The fear of making a major career change keeps many people in jobs that at best are unrewarding and at worst downright miserable.

Are you one of them?

There are many reasons one could fear a career change, for example:

Fear of failure. What if I try this new career thing and I don’t like it or I’m not good at it?

Of course that is always a possibility, but if you’ve done your research and perhaps had a trial run in your new job before making the change, your chances of success are greater. And if you find you don’t like it, then you can move on to something else.  Nothing is forever! Once you’ve made your first big career change, the next will be much easier.

Fear of success. (Yes, success) What if I actually achieve my dream, what then? Am I good enough?

Often lack of self-esteem drives fear of success. You must believe that you deserve to have everything you want in life, career included. If you don’t believe you deserve success, then you will unconsciously self-sabotage and fail. We always revert back to our emotional comfort zone, even if it is not what we say we want on a conscious level. Work on your beliefs around your new dream career and your self-esteem and things will begin to change for you.

Fear of disappointing others. What will my parents, spouse, friends, etc. think if I pursue what I really want?

Maybe you’re a people pleaser and have always done what others expected of you. Now it’s your turn to fulfill your goals, not someone else’s, and they may not be happy about it. People who care about you should be supportive of your goals, not theirs. Find others who will support your dreams.

Fear of loss of prestige and/or money. My new career choice isn’t as prestigious as my old one, and I’ll be starting all over again. What will others think of me?  I’m too old to start over.

First of all, you are NEVER too old. Pride in your own accomplishments is more important than any perceived prestige from others. If you were successful in your prior career, chances are you will be just as successful, or more so, in your new one.

Fear of the unknown. Do you say to yourself- In this economy, I’m lucky just to have a job. So what if I don’t like it. It could be worse.

It all boils down to this, the BIGGEST fear of all. For some reason human beings have an innate fear of the unknown. The problem is that EVERYTHING is unknown. You could lose your job tomorrow, nothing is guaranteed, but we live as if we know what will or will not happen to us. And the “economy” has nothing to do with it.

If you are like most of us, one thing is certain: That you must work for a living. Since you must work, why not work at something you love and that you find interesting and rewarding?

Making a career change is a process, not an event. A career change requires planning and takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. In my workshops we create a step-by-step plan. Having your finances in order as you work on your plan will help to give you the peace of mind to move ahead. As you progress, step-by-step in your plan you will learn all about your new career path, job and industry.

Confidence will replace fear as knowledge replaces the unknown factors.


Ellen Mastros, founder of New Work New will be conducting a career change workshop aimed at helping people find work they can get excited about Monday mornings instead of dreading it. Career Activator, Madelyn Mackie, will share how she transitioned careers from the Chemistry Lab to Tony Award winning Theatres to an Officer position with a national nonprofit.  Yes, you can do the work you love.  Find out how!

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A big dreamer as well as a big do-er, Madelyn draws on her experience of successfully navigating three high-profile careers to provide the expert advice, encouragement, and step-by-step action plans you need to activate your career dreams.

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