Career Change Fear Easily Becomes Inertia

I found a very depressing site the other day. It came up when I googled the phrase “I hate my job.”    It’s full of people complaining about what they do for a living. And it’s more than just venting. Much of it is not only hostile, it’s hateful. Very few seem to be doing anything about their circumstances except finding fault.   Are they expecting to walk into the office one day and find a significant change has taken place?

Individuals such as these are one reason why I teach people the system of how to find their perfect job. When you understand the science and psychology behind what’s involved in the search, you begin to realize it’s not only possible to achieve it, but it’s do-able in a short period of time because you are the one controlling – through your mental attitude and ensuing choices – both the process and the outcome.

The most common reason some people fail to make a change is fear – usually fear of change combined with landing in the same miserable type of environment.  It’s like the person who’s been dating a long time and always winds up with a jerk. Pretty soon you just leap to the conclusion that that’s the only thing around and don’t realize that’s a fallacy. A shift in perspective and you can say, “Hey, maybe the problem isn’t something else. Maybe the problem is me.”

And once you’ve stopped blaming circumstances outside yourself, then you can take responsibility, be open to finding a new way, and watch your search unfold in a dramatically different manner.

So fear of leaving, fear of change, fear of landing in the same situation again, fear you’ll never find a decent boss, that you won’t be paid well or enough or more, that it will be too far to drive (the list goes on) are all underlying – and often unconscious – reasons why change doesn’t happen.

It’s the belief that “There’s nothing out there,” and “What would I find that’s different/better than this?” that’s part of the problem. But that belief perpetuates itself. In other words, as long as that’s what you believe, you’re not going to look.

What you think, what you say, and what you believe is what you manifest. How will you find anything if you don’t look? Or if when you look, you find something wrong with every opportunity that catches your eye?

  • “Oh I could do that!  No, probably too far to drive.”
  • “There’s something….yeah, but they’re not going to pay me as much.”
  • “Hmmm – what about this? No, that sounds like it’s going to be a lot of hours.”

And as this goes on for weeks at a time, nothing changes. You find a way to sabotage every potential opportunity or optimistic thought about changing companies.

But that’s entirely normal. Underneath all that is self-doubt, anxiety, fear of rejection, fear of having made the wrong decision, and once you’re into the process – fear of having botched the interview, feeling as if you are botching the interview process – right now.  Why not just blow it off? After all, you’ve got a job that pays.

Some have no problem getting started but can’t seem to follow through and finish. When you begin, you think of all the reasons why you want to leave. Then as an offer seems impending, you think of all the reasons why you want to stay.  So you stay, and find that nothing has changed. You still want to leave, only now you’re kicking yourself for having turned down a job you worked so hard to find.

The best way to conquer fear is to walk straight into it. When you want to go, write down the reasons why and what isn’t satisfying about your job. List the characteristics of the environment and job you want to be in. As you get toward the end of your search and find yourself with an offer in hand, go back to that list of what you don’t like about your job. Know that the job you’re leaving isn’t going to change, and that’s why you are.

Because once you’ve made the switch, you’ll find the fear disappears and a renewed confidence takes its place. And once you’ve committed yourself to a new path, the new becomes the old and familiar, and you’ll wonder why you ever contemplated staying at that other place that made you so miserable.

If you’ve done your homework on what you want, if you’ve done your prep before the interview, if you’ve been honest with yourself and the hiring authorities, you could find yourself in a job you love. And there are a lot of people like that. Just google “I love my job” instead of its alternative. Which site would you rather have an entry on?

Judi Perkins, the How-To Career Coach, was a recruiter for 22 years and worked with hundreds of hiring authorities on entry level through CEO. She set up over 15,000 interviews, and has seen over half a million resumes. Her clients often find jobs 8 – 12 weeks because she brings them sequence, structure and focus, and shows why typical strategies often fail. She’s been on PBS’s Frontline, Good Morning Connecticut, in Smart Money magazine, CareerBuilder, MSN Careers, Yahoo Hot Jobs, New York Times, New York Daily News, multiple radio shows including a regular Thursday morning gig, and quoted in numerous career books. Sign up for her free newsletter at www.FindthePerfectJob.com.

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