The Biggest Sign That You Should Probably Change Careers

If this one thought entered your mind, get out. It may have entered your mind while you were grinding away over a weekend to hit a client deadline. It may have entered your mind during a big internal meeting. Or maybe it entered your mind pretty much every single second of every single day.

If it happened at all, it’s time for you to make a change. So, what’s this thought?

“I just don’t care.”

You spend a ton of time at work. 40+ hours a week makes up a significant portion of your life. You shouldn’t waste time doing stuff that you don’t care about.

Think about how you ended up where you currently are. Map out your life in reverse order. If you do so, you’ll realize that a lot of random and seemingly unimportant events ultimately led you to where you are now.

High school sets you on a certain track. In high school, you had the opportunity to pick certain electives. These electives (things like video production, journalism, business law, economics, music, etc.) exposed you to things you may or may not have been interested in. You probably picked your electives based on four key criteria:

  1. What you were interested in,
  2. What your friends were interested in,
  3. What you thought would make you look cool to your peers, and
  4. Things related to what your parents do for work.

Personally, I got my introduction to computer programming from my friend’s dad, who was a professional programmer.

During college, you pick a more defined track. You have an idea of what you’d like to major in, based on your high school experience. You might make some adjustments along the way, depending on some classes that you try or the friends that you make.

Unfortunately, you have far less time than you think to pick a direction. After all, you need to start pursuing internships in the field that you think you like.

Once you graduate, you pursue a career in the track you started on years ago. Your best chance to land a job out of college is to pursue one that fits with your major and previous internship experience. So you continue down the path that you set in motion years ago.

This is exactly why so many people in their mid-to-late 20s find themselves stuck with a plan that they made years and years ago, before they knew what they actually cared about doing.

Just because you’re here now doesn’t mean that you need to stay here. You’re here, and you’ve realized that you just don’t care about the industry that you identified as an interest over a decade ago. This shouldn’t be that surprising.

It’s okay to zoom out. It’s okay to search for something that you do care about. There are so many career paths out there; you don’t need to continue working in one that you hate.

Everything that happened before today no longer matters. Seriously, it doesn’t. If you don’t care, then you weren’t meant to be where you are. It doesn’t matter:

  • who your best friend was in high school,
  • which courses you took in college, or
  • which industry you picked after graduating.

It’s never too late to throw away the arbitrary sequence of life events that led you to where you are today. And it’s never too late to start something new.

So, if you’ve been thinking “I just don’t care” a lot lately, know that the path that you’re on now isn’t the only one can take. You may need to get out to find a way to care again. If so, you’re definitely not alone.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

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