Want to develop your career by changing job, company, status or even country, but too scared to actually do it? It's normal to have doubts and worries. You’re going from a stable, known situation where you feel safe, to an adventure full of new things and uncertainty. And at times like this, your defence mechanism often tells you to stay in your comfort zone. According to a Nouvelle Vie Pro survey, 64% of French people who want to change their lives are too scared to do so.
Below, our Cooptalis experts share their tips on how to take the plunge and make a successful career change.
Why are we resistant to change?
When faced with change, our first reaction is to resist. Change is frightening, especially in the professional domain. So, this reaction is only human. A career change will have a major impact on your life, unlike something small like switching up your hair. And the fear of your life and routines being totally transformed encourages you to remain in the reassuring known situation.
The American sociologist Walter Bradford Cannon was the first person to describe the fight or flight response to stress. His theory has evolved over time. When you’re in a stressful or frightening situation, your brain can react in three ways: flight, collapse, or fight. In a professional context, flight can mean giving up: “No, it’s not for me. There’s no point trying.” Collapse can be where you don’t prepare yourself properly for success or let an opportunity pass you by. And fight can mean having a go by taking the first step.
But where does this fear come from? Not being up to it, failing, losing what you have, missing reference points, not being able to back pedal, etc. There are many possibilities: it depends on the individual. But identifying and understanding them will help you overcome them.
Professional change: how to overcome your doubts
Have confidence in yourself
Although you may have a good job at a renowned company, this doesn’t mean your desire for change is wrong. Take it seriously. You have the right to be dissatisfied and want more, or just to want something different. If your brain tells you not to question anything, ignore it. Question yourself, think about new horizons and explore the idea of change. If you don’t do it now, this desire will rear its head again in the coming months or years. And, as the saying goes: “remorse is better than regret”.
Find out what you need
Try to understand what you really need. Want to change your career but can’t work out exactly how?
Here are some examples of changes and developments for you to consider if you want to progress faster or go in a different direction:
- A new job at the same company
- A new job at a different company
- A new company but a similar job
- A new status (freelancing, operating under an umbrella company, temporary contract, permanent role)
- A new place of work in the same country or a different one (expatriation)
The kind of change you’re considering affects the associated benefits/risks and what you need to get started.
Making a list of your skills can also be a good way to discover where you're at and which way to turn. Cooptalis Training provides a comprehensive set of 100% digital assessments through its partner Même Pas Cap. These include skills evaluations, a personality test, bespoke input from a professional coach and many other elements. Get started today!
Identify and plan for risks
In an unknown situation, you always imagine the worst. So, you need reassurance and perspective. First, identify the exact risks you’re taking and what scares you. Next, for each risk/fear, find a solution, redress or something you can do to avoid it happening. For example, want to change country but scared of the language barrier? Look for an organisation offering language lessons. Find out about your training entitlement in your CPF training account (more information in our webinar: How to use your CPF).
This will help you be better prepared and realise that there is a solution to every problem. You just need to work out what’s appropriate for your future life change.
Focus on the benefits of this career change
Don’t fixate on the risks: remember what you're going to gain. Don't forget why you’re making a change. This will help you stay positive and motivated, and weigh up benefits vs risks. Do you actually have that much to lose? This will also help you keep sight of what you want to achieve with the change.
Include your friends and family
Discuss your ideas with those around you. You need reference points you can rely on at this time to give you confidence in yourself and your plans.
Talk about your ideas even more with your partner, if you have one, as they will be especially affected. Reorganise your lives together. And if your move means changing city or country, you need to be on the same page. If your partner is happy to go with you, you’ll need to be sure that they will also find their niche in the new location.
At Cooptalis, our recruitment experts can help you fine tune your professional project and develop your career with services tailored to your profile and skills. With over 300 job adverts for different statuses and countries, you’re sure to find the role for you. You can also access all our training to help you develop your skills. For more information, contact us!