There is something about finding a new job that is both exciting and terrifying.

It allows you to daydream about the possibility of a brighter future, but then you often stop there. The follow through never happens.

The next thing you know, you realize years have passed, and you never did anything about it. Why does this happen?

It happens because you are afraid. That is what paralyzes you.

If you think back, you (like myself) probably made a ton of excuses every time you mulled it over in your mind. It could be possible that maybe you “outgrew” it, or did some research and found out some facts that, after self-reflection, made you realize it wasn’t the right position or career change for you.

However, the chances are, you had other fears that surfaced to the forefront, clouded your mind, and squashed the will to change right out of you.

Understanding those fears, and how to resolve them, are key to moving forward and not stagnating in your career.

Some of these come from my own personal experience, but they may resonate with you as well.

Here they are:

5 Reasons You’re Scared to Look for Another Job - And How to Deal with Them

  1. Leaving People Hanging

    If you’re already in humanitarian work, then one thing is for sure: you care a lot about other people.

    You know that what you do matters, both to those receiving aid, and those working alongside of you to deliver it.

    Therefore, it’s natural to worry about what would happen if you were to leave. You may see how resources are stretched to the max, and have some guilt that, without you, there is one less person to help.

    Maybe you’re worried about colleagues you care about holding this against you if you were to go, thus ending relationships you find valuable.

    There’s a phrase, “The show must go on”, for a reason. The world will not stop turning because you have found another position or career that you think is a better fit for you. And, that agency will not stop functioning because you leave, either.

    If you want to make sure they have a replacement, be courteous enough to give them as much heads up as professionally possible, train others on your skill sets, and understand that not only is that the best you can do, but more than likely all they’ll expect of you, as well.
  1. Confirming the worst

    This is a constant struggle for many people and one of the main reasons they never pursue their lifelong dreams.

    What if you apply, but don’t get the job? And, what if you keep applying to others, and nothing takes there, either? Does this mean that you’re an undesirable candidate, and you’re “not good enough”?

    Well, that’s easy to think, but it is wrong.

    Remember, these organizations you’re applying at aren’t rejecting your character.

    They’re merely analyzing your skills and matching those skills to what they’re looking for.

    Also, keep in mind that it’s more and more not a person who takes the first pass at this, but an algorithm.

    These are not confirmations of your self-deprecating thoughts, and not getting a job is not validation that you are “worthless” or unable to change jobs or careers.

    So, how do you resolve this? Take a good look at the skills you have and what you’re missing.
    Remind yourself that you can improve your skills if you see a pattern here.

    And, more importantly, understand it’s not a personal rejection.
  1. You won’t like it

    Do you know that: you have a job that makes you absolutely miserable each day, and still you stay in that job for years?

    Is it because you fear that the next one would be as bad, if not worse? So you think it's not worth bothering to look for a new job and make excuses like "well, at least I know people here" or "they're all the same"

    Absolute rubbish!

    It’s understandable that you have a fear that your next position may have its downfalls, but guess what - that’s what the interview process is for.

    Take time to analyze your “deal breakers” in your current position, and work backwards to identify information that would give you clues to identify whether another job or agency has the same issues. Then, figure out questions you can ask to gather a clear understanding of how they function. If you want to be more direct, that’s not wrong either.

    Remember, you owe it to yourself to really vet out a new job beforehand, and to only take it if you feel it’s honestly a step in the right direction. Air out your concerns early, and take a good, hard look at the information you have. It may not be as bad as you think.

  1. Caught in the Inbetween

    A big fear for some people is getting caught in “no man’s land”. It takes a lot of time and mental energy to look for another job. If you’re already drained at the end of the day, who has the faculties to invest into poking around other positions?

    It’s a rollercoaster to hit “submit” on the application, only to wait, and see if you hear anything at all, or wonder how many positions you should apply to before pausing to see what comes back your way.

    And, you still need to focus on the job at hand. You don’t want to cause suspicion or start slacking for others to notice.

    Remedy this by scheduling set times of the week to search and apply for jobs, and stick to those times. Maybe it’s a few hours on a day off, or at the beginning of the week when you have more energy.

    Don’t let this hold you back - keep it in small, digestible chunks, and commit to seeing this through.

  1. What Others May Think

    Worrying about what others may think will not get you very far in life.

    If you have concerns about colleagues being upset that you’re looking to leave, then understand that you need to find support in a small circle who has your best interests in mind.

    Displays of anger, discouragement, or contempt are not what anyone needs when exploring new ventures in their lives.

    If you really are concerned about this, it’s best to keep this to yourself, until something comes to fruition. Until then, confide in people that don’t work with you so the lines aren’t blurred.

    Remember, you may have people in your corner that are upset, but you will also have people cheering you on - and that’s what you need during this time.

    Understand you’re not a bad person for wanting a change in your life, and you don’t owe it to anyone to stay in a job that is stifling your growth or holding you back.

Fear is a natural feeling, and it serves us a lot of good.

However, when it comes to your career, understand the source, and that there is a way to reason with it.

Don’t let it hold you back - you absolutely can make a positive change in your life today! You just need to start. 

About the Author Robert Laude

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