Thinking about a change in career, especially as a top performer woman in her 40s, can be a scary prospect.
Sure, you don’t love your job, but it’s not bad.
You like some parts of it, and you like the people.
It pays well, and you’re comfortable with the day-to-day.
There’s some flexibility with your schedule, which helps with kids.
Do you need much more than that?
Nah, don’t be greedy. It’s fine.
But there’s something nagging in you that says there could be more.
You’re not sure what more is, but it sits in the back of your head, coming out while you’re stuck in traffic or on the treadmill.
And in those moments, suddenly the thought of spending the next 10-15 years doing the same thing you’re doing today makes you want to scream.
It takes women an average of 18-24 months to DECIDE to find a new job. That doesn’t even include the search for the job itself!
If you are in this state right now, you know how painful the back and forth is, and all the scary thoughts that come to your head about making change.
So here are 3 fears that keep top performing women in jobs they don’t love, and how to overcome them.
“Proving myself all over again is too hard.”
Corporate women know the adage “you have to work twice as hard and do twice as much to be noticed.”
There’s also a lot of pressure to be perfect right away.
How exhausting! It’s no wonder the thought of pursuing another role leaves you wanting a nap.
But this is a limiting belief with no merit.
You’re already a top performer, and there’s no reason you wouldn’t be again in a new role.
As a matter of fact, it might be easier than you think!
When someone joins an organization, they bring fresh ideas and a new perspective.
Rely on what got you this far today, remember your strengths, and just go for it.
Make a list of all your attributes.
Ask your coworkers and team members for some feedback.
Remind yourself who you are, and that you show your worth every day by just being you.
2. “I’m not thin enough/smart enough/young enough/healthy enough to start over again.”
This is a common belief I hear from my clients. As a woman, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to conform to the standards of the perfect person—that elusive unicorn who doesn’t exist.
While certainly there would be places that you might feel you wouldn’t fit in for some cosmetic reason, most of the time, those are parameters you set on yourself.
If you don’t appreciate and admire who you are, why would anyone else?
You are so much more, and you’ve proven it where you are today as the top performer you are.
You are worthy.
End of discussion.
And a note on health: there are women out there with chronic conditions who fear change because of insurance. This is a very real concern!
Do your research and ask questions during the hiring process. Chances are, there are ways you can still get the care you need and a new opportunity, but you won’t know without more information.
3. “It’s too hard emotionally to leave. I owe my team.”
Women create communities. It’s in your DNA. For you, leaving a workplace is about more than just leaving a job. It’s about leaving people you are friends with or teams you’ve built and want to see flourish. As a top performer, you feel an obligation to those around you to stay, to help, to not let anyone down.
This is probably the hardest fear to get over, because when you don’t have boundaries around what is your responsibility vs others, making clean breaks can be challenging.
Take some time to think about what you do for your team.
Can you prepare them for your departure in a positive way?
Give them tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way to help them navigate.
Tell your work friends in advance and set up calendar check ins—phone calls, texts, coffee, lunch.
You can sustain a friendship in many ways.
You can do it…just start!
Did these common fears keeping high performers stuck in a job they don’t love resonate with you?
Chances are if you’ve come this far, you’ve been affected by these fears yourself.
Don’t let these fears stand in the way of finding a job that you love!
Take the simple steps above to break down those fears and make the change you desire. It doesn’t have to happen overnight.
Just start now!