Don't Let The F-Word Rule Your LIfe: 4 Common Fears That Prevent You From Pursuing Your Dream Job
What is it about a new year that inspires us to make big changes in our lives?
There is something about the beginning of a new chapter that gives us that extra push to start re-evaluating our lives and begin the process of working towards our goals. As the month of March begins, it's common for many people to let go of their resolutions or goals. Why? There are several reasons why we lose momentum when pursuing a new goal but the biggest reason I hear from clients is fear.
One theme I have been hearing from clients this month is the fear of making a career transition. They worry that they don’t have the skills or qualifications for their dream job and they will be stuck working at their present job forever. When you are in your 20’s there is a real fear that you will be pigeonholed into one type of profession. It can be scary to give up a good salary and benefits in order to make a big career transition. What do you do with these fears and that voice in your head that says, “don’t do it – play it safe and stay where you are.”
Don’t let your fears and insecurities prevent you from seeking your dream job. Here are 4 common fears that clients share with me when they are embarking on a new job search and ways to reset your thinking in order to keep working towards your goal.
“I know what I need to do to make this change but I can’t give up my current job and when will I job hunt or gain the skills I need to make this transition?”
One thing you need to recognize is that there will be some discomfort and pain involved in making a career transition. I am not talking about physical pain but you are going to probably have to give up some things to make the change. For example if you need to learn a new skill for your dream job, it may require you to spend a few nights a week taking classes. You will probably miss out on getting after work drinks with your friends or staying out late on Friday or Saturday night in order to study on the weekends. It may be difficult at times to juggle your full-time job with classes and you will have to give up some of the fun for the long-term goal. Keep your eye on the prize, which is your new career. Remember if you don’t make the sacrifices today, it will be even harder in the future to let go of your comfortable position and take those classes or start the job hunt. You are young and have lots of energy, take advantage of it and make the change today.
“I feel silly trying to pursue ____________ profession, what if I’m no good at it?”
It is natural to feel insecure about making any kind of career transition, especially when you are trying to transition into a profession that is highly creative or in demand or requires you to put yourself out there for people to judge you. It is OK to acknowledge that you are afraid but don’t let these fears limit you and keep you stuck in your present situation.
It may not feel like it but everyone has these fears and doubts. Ultimately what sets us all apart is our willingness to try and risk failure and judgment. If you really want to try and get your dream job at that amazing up and coming new company – go for it. You can be a doer or a judger. Pick your side of the fence.
Your fears are irrational and illogical, be logical and make a plan. Start thinking logically about what you need to do to gain the experience you need to make this transition. What skills/experience are you missing? Do you need to take some classes? Learn a specific skill set? Create a portfolio? Who do you know in this industry that can tell you exactly what you need to know to get this job? Does this company have freelance positions? Could you freelance and work at your present job at the same time?
“What if I put myself out of there and everyone rejects me?”
From the black hole of the internet resume submissions to the interviews with no word back, most of us have had a frustrating or even devastating work-related rejection. When these rejections happen you have to remember not to take them personally. Job hunting is like dating, you will be rejected for no good reason. Just like a first date, you clean yourself up and put your best foot forward, you are polite and charming and hope that there is some kind of connection or spark. And much like dating the reason it doesn’t work out can be as perplexing and illogical. You could be interviewing against all internal candidates, you could remind the interviewer of the school bully and they instantly decided not to hire you before you even opened your mouth or maybe you are one of many excellent candidates and you interviewed last or maybe first. Who knows? If you are going on interview after interview and feeling like you are “nailing it” but never getting the position then it may be worth it to follow up and get feedback. Otherwise, remember that whether or not you get the job has nothing to do with the value you bring and how good of a job you may have done.
“I feel really guilty leaving my company right now and I really like the people I work with, maybe I should stay another year.”
Making job transitions is a part of business. It is OK to feel sad or guilty for leaving, but don’t let that stop you from accomplishing your goal. Leaving a job that has been a fun learning experience is always hard. It is tough to leave work friends because you know that it will be challenging to keep in touch once you have moved on to your new job. If you are a responsible person and care about your work you will probably feel guilty about leaving your present job. There will never be a job time to leave. Your employer will always want you to stay longer than you can or even want to. It is OK to feel this way, that is what makes you a good employee, but this is your life and you have to think about yourself. Always leave “cleanly.” Give at least 2 weeks notice or more, work really hard those last few weeks, train your replacement, clean up your desk, finish up projects and pass off with lots of details. If you leave your present position on a good note, your former employer will only have good memories of you and any ill will they may, or may not feel, will be gone.
It is never easy making any kind of job transition. I have left one career for another, left SF for a career in another city, left that city to return to SF for another job and each time it get easier. Each transition gives me more confidence and clarity.
Good luck in your search – you will get your dream job.