Afraid To Change Jobs In Midlife?

In the old days, we could stay at jobs forever. Enjoyment and moral purpose joined in a one-two combination that often equaled job satisfaction. Changes were slower and surprises even fewer.

These days change is not only present but expected. You yourself may want change.

You’ve proven yourself professionally and now wonder if you should keep doing the same thing.  Maybe you’ve been thinking about following a passion instead of a profession.  You have more life to live and want to start living it.

It can be hard to make that leap. Inertia, aversion to change and laziness all conspire to keep us comfortable with the status quo. The real underlying problem here?  Fear. And where there is fear, there is one stalwart foe indeed.

How do you overcome fear? Start by recognizing its insidious disguises.  There are many impediments it puts in the way of taking that step, often dressed up as legitimate reasons.

You don’t know what you’ll do with yourself? Fear.

You don’t know where the money will come from? Fear.

You will diminish in size, live on the street, eat from dumpsters? Fear, fear, fear.

If you want to take the leap on a new track, there are well-known tricks for getting past this enemy. Here are a few techniques you can try immediately.

Don’t Quit Yet

Start your next phase before you leave this one. Entrepreneurs can start their businesses while still at their old job. Or, if it’s retirement you seek, begin performing those leisure activities you want to embrace before you actually retire.

Indulge Yourself

Allow yourself to dream big without fear of failure. Envision what it will be like when you’ve secured the funding or landed a big contract. Do for yourself what you would do for your friend: advise and encourage, without regard to the chances.

Banish Self Doubt

Self doubt and fear are good buddies who often cook for each other and wear each other’s clothing. Space will not permit listing the many ways to fight self doubt–read about it, see a therapist, practice gratitude, mediate, to name a few. But do not let self doubt stand between you and your future.

Write Down Your Plan

Couch your plans in a concise, evocative and impressive short description you may generously share with others when asked – or share with yourself when doubt creeps in.

Set Goals and Deadlines

Goals give us direction and deadlines give us the kick in the pants to get them done.  Your goals are steps toward making you the boss in pursuit of your own excellence.

For the born loafers of the world, setting a deadline helps to overcome immobility. It will get you off the couch. Even better, tell a friend about it to increase the shame factor should you later ignore it. And remember you can always change it.

It’s important to set a calendar-based deadline rather than a performance-dependent one, as your performance and its reward may be impacted by outside forces and moods.  Attaching your departure to some future performance response is often just another way to stall.

Hang Out With People Who Have Done It

Create a network of people who have chucked the old and sought fresh pastures. Reach out. Let them say how they did it and allow them to offer advice. Your association with these people will make you more like them.

And when you leave, consider not crowing about it on social media.  Simply focus on your upcoming personal growth, not on sharing negative thoughts on public venues.

It’s normal to fear quitting. Being prepared emotionally and financially helps but it’s not always feasible. That shouldn’t stop you. There is more waiting for you out there than you know.


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