Want a simple litmus test for whether it's time to explore a career change? Ask yourself this question:
"Will I be happy five years from now?"
Five years from now, can you see yourself being happy with where the path you're on takes you? If the answer is no, it's time to think seriously about change.
If you can't see yourself being happy five years from now, not committing to change is the same as saying, "I commit to being unhappy." There's no sugar-coating that. If you can see that you're on the wrong path, and you opt to stay on that path, your situation in the future is entirely your own doing.
Nothing is going to improve unless you take action to make it happen. If you can see that you're on the wrong path, odds are good that five years further down that same path won't make it better. In fact, it will probably make it worse.
You'll note I'm not talking about immediate, right-now career change (unless that works for you). The truth is that for most people substantial career change is a multi-year process, from the first glimmer of exploration to the nuts and bolts of making it happen. Change that isn't possible right now is often possible over time.
I'm talking about stepping up and doing something. Admitting that things are out of wack, and accepting that it's not going to get right unless you start taking steps to do something about it. Your career change might be a dramatic big plunge, or it might happen incrementally over the next four years.
The key is not accepting the inertia of the wrong path. If you can't see yourself as happy in the future based on the path you're on, jump the rut and starting taking steps right now to change your future.
It's as simple as that.
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM