How to Cope with the Fear of Changing Your Job or Career

How to Cope with the Fear of Changing Your Job or Career

Getting Over The Fear of Changing Your Job or Career


Fear of Changing Your Job or Career

Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh on Unsplash

Deciding to leave your job is a big decision.  There is often a lot of fear of changing your job or career. Making the decision to change your whole career can be down right paralysing. What might make it easier however is understanding that this is all tied into our inherent human fear of change, and that everyone will feel it to some extent. Even if they don’t show it!

Why job change can feel so scary

Nevertheless, let’s not underestimate another reason why the fear of changing your job or career can feel so overwhelming. That is the sheer amount of decisions you have to make. I’ve written elsewhere about decision fatigue.

And there are a lot of decisions to be made when you make a career move. Decisions such as:

  • When’s the best time to hand in my notice?
  • Should I delay until after Brexit/bonus time/my holiday?
  • Should I tell my boss I’m looking elsewhere to see if I can negotiate something better here?
  • What sort of job do I want?
  • What should I put on my CV?
  • Should I change career?
  • What will my family/friends/colleagues think?
  • Should I think about the money or the prospects?

Decision Paralysis

All these decisions can add up to create something that feels and looks overwhelming. No wonder we often think it’s easier to stay put! Some of us go into research node and can spend years literally looking at alternative careers, but never do anything about them. Some of us end up procrastinating because life just gets in the way. With others it may be that we might make a few small decisions, like deciding we do want to change jobs, which seems like a momentous thing. However, until we actually update that CV and start looking, it doesn’t really mean anything.

Feel the Career Fear

Accepting that fear is part of this process is incredibly liberating. If you are feeling fear, then you’re taking this seriously, and that’s reassuring.  Let the fear propel you. The further along this process you get, the more confident and sure of yourself you will become, so use that to move you forwards. In fact, that should be a mantra at this time: look forward, not backwards.

Ways to Deal with Fear of Changing Your Job or Career

Break the process down and document it. You can use a checklist on your phone, notebook or a tick on white board on your bedroom wall. What’s important is that you can see the various steps and assess your progress as you go.

  • It’s likely that worry may start to seep in at times, especially if finding a new job isn’t happening as quickly as you would like. Rather than let it control you, set yourself 15 to 20 minutes a day or worry time and all worries have to be shut up in a box until that pre-set time. When you have that time, you catastrophise as much as you want, wallow it, feel it, but put it al back on the shelf again when your ti,e is up. Time it with a strident alarm to knock yourself out of the worry mood.
  • Find a buddy or coach (like me!) who can bot only support you, but also challenge you if you start to lose your motivation or question yourself
  • Start living this new life now, before you even have it. If you’re pondering changing career, take an evening class in something related to  your new profession to really feel the excitement. Start making contacts via LinkedIn or professional organisations, or look for a mentor in your new industry.
  • If you wait until you feel ready and in the mood to do something, that something often never gets done. take the emotion out of this, as much as you can, and look at your job or career change as a project to manage.
  • Think about stress and looking after yourself too. make sure you eat well, exercise and do the things that are going to keep you fit and alert for this process. If you’re feeling stressed by it, do whatever helps you with that: a night out with friends, book a massage. Then get back to it.
  • Research is important, but do take note if you find yourself using research as a way to delay taking action!


If you’d like to book a no-obligation call to discuss your career ot job move, please contact me here.




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