5 Reasons We Fear Career Change (and What to Do About It)


You’re a leader, right? Doesn’t that mean you’re fearless?

Maybe on some things, but the prospect of changing careers has stopped you cold. You probably don’t admit this to very many people.

Is this you?

It would seem we’re more comfortable seeking divorce from our spouse than divorce from our job. (Like this thought? Tweet it!) The divorce rate is certainly much higher than the voluntary turnover rate (when you leave by your own choice).

If this is the year you’re finally going to make this important, life-changing decision (career change, not divorce), here are some reasons you may be feeling that fear and what you can do about it. You don’t have to wait any longer.


1. Fear of the Unknown

You know you need a change, but at this point, you have no clue what you’re going to do. As a result, you’re left inside your own head conjuring up a thousand possible things that could go wrong.

Fix: Remember that you control your thinking. When these thoughts enter your head, simply tell yourself you don’t yet know enough to have anything to fear. Brush off this unknown boogieman.


2. Fear You Won’t Like Where You’re Headed

You might not like where you’ve been, and even if you do, we grow very fond of our job situation simply because we at least know what we’re dealing with.

Fix: Vow that your new career exploration will include plenty of investigation so you know exactly what to expect. Far too many people don’t do the work they need to in order to fully understand the career they’re headed to. This is an easy fix, as long as you do the work.


3. Fear of Lost Income

You’d be starting over again, right? You couldn’t possibly take a pay cut; you have too many things dependent on your income. Besides, you’d feel personally deflated by a loss of income.

Fix: Figure out the very least you could live on for a few years and make that your cutoff point. Not all career changes mean you have to take a pay cut. Don’t make assumptions until you’ve done your homework and research.


4. Fear of Retooling Yourself

You’re making the assumption that to make a change, you need to go back to school. You might feel like it’s too late, or maybe you don’t want to invest your time at this point.

Fix: Remember that when you’re on the journey to decide your new career, you can pick a whole list of criteria for what would constitute a good next step. Just like income, if you know you’re not equipped for school anymore, make that part of your criteria for selection. Most jobs don’t require a specific degree. Certification programs exist that are usually short in duration, if that makes sense for the direction you’re taking.


5. Fear of Not Knowing What to Do Next

You don’t really even know the first step you’d take to figure out what to do next. Do you go apply for jobs that sound good?

Fix: First, step away from the resume. Changing careers by doing a job search usually results in massive disappointment. You might “find” something, but usually you don’t find something you love.

Deciding on a career is a journey of investigation, research and exploration. You won’t figure out a new career by sitting on the couch or in your office. You also need to possess a good measure of patience as this won’t be an overnight discovery.

Make a career change this year and start the exploration now. You deserve to have a career you love.

Are you in the midst of a career change right now? What are your biggest fears? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Image: Flickr

Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.

About Dorothy

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is the Introvert Whisperer, Career & Leadership, speaker and author.

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