So you may have noticed that something is off. But you can’t put your finger on it. Or maybe you can, but aren’t ready to make a change. You know that your enthusiasm for your job is waning and it has been a while since you felt excited to get up for work. You clock watch and dream of escaping the ward for anywhere else.
The above are perhaps signs that it is time, to be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you are in the right role. Being in a role that isn’t suitable for you is depressing. And it can impact not only your work life but your home life. So why are you staying?
If you’re umming and ahhing every day about whether you should stay or go, here are a few signs that may help you in deciding whether this role is indeed the right role for you.
You feel it brings out the worst in you
Do you feel like an imposter? Are you frayed, stressed and anxious? Do you find yourself getting angry at the slightest things? In short, do you feel all out of whack?
Also, take note of any new habits you may have taken up as a way to cope with this unsuitable role. Excessive drinking, smoking, overeating (or under-eating), or any self-destructive patterns need to be addressed immediately.
If you feel the job is indeed changing you for the worst, it is time you find something that will help to bring out your best.
Your skills feel under-utilised
All those years of training, experience and skills but you’re not putting any of it to use? This is certainly going to leave you feeling down and discouraged especially about your future. This is also about feeling your contribution to the ward isn’t recognised.
You don’t see the role going anywhere
Are there opportunities for advancement in your area? Feeling that you’re in a stuck job isn’t ideal. But knowing you are is worse. With no room to grow or manoeuvre, the role can get old very quickly. Take this as an early sign to begin looking elsewhere for something that provides you with the opportunity for growth.
Also, think about if you want advancement? It is totally fine if you are happy with the level you are. This point applies to people who wish to move into more senior roles.
You know your heart is elsewhere
Do you spend most of your daydreaming about your ideal job? The more you think about it, the more you realize how unsuitable your current situation is.
It is great of you to work hard in a role which isn’t ideal for you. You never know what crucial experiences you are getting. But you may find you are dreaming of a role somewhere else. Focus on the current experiences that you are gaining in the meantime.
Trust yourself to know when it is time to jump.
You feel obligated to stay
This is common. I stayed in a job which wasn’t suited as several other people had resigned and I felt bad leaving too. What advice would you give to someone else you felt this way? Would you encourage them to look after their own needs? Most likely – so start talking to yourself in a way you would to your best friend. You may also feel you have spent too long investing in improving your skills for the role you are in. It is probably time to think about moving on.
Be thankful for the opportunities you had on the ward and thank those you have helped you.
The people who truly value you and your work will respect your decision.
You’re constantly underperforming
Is the job stressing you out as you feel behind each shift? Like you are chasing your tail? Are people needing to help you or have you been asked to improve with no help offered? Take a minute to step back and think about why you are underperforming in this role? It could be that it’s not you or your abilities but that the role just doesn’t fit your requirements.
Lack of excitement
Sometimes when you have been in a job for a while the excitement can just fade. Being more engaged and setting goals can help with this lack of enthusiasm. You may enjoy going into work each day but still feel a rumble of being tired, bored or generally unmotivated. This could all be a sign that it is time to stretch your wings. Consider working towards a regrading, or look at secondments or if there is a different area to try.
You are constantly criticized.
This may not be from your manager. But it could be from your colleagues or maybe even patients and their families. If you don’t ‘feel’ your job and people pick up on this they may start doubting your abilities. If you feel criticised perhaps it’s time to reflect on why and consider the attitude you bring to work.
You are left emotionally drained.
At the end of your shift, you are exhausted. The trip home is a daze. You don’t even play music. You sit in silence. You don’t remember the drive home. You spend the evening on the couch, unengaged with hobbies or with the people you live with. You dread having to do it all again tomorrow. This is not right.
Your boundaries are not respected
Your manager asks you to constantly work overtime. You are asked to do work that you don’t feel comfortable undertaking. People interrupt you constantly when you are busy. If you feel you are regularly dismissed by other staff then perhaps you need to work on being more vocal about your boundaries or take your skills to a new role.
If something here resonates with you then check out our previous blog posts on finding your nursing niche to help direct you in the right way.