If you are afraid to change careers, read this story about one of my clients and how he worked through making an important decision to move forward with a new career.
He sits in front of me silent with his head hanging then after a long pause, he looks up and breaths a deep sigh and says…”I’m afraid to change careers”.
What seemed like a young and upcoming professional who had his new career all sewn up neatly, is a man who is wrought with anxiety over the fact that he must change his career but is verbally telling me that he is afraid of this change.
I had seen him many times before for other consulting never knowing that his heart was in so much turmoil. He never said a word about how uneasy he was about the direction he had chosen for his career.
He was only 25 years old and single, he has his bright future ahead of him and his education behind him. Correction… his expensive education behind him.
Afraid to change careers – what will they think of me?
This field was all that he knew. It was only natural that he chose this path.
After probing, I gained new perspective as to what he was feeling. I asked him all about everything that brought him to this point.
You see, he was feeling a calling in a different direction. He saw what he called “crimes” playing out in the education industry that he was appalled by and wanted so desperately to play a different role and make lasting, positive changes. To do this, he needed to grow.
We discussed many different scenarios. One of them was seeing this career through a little further. We found that, regardless of any promotion he could get, true passion would still be missing from his work.
This is a question I’d like you to ask yourself, too.
Is a raise the only thing standing between me and enjoying what I do?
Have I fallen out of love with my career just because it doesn’t pay well enough right now?
If my financial situation was better, could I find the passion for my work again?
I do believe that you have found your passion when you can do it without being paid. Whether you feel like you can, or actually can in real life are two different things. It’s a novel idea, but what happens in the real world when what you love doesn’t pay the bills?
If the answer to those three questions is yes, then you need to look at other solutions. You could consider looking into some simple side gigs, and selling off some of your old stuff. You could educate yourself on some small investment opportunities. You may simply just need to take a closer look at your money management.
My friend here had indeed fallen out of love with his job, but it was about more than just a small paycheck. He dreaded all of the face-to-face with fussy clients. Countless revisions of his work for people who really didn’t know what they want from the beginning made it boring and repetitive. He didn’t like all of the freedom they had to order him around.
He knew he wasn’t satisfied in this career. Intuitively, he did know what had to be done. Still, he was afraid to change careers.
These where the questions that he was grappling with.
- What would it mean if he changed careers?
- Would his folks be disappointed if he changed careers?
- Would people look at him as if he was a fool to throw away four years of college?
- How could he deal with the guilt of throwing away tens of thousands of dollars on the education?
- How could he justify in his mind spending even more money on his education?
- Where on earth would he find time to go back to school and work full time?
He’s fortunate that he doesn’t have children or a wife to consider. If that’s what you’re battling with, I’m sure your list of questions to work out is even longer. These are realities for many people. It’s a difficult decision to make, and it’s easy to see why a person would be afraid to change careers.
These are the life-changing decisions that I was inspired by which turned my attention to life coaching.
Afraid to change careers – How DOES one go about making a difficult decision like this?
- Make a list – Your fist line of defense is formulating a list like we did as to what exactly you are afraid of. Be certain to be detailed so that you can deal with each issue. This is important because you will have homework. Highlight any concern that you have that impacts a loved one as this is the issue that gets the most focus. Your needs/wants vs. someone else’s is a bit more complex and needs tremendous attention.
- Research – With each issue, you will need a certain amount of research to “answer” them. In some cases, you will need to educate yourself about what will be involved with the new career. For example, what will be the financial investment and what sort of time constraints re-educating yourself may be.
- Visualize -Take your time and evaluate this fully before making your decision. Do yourself a favor and visualize what the steps would look like, especially if you were to be adding education on top of your full-time job and any family commitments that exist currently. You really need to understand what impact this career change will have on others that are close to you. The more you visualize HOW you can make this change, will become imprinted on your mind’s eye and will eventually become easier to embrace.
- Get uncomfortable – Understand that fear in and of itself can be used to gain strength. When you are too comfortable, it’s likely that you won’t grow. Learn to think of your fear as a sign that the experience will help you grow. Always reaching higher is what a fulfilling life is all about!
I can relate with my client. Like he was, I too was afraid to change careers. Some people would say that I threw away my spa. I see it differently now. Instead, I can proudly say that I overcame my fear of the unknown. I had the strength to decide that being authentic was more important to me.
That’s what I want for you, too. I want you to be able to stand up for your long-term happiness, and place it as a higher priority than your comfort in this moment.
Who throws away a successful business? I suggest that people never look at it as if they are “throwing away” the career. You gained something from it. Experience. That is priceless… Above all else, it was a class in self-discovery.
Look, this is not a trial run. Life is happening in the now. When you can take your experiences and be honest with yourself as to who you truly are, you’re on the right path.
My client was listening to his gut and learned that he wasn’t fulfilled. This is a major reason people change careers. Change is difficult all on its own. When money is tied to the decision or it impacts family members, changing careers should not be taken lightly. Where you ever faced with this dilemma? Leave your comment below and share how you overcame your fear of changing careers.