7 Tips for Overcoming a Fear of Changing Jobs

It sounds amazing to quit a job you don’t like in order to do something you love – but doing it? That’s another matter entirely.

No one wants to spend years of their life tied to a job they hate, a boss they loathe or to work that makes them fall asleep in their carefully wrapped turkey and cheese sandwiches.

But the truth is changing your career is a lot less scary than you thought. Here are 10 things you shouldn’t be afraid of when you’re changing careers.

How To Overcome The Fear Of Changing Careers

Why do people have a fear of changing jobs?

Most people enjoy the feeling of comfort that comes from understanding their environment. Knowing how the systems of a workplace function, who you can go to for help and the way a companys culture works allows you to avoid feeling tense or worried about doing something wrong. Any new job requires learning how a different organization operates, how its employees interact and how you can become a successful member of a new professional community.

Many people base fears on a mix of rational possibilities and irrational worries. For instance, you might fear the real possibility of feeling somewhat embarrassed when you make a beginner mistake in your new role. You also might irrationally fear sleeping through your alarm and missing your first day of work, even if such a mistake has never happened to you. Overcoming these fears requires both accepting that new jobs come with challenges and thinking through the unproductive concerns that make new opportunities seem frightening.

Tips for overcoming a fear of changing jobs

Here are seven tips to help you feel ready to change positions with less fear:

1. Redefine your fear

Recognize that although feelings of fear usually misrepresent the reality of changing jobs, they can be productive by encouraging you to take action to prepare for your job search. Try to redefine your fears as motivators. Redefine fears you can overcome as opportunities for growth and develop strategies to make progress. For instance, if a major fear of yours is interviewing, ask a friend to help you practice or write out the points you would include when answering possible questions.

2. Describe your fears in writing

Writing out your fears in a journal or elsewhere can help you identify the primary contributors to your worries. Consider listing your sources of fear, how they make you feel, what they prevent you from doing and practical steps you can take to overcome each one. You may gain several useful insights about your fears, such as:

3. Practice engaging fear

While being comfortable in your routine can reduce certain stresses, it may make adapting to new circumstances more difficult. Many people have both major fears and smaller ones that only cause mild discomfort, such as trying new foods or meeting new people. Changing jobs might seem more intimidating if its one of the few times you actively engage something uncomfortable. Consider if there are activities you can try to develop greater openness to new experiences. When its time to send out your resume, you might feel more prepared for the job search.

4. Remain focused at your current position

Often, fears of changing jobs involve your relationship to your current position. You might not want to upset or disappoint coworkers or your manager, or you might feel that thinking about a job change is distracting you from your work. Remember that continuing to perform well in your current role can only help your future plans. By remaining on good terms with your employer and colleagues, you might have better success securing a reference or referral. Putting forth your best effort can also help you devote less mental energy to worrying about a transition.

5. Research the opportunities that interest you

You can directly resolve some fears about a future work environment with research. For instance, if youre concerned about fitting in with new colleagues or adjusting to a companys culture, you can use professional social networks and company review sites to better understand who youd work with and how the workplace operates. Former and current employees often provide honest insights on these forums that detail what you can expect, reducing the uncertainty that leads to fearfulness.

6. Seek professional advice

There are various professional resources to assist with the challenges of changing jobs. Depending on what primarily causes your fears, you might seek:

7. Develop your skills

A common job change fear is that you would struggle to meet expectations in a new role. Most jobs require learning some new skills or information for success. However, by carefully reviewing the duties listed in job descriptions relevant to your search, you can identify skills you already have, those you dont and those you might further develop to become a better candidate. By actively preparing for a change of jobs, you empower yourself to have some control over the situation and minimize the difficulties that typically characterize starting a new role.

FAQ

Is it normal to be scared of changing jobs?

Many people are afraid to get a new job because their identity and self-worth are tied to their current job. Naturally, the idea of moving to a new job can feel like you’re transitioning your identity and that can be as unsettling as looking in the mirror and seeing someone else’s face instead of your own.

How do I get over my fear of changing jobs?

Tips for overcoming a fear of changing jobs
  1. Redefine your fear. …
  2. Describe your fears in writing. …
  3. Practice engaging fear. …
  4. Remain focused at your current position. …
  5. Research the opportunities that interest you. …
  6. Seek professional advice. …
  7. Develop your skills.

Why are career changes scary?

Another common fear of career change is that of regret and making the wrong choice. Perhaps you’re afraid of taking the leap and realising you don’t like it and miss your previous path, or you’re scared that you aren’t making the right career change and will want to later do something else.

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