Here’s How You Get Past the Fear of a Career Change

It’s tough but you can do it.
The MPW Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to change career paths? is written by Anne Gordon, senior vice president of marketing, media and communications for the Philadelphia E

Thinking about changing jobs is frightening. Changing careers often requires a real leap of faith – and not just by you but by those closest to you who can only imagine you as one thing professionally.

But you need to be fearless. Find the courage to simply think about change. Start there.

Work your way through all the fears that start with: I am lucky enough to have a job and I should stick with it. Push past the next wave of: Are you crazy? And dive right into: No one will hire me and I will be homeless.

Done? OK, now that you have these out of the way, focus on this: You can be the one to dictate your own course.

Don’t let the changing tides of your current industry sweep you in a direction that is not right for you. Evolution is key to remaining successful in life and in business; but evolve in a way that plays to your strengths, and doesn’t leave you on unstable footing. My best advice for anyone looking to make a career shift would be to assess, arm yourself, and finally, act.


Take a critical look at your industry. What were the qualities that initially drew you to your current profession? If those qualities are no longer present in your position, think about what other industries share those qualities.

Also, assess your own strengths. This is the most important element of all because people tend to do this in a simplistic way noting their facility with basic skills – Adobe Photoshop, for instance – instead of looking at what is behind that technical skillset. For instance, being a wonder with Photoshop might well be an indicator that you have an eye for telling stories with images

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