready for a re-evaluation.

Here are the signs it’s time to re-evaluate your career goals:

1. Now That You’re Close, It’s Not That Cool

When we develop our ideas of our ideal career direction, we think of all the great things about that position. Usually, there are several steps and a few positions to pursue before you arrive. At each step, you get better visibility and more personal insight.

It might not be that great now that you can see it better, or you simply might not want to do what it takes to make that next step.

2. Your Priorities Have Changed

As we go through life, it has an interesting way of changing our minds about what’s important. You may have changed your priorities without realizing it, and now that you have, your previously chosen career goal doesn’t fit well.

3. You Have Other Interests

You may be at a point where you’ve discovered new directions for your career that now hold more interest to you. That’s fine because that’s how life works; the longer you live, the more new things you get exposed to.

Whatever the reason for the change of heart, you need to move forward to rethink your career goals. Now you’ve arrived at this point; you have many different directions you could take and steps to go with them. You have work to do to identify both your new direction and the steps you have to take to get there.

Here are some starting points:

Where You Can Go Now

1. Complete Career Change

This one can be tricky because most of us don’t know how to start from the beginning in figuring out a new career path. If you’re at a point where you’re ready to change course completely, it’s best to pull out all the tricks and settle in for a while to get this figured out. There are books to help you and career coaches that can help guide you through a self-discovery process.

Note the emphasis on self-discovery. No, no assessment will tell you where you should go next. As a career coach, I might help point you in the right direction, but you have work to do to make a good decision.

2. Course Correction

You may have thought you wanted to be CFO, but now that you’re a group controller, you think Operations Management might be better for you. While it’s a new career goal, the order of magnitude is more like a course correction.

You can capitalize on your background to get to this new career goal, but you may need to figure out what assignments you need that will better qualify you. Speak to your management for their viewpoint on what you can do to qualify you better.

3. One Step Back

You may have gotten promoted, but now that you’re there, you realize you like your previous job better. This is no problem unless you work for a company that can only see one direction for you — in which case, you will most likely need to leave for another company.

If that isn’t the case, speak to your management and human resources about your career direction to see if they can help support it.

Your career is a constantly moving thing, just like you. We no longer have a “life work” that goes on for decades, meaning rethinking and re-evaluating your career goals will happen a few times. When that time comes for you, it may take some time to get used to the fact that you want to change direction, but once you’re there, do the work to make that next step worth taking.