Career Fears and How to Shake Them!

By Katerina Pijaca

Career fears: we all have them.

Whether you’re thinking about applying for a specific role, have been offered a job or have been working part-time and are set to transition into a full-time gig, career fears can often be debilitating and send you on a rollercoaster of emotion.

The truth is, navigating through job search or an ever-changing career direction is a scary thing, but you are not alone! These are some common career fears and ways to help you shake them.

Am I settling?

Before applying for a role or accepting an offer, you may fear you are missing out on something better and the fact that you’re not going for it scares you.

Weigh it up. Write down a list of pro’s and con’s to decide whether you’re really fussing about something important. Consider travel, time commitments, responsibilities and duties, your passions, if it is meaningful to you or future career moves before deciding. If you’re not prepared to take it on, let it go. Being happy in a role is important, but not being completely content is okay too.

Is this as good as it will get?

You have been in a job for a while now and you feel like there is no room to move up or develop in your career journey. Your fear may not be that you’ll lose your job, but that it will remain the same forever.

Fear not! It is often that your career will be ever growing and changing. At any moment, someone could throw a spanner in the works that could affect your prospects too. You should be patient, but you can also be proactive! Think about what motivates you and propose taking on greater responsibility to your seniors. Alternatively, reach out, sometimes taking on extra volunteer or passion projects outside of your 9-5 could fulfil you.

Am I underpaid or not being paid at all?

You just finished a 4-year degree and are hit with the reality of an entry-level salary or internship-like experience. When considering a role, part-time, full time or internship-like, you may be afraid you’re making or doing less than your peers and have thus fallen behind without seeing a relief any time soon.

Don’t pull your hair out. It is beneficial to understand timing and criteria within your role. When the time is right, evaluate your performance, form an argument and brush up on your negotiation skills. (UTS Careers offer salary negotiation workshops throughout the year that could assist you in putting your best foot forward. Visit careerhub.uts.edu.au).

Am I out of my league?

Sometimes your role is everything you dreamed it would be, all the pieces fall into place and you’re completely over the moon with what you’ve landed. However, now you fear failing at it.

It’s inevitable that you will make mistakes or stumble on your career journey. Learn to be okay with that. Taking responsibility and building upon your mistakes will help you become better at what you do. Don’t fear asking for support from your seniors or colleagues – that’s what they’re there for. Seeking support could potentially provide you with better resources to do your job, or even the opportunity to upskill. Finally, emotional support from your family and friends is always beneficial.

It’s too late, I’m stuck now.

Whilst you may feel confident in what you are doing now, you may want a career shift but you fear the change is too big, the leap too far and now you’re out of time.

A career is ever changing and rarely will come with a used by date. Nothing is ever too hard  or too large for you to tackle with the right work ethic and determination. From changing your personal brand, focusing on a different niche or undertaking another degree; you’re never too late, so go for it!

(Check out UTS Open for FREE 3-5 hour postgraduate courses if you’re looking to branch out in a shifting market: https://open.uts.edu.au/#aboutus).


Katerina Pijaca is a Sydney based designer and creative. She graduated from a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication at the University of Technology Sydney and is currently a full-time graphic designer within the UTS:Careers service. Katerina is a thinker, tinkerer, and maker, her adaptability allows her to fulfill the client/user briefs with creative flair and a youthful outlook.


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

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