A recent Gallup poll revealed only one-third of people actually felt engaged at work. So what are the most common barriers that stop people from taking a bold leap into the unknown and finding the perfect career they’ll love waking up to every morning?
The 5 Main Reasons Why People Resist Career Changes
Maintaining a steady salary and hanging on to workplace benefits is the reason I hear people most often cite when choosing to stay in a job they dislike. Everyone has bills to pay, families to feed, or loans to pay. Letting go of your income is difficult when you’ve grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle. If you’re already unhappy with your job, the last thing you need on top of that is financial stress.
From personal experience, when I’ve considered career changes, one of the first things I think about is the financial impact of that decision on my life and family.
I often hear people say that they know they don’t like their current job, but they’re not sure what they would enjoy doing instead. You can start to accept the idea your current situation is as good as it gets. You can start to believe there may not be anything out there that’s better. Fear of the unknown can be incredibly paralyzing, even if you know you don’t like your current situation.
I’ve been in situations myself where I knew I wasn’t happy, but I just wasn’t sure if I could find something better. I wasn’t even sure if the idea of being truly happy in a job was realistic, which kept me stationary that much longer.
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Figuring out what you want to do and finding another job can be a full-time job itself. When you’re already dealing with a job that overwhelms you, exhausts you, or depletes you mentally, mustering up the energy in the evenings and weekends to conduct a job search can feel impossible. Finding the energy or headspace to think about what you want to do instead is hard. Even if you know, finding the time or capacity to pursue other opportunities is a challenge, so you stay put instead.
I’ve always found it incredibly difficult to find the time or energy at the end of a long day to be sending out cover letters or resumes on top of maintaining my full-time job. Career changes take a lot of energy.
Resigning from your job can be a deflating experience, but on top of that, dealing with the judgements of others can be hard when you’re already feeling emotionally fragile. What will people think? What will people say? Judgement can come from your peer group, family, friends, and of course, colleagues who seem perfectly happy with your company. No one wants to feel like a failure. No one wants others to think you couldn’t cut it.
I remember resigning once from a job because I felt the culture of that company was a poor fit for me. After people heard my news, I faced a tremendous amount of disappointment from some colleagues whom I thought were my friends, and that can be hard to stomach.
The power of investment is very strong. Letting go of something you’ve invested time, money, education, and effort into is not easy. The idea of walking away from a job that took an incredible amount of effort to secure can feel crazy. Investment has a way of keeping you in a situation that’s not right for you. I talk to so many people who say they can’t leave their jobs because they’ve “already come this far” and can’t give up now.
The best example I can share from my own career was walking away from a job only weeks before I was about to get promoted. I felt like I had thrown away all I had invested to get there, which was very difficult to reconcile.
Ultimately, getting clear on what exactly is keeping you in a job you dislike is the first step toward dealing with and overcoming that barrier. The good news is that you always have a choice. If what you could gain is more important to you than what you could maintain by staying, you really owe it to yourself to consider making the leap.
Have you resisted career changes in the past?
- The 5 Main Reasons Why People Resist Career Changes - October 19, 2016