Overcoming the Fear of Changing Your Job or Career
Changing Your Career or Job
Changing jobs is something that often can be both exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. Sometimes, we change our job or career by choice, and other times, life happens and we are forced to either find a new position, or in some cases, a new career path.
I am no stranger to this, after a decade working in the marketing and advertising world, I assessed my life, my career, and my own happiness. I was working at a well known company, I had a decent work life balance, both my salary and benefits were good, however it wasn’t filling my cup. I decided to go back to school at that point, I was between Law School, and getting my Masters in Clinical Psychology. If it’s not apparent, I didn’t go the law school route. I was nervous and excited when the adventure began, however I was determined to do something that not only allowed me to help others, but something that I was (and am) passionate about, something that would fill my cup so to speak. I did just that. I left a lucrative salary, took about an 80% paycut to get my foot in the door, and the rest, well it’s the history and journey that has gotten me where I am today in both my professional and personal life.
I recently made another change within my career, I decided to leave the agency I was working for as their primary clinician, and turn my part time work in a group practice providing individual outpatient services to a full time job. It’s the first time in my life I am working only one job. It’s been an adjustment, but one that I feel was the right move for me.
Leading up to the decision there were many emotions, some anxiety, and even a little doubt, to be honest. I wasn’t sure how, I was scared of the unknown, but the worst part was knowing that I'd have to give my notice. It turns out that I was working with a few clients at the time who were also considering job changes, career changes, and were struggling with self-doubt, their own cognitive distortions, and feeling very stuck where they were. So, if you can relate to this, know you are not alone. It is completely normal to have some anxiety about giving notice, about starting a new job, to get those butterflies in your stomach. Things will inevitably be different, change is after all, inevitable. Be open to feeling vulnerable, be open to the change, to stepping out of your comfort zone, and open to new opportunities.
Giving notice is often not comfortable, no matter how you feel about your job, your agency, co-workers, or anything in between. Typically we don’t like to disappoint, and the same is true when we hand in our resignation. Perhaps it’s guilt, feeling as though “this place” gave you an opportunity, helped put food on the table and keep that roof over your head. Perhaps you feel bad leaving certain co-workers who have become friends along the way. You could also be feeling bad about the work the company will have to do to find a replacement, train a replacement, and overall about their feelings.
Here’s the thing, business owners, CEO’s, managers, supervisors, bosses of any type, part of their job is knowing that part of their job is doing hiring, firing, lay-off’s, and that sometimes people choose to take different directions within their careers. One client told me that they were stuck on these thoughts, ruminating and spiraling into how much people wouldn’t be happy with them, would be disappointed, and thinking about the work that would need to be done in their absence. When asked why it mattered, if these people were friends, and if their opinions were valued, this client quickly realized that it didn’t matter. They were doing what was right for them. They had also struggled with applying for jobs as they felt they couldn’t do better and that they weren’t a hireable candidate. Then they got every interview for every position applied for.
The other part of this is that we are all replaceable. No matter what task you are responsible for, someone else can learn them and complete them in your absence. Perhaps you feel like giving notice is like you are giving up or quitting, get that thought out of your head as well! If it’s not serving you, your lifestyle, your overall well-being, then you are doing what needs to be done. You are the artist of your own life, create it how you see fit, no one else can draw it out for you.
You don’t need to be scared about leaving your current job hanging, they understand that it’s business. You are NOT your job, you do your job, and you can do your job or another job anywhere that fits you. You can do whatever you put your mind to, so believe in yourself! Fear of the unknown is normal, however, don’t self-sabotage with your negative thoughts. Be willing to be vulnerable, to be a beginner, to be the new kid on the block, remain teachable.
In giving the actual notice, keep it simple. We often overthink these things, waste a lot of brain power and energy on them, when in reality, you’ve made your decision. Be kind, precise, and grateful. It might look something like this:
This is my formal letter of resignation effective on (Whatever date will be your last date.) I want to start by thanking you for the opportunity to work at AGENCY/COMPANY name, as your POSITION TITLE. It has been a pleasure working with you, please let me know if there is anything that you might need from me to assist in a smooth transition.
Thank you again for this opportunity,
Tips to Overcoming the Fear and Allowing One Door to Close, and Another to Open
Write a Pro/Con List - What are the pros and cons of staying at your job, v.s finding another? Consider the work life balance, benefits, your overall mental and physical wellbeing, financial changes.
Zone in on the Fear- what is holding you back? Are you afraid of the interview? Of disappointing others? Of not getting the offer you want? Are you afraid you lack the skill sets? Dig deep, and let that fear fuel you. Ask a friend for help with your resume, mock interviews, utilize positive affirmations, because you CAN do this.
Talk to your Support Network- Talk to your friends and/or family about why you want to change jobs or possibly careers and what is holding you back!
Do your Research- Look into positions that interest you, what is required? Is there anything that you might need to learn, research, or be more fluent in? What type of job or career path sounds attractive to you, what are the average salaries? Even before applying, research the companies and what both current and past employees have to say about their experiences.
Believe in yourself.