5 Reasons It Feels Hard to Make A Career Change and Here’s What You Can Do About It.

Updated: Nov 1, 2020

Making the decision to leave my career in science, was not easy. I was working my way up the ladder and getting paid a decent amount of money. I had so many opportunities to choose from. I felt as though there was something wrong with me because I had it all and I still didn’t feel happy, satisfied or at ease with the direction of my career.

This is why I decided to leave my career in science. Enough was enough. My mental health way suffering and the people around me were also suffering from me being dissatisfied with my life.

This was not easy because I had worked really hard and made so many sacrifices to get to where I was. I went to TAFE, university, completed my honours year, moved from Yea to Melbourne Vic, Gladstone QLD, Mildura Vic, Albury NSW and Sydney for career opportunities in science. I was great at landing the job I wanted but when I got what I wanted I no longer wanted it. It wasn’t what I had expected or envisioned.

When I quit, I did not have a plan and tried many times to find a career that I liked and I seemed to get it wrong. I had a lack of direction and understanding of what my motivational needs were.

When I stepped into the world of personal development all the answers started pouring in and I realised why I was in such a rut.

This is why I created a business to help people gain clarity around what decisions to make next in their career through tools, strategies and 1:1 coaching. I knew the huge difference it would have made in my life when I felt stuck and directionless and I wished I had something like this before I quit my job.

The transformation that follows when you tap into your internal motivations is incredibly empowering. This is not like anything I learnt at, school, university or mainstream education. It is new way of thinking and seeing the world, new because most of the people in your life don’t think this way. It can feel uncomfortable when you go against the social norms that you’re surrounded by everyday.

I listened to podcasts, audiobooks and YouTube clips about living and creating the life of my dreams. The reason I did this was because not many people in my life were wanting to thrive and live an extraordinary life. They were happy with an ordinary life and I wasn’t. I wanted an extraordinary freeing life where I could make the most out of my life now and not when I retire. I knew I needed to surround myself with people who felt the same way. This is when I started believing that it was possible for me to live an extraordinary life and I knew that if I had created my current life, I could also create an extraordinary life. The people you surround yourself with play a huge part in what you believe to be possible.

“Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy.” - Derek Sivers

Let’s say you come up with a career change idea. Then you think but, what if:

  • I don’t like it

  • The people I work with are horrible

  • I don’t find work, doing ….

  • I don’t get paid well

  • I hate it

  • I fail because I am not smart enough

  • I have to start from the beginning again


  • Do I give everything up I have worked so hard for to chase an idea I don’t even know will work out?

  • Maybe I am being egocentric, self-indulgent for even wanting a different career.

  • Should I just be content with the one I have now

  • I’m too old

This is fear. A good dose of fear can help us create a plan and take measured steps towards a career change. A lot of fear can keep us stuck in a rut doing the thing we’re familiar with and at the same time drains our energy and impacts our mental health because we’re just not that into it.

Here are 6 reasons we find it hard to change careers

1. When we’re looking at changing careers, we crave certainty, which is why many of us turn to studying first. We like to know what the future will bring, however we also value variety. Imagine you knew exactly what was going to happen to you every day. BORRIIING, RIGHT?

2. You don’t have a plan because you don’t know what you want -“I don’t know”. I don’t know creates a lack of confidence and this results in feeling stuck.

Reducing overwhelm by working with someone to help you process, uncover the change you want and creating structure around the change you want gives you a chance to explore your options before making decisions that may be fear driven and not growth/abundance driven.

Fear driven decision results in surviving in life, abundance based decisions results in thriving in life.

3. You are making decisions based on what you already know and what skills you have rather than what you’re passionate about and what you would love to grow in and learn about.

Too often I see people limit themselves. We talk ourselves out of following through with brilliant ideas. Why? As young kids we are conditioned to follow a set path and we’re told what career path we “should” follow because it’s the norm and we have evidence it works.

Think about your career change like you're stepping out of your comfort zone. There is a good chance what you truly want in a career is something that you have never done before, which means learning new skills and becoming confident in things you may not feel confident with in the beginning.

4. We fear judgment, and feel we need to feel 100% confident and certain it will work out. We also want to avoid pain and discomfort and the irony is that we are already feeling discomfort in our current career that we are dissatisfied with. So many conflicting feelings, right?

Being judged is unavoidable. Processing why you fear judgement will help you overcome this fear. Seek support from a therapist, mentor or coach.

5. We focus on the negatives and the worst-case scenarios. We look at statistics and odds, for example, 90% of start-ups fail. We have no more information to tell us why they failed, but it makes us think well, we probably shouldn’t try that then.

Listen to and read about the success stories and how they got to where they are today.

So what can you do to make your career change easier?

  1. Make friends with feeling uncomfortable. You will feel discomfort and that is unavoidable. You can’t grow without feeling uncomfortable.

  2. Work with someone who is not attached to your outcome and can see your situation from a different perspective. A coach, mentor, therapist or someone you trust.

  3. Get to know yourself really well, including what your internal motivations are.

  4. Write a plan with small steps

  5. Create your vision and be specific about what you want

  6. Be prepared for challenges and set-backs. You will struggle at times and things won’t go to plan. Knowing how to manage that, is key to not giving up.

  7. Ask yourself WHY you want to change careers? If your reason is because of a work colleague or because the organisation you work for is crap, you may be missing information. It’s often more than that. Maybe the culture of the organisation (or even the entire industry) doesn’t align with your personal values.

  8. Why do you want that job? Is it only for the paycheque or is it because it aligns with your values? If it’s for the money, the status and the high wages then you’re only looking at the extrinsic motivating factors. What intrinsic motivation do you want to live by?

Ask yourself what if I made a change in my career and I love it?

What is the worst-case scenario if I don’t make the change into a new career?

Who will benefit from me following my idea? For example, your children will see you following an idea and dream and learn that they too can do it.

Book in a free 1:1 discovery session with me to talk about what you really want out of your career, if we’re a good fit and whether I can help you through your career change. You might have an idea, or you might need help to find or create one, either way I have tools and strategies that can help you with both.

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