10 Signs You’re On the Wrong Career Ladder

Heeding These Tell-Tale Signs Can Save You Years Of Striving In The Wrong Direction

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Last night you dreamed you went into the office, only it wasn’t your office and it wasn’t your desk. Your coworkers were robots, your projects were gobbledygook. Everything was terrible, and nothing made sense. You woke up and knew you wanted to quit.

If you’re climbing the wrong career ladder, you may not have dreams that are quite so obvious but there are common tell-tale signs:

  1. Low energy. This is a big red flag that your work (or your relationship with work) is draining more than fulfilling for you.
  2. Sunday scaries. That feeling of dread before the work week starts? Not everyone has that. Read: Not “normal.”
  3. Restlessness and felt claustrophobia. Feel like a caged animal? Welcome to the secret society of entrepreneurial and creative minds.
  4. Wandering eyes. You find yourself looking at job descriptions or coming up with business ideas “just because.”
  5. Dread of promotion. No, you’re not lazy. It may just be a bad fit.
  6. Escapist fantasies. Do you love dreaming about what you would do if you won the lottery, had a basic living wage, or were otherwise freed from financial demands entirely? Your fantasies may not be real, but they do hold real clues.
  7. Impostor syndrome to your bones. This isn’t just about not feeling “good enough” or worthy. Deep-seated imposter syndrome has you feeling fundamentally out of place because you want to be out of that place. AKA cognitive dissonance.
  8. Avoiding work or doing “bare minimum.” When we’re motivated, we want to do well, and good. An ongoing pattern of “getting by” is a clear sign your heart is not and likely won’t ever be in it.
  9. Feeling indifferent when you say what you do at social functions. You are much more than your work, but a complete lack of pride or identification often reflects a lack of engagement.
  10. A sense of going through the motions. There is a muted, glazed over feeling common to those with this problem. AKA “living on automatic.”

Sometimes our bodies and gut instincts tell us a story we don’t want to hear. Heeding signs you’re on the wrong ladder will likely take you out of your comfort zone — to work or a relationship with work that is more self-aligned and alive.

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