3 Reasons You’re Resisting a Much-Needed Career Change

3 minute read

If you’re dreaming of a career change, you probably already know how scary and overwhelming it can be to even consider. After working hard to establish yourself as a professional and leader in your field, it’s frightening to think of putting that aside and starting from the beginning. But what if the industry you’re working in just doesn’t make you happy?

True, you’ve probably been working in the same sector for years (if not decades). But that doesn’t mean you can’t change route. It comes to a point when you just want to find a meaningful job with passion and purpose. So what’s holding you back?

Let’s take a look at three of the most common reasons why people resist much-needed career changes and ways to overcome these obstacles.

3 Reasons You’re Resisting a Much-Needed Career Change

1. You’ve invested time in your current career

You’ve put a lot into your current role: years of education and training, building your career and moving up the ladder, time away from family and friends, and countless hours of networking.

For many of us, much of what we do, starting with what we study at university, is an investment in our current career path.

It’s scary to think about changing careers because starting something new gives us the impression we are throwing our previous investment away. However, this same line of thinking can trap you in a career that doesn’t make you happy or fulfilled.

How to overcome this obstacle

It’s important to look at your skills, education, time and effort not as an investment in your career, but as an investment in yourself.

You will not lose your skills or education by changing careers. In fact, your future employer will probably see them as an asset, even if your new field of work differs completely from your current one.

Your skills, education, and experiences are still marketable, especially if they show your dedication to lifelong learning and development, leadership skills, efficiency, and ability to get results.



2. You fear not fitting in

Fear of not fitting in can be a significant barrier. In your current career, you’re familiar with how things are done and what values and ideas matter the most. You’ve successfully navigated office politics and have friends and colleagues you trust and enjoy working with.

Once you change careers, besides making sure that your skill set is up to par and that you have a successful onboarding, you also have to fit in with the whole new company culture.

Being new, trying to navigate a new routine and making a new set of workplace friends can be far out of many people’s comfort zone.

How to overcome this obstacle

Remember that you fit in and made friends and connections at your current job and you can do it again. Practice meeting new people in the industry before you even start your next job by getting out of your comfort zone and joining groups and clubs in your community.

A great place to meet other charity professionals is CharityConnect. Here, you can ask questions about the working culture, start to build connections and get an honest feel for what working for a charity will really be like.

Remember, one of the best parts of working for a charity is that you’re surrounding yourself with people who share the same passions and interests as you. You’re all fighting for the same change, and that means it’s easier to build lasting bonds with your colleagues.

3 Reasons You’re Resisting a Much-Needed Career Change

3. You worry about what others think

Sometimes, we hold back our own growth because we worry too much about what other people think. You might be afraid of letting your current boss down by leaving or you might think your friends and family will question why you would give up everything you’ve worked for.

Sometimes ego can also get in the way. Perhaps you are a leader at your current job and people look up to you.

If you change careers, you might worry that you won’t have the same level of respect from others because you are starting again from the beginning.

How to overcome this obstacle

Remember that this is your career and you grow and develop as a person and as an employee. While people may question your decision and your decision will not please your current boss, ultimately, you need to do what’s best for you.

Continue to do your best and make the most of every day you have at your current job. Perhaps you can also offer to help train your replacement. Make it clear to your boss you will do whatever is necessary to ensure an easy transition.



Take decisive action and move your career forward

Remember, fear is the enemy of growth and success. If you let your worries control you and hold you back, you’ll miss out on the person can become.

Meet with recruiters to help fine-tune your skill set and CV. Network with people in your new career field. Talk with friends and family about your fears. The more you allow yourself to get excited and prepared for the change, the less scary the whole process will seem.

How’s your current job? Would you like to switch it? Let us know what’s holding you back.

Jen McKenzie

Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs.

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