Exhausted man leans his head against blackboard in classroom

After spending years in one career, it can be disconcerting to discover that the job you held wasn’t right for you in the slightest. To that end, getting out of a mismatched career should always be your first priority to improve your mental well-being and ensure a stress-free work life. Unfortunately, far too many people around the world stay at a mismatched career because the job they held is all they’ve come to known.

Escaping such a career should always be your first priority. Doing so, however, requires acknowledgment of the common signs that emerge when you are in the wrong career. To spot these signs, you will need to know what you are looking for. In order to successfully do this, you need to take the time to be introspective and reflect on your life up to this current moment. Should you spot some of the below signs, ensure that you focus on a healthy transition right away.

You Are Bored at Work

Everybody gets bored at work sometimes and the Monday blues afflict all of us. Funnily enough, Forbes once discussed how being bored at work, to a degree, can actually be good for your brain and you as a whole. However, if you notice that your boredom seems to take over each day and you can never complete your daily tasks due to it, then it is a red flag that you may be in the wrong career.

When noticing this, attempt to focus on what is making you feel so bored in particular. This will help you determine if the cause of your boredom is due to the job you have now or your career as a whole. If it is the former, then you are in luck and may only need to change jobs in order to alleviate the boredom. Unfortunately, if the latter is true, solving the boredom may require a career switch.

Don’t worry about identifying a new career, though, as there are countless sources that can help you along in the process. You should identify what strikes an interest in your heart and go from there. Pretend you are in an interview and answer the question of what motivates you? Use your answer to narrow down which career paths may be best suited for your skills and talents.

You Complain About Your Job Constantly

One of the biggest signs that you are in the wrong career is if you are a friend who complains about their job after work. We’ve all had those days where we need to complain about our job, but if you find yourself increasingly frustrated at work, it’s best to consider learning how to write a two-week notice letter.

Whenever you leave a job, it’s always good practice to maintain a positive relationship with the company you served. Assuming you try to switch into a radically different career, you probably won’t have solid work experience to show a new recruiter. A glowing letter of recommendation, however, may cause them to overlook your lack of experience in that particular field.

Don’t settle for complaining about your job every single day. If your friends are always asking why you complain about your job, don’t ignore this strong sign that you have ended up on the wrong career path. Pursue a career that actually interests you and doesn’t leave you bored each day.

A Different Career Fascinates You

One of the other largest signs that you may be in the wrong career is if another career fascinates you. To be fair, there are a number of interesting jobs emerging as technology advances. It’s normal to be interested in watching the development of these careers and the employees who enter them. 

If this fascination gets in the way of your current job, though, consider attending an online degree program, because it may be time for a new career path. In today’s day and age, anyone can switch careers at any age by attending online educational institutions. Consider attending a popular trade school, such as Flatiron School, which offers comprehensive courses in new tech fields. Changing your career may be as simple as enrolling in a school near you. 


There’s no shame in ending up on the wrong career path. Not escaping that path when you notice the signs, however, should never be done. Sacrificing your mental well-being and stress-free life simply because the job you have now offered you a salary or certain benefits is never a good idea. This can lead you to become jaded about your work in the long-run and less happy overall. Take the signs you notice and act on them immediately in order to turn your work life around and set yourself up for a better career as a whole.

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

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