Career Change Challenge: Why many feel more comfortable in known misery than unknown possibility

“I’m completely miserable.” Sarah said. “I’ve been miserable for nearly a decade.” Sarah was in some type of claims processing work at a large insurer in Hartford. 
We went through Sarah’s years of misery. The same – in my mind predictable pattern emerged – year after year: Sarah’s work made her increasingly unhappy.  She would ponder career possibilities. She would grow uncomfortable with the unknown related to the possibility then, at some point, whatever current work project was causing the misery would end. At that point, the level of unhappiness would increase to “just generally unhappy” as opposed to intensely miserable and that state seemed more comfortable then venturing out into the unknown.
I’ll spare you the evolutionary biology lesson. But we are hard wired for safety.  Safety is the known. Staying within one’s general home base parameters rather than venturing into unknown fields where predators might lurk has transformed into staying in one’s job parameters rather than venturing into career fields where unknowns emerge. 
The difference, of course, is that moving into a different career field won’t kill you. Nonetheless, your anxiety will stop you from moving away from something that is causing unhappiness.
If there is a public service that Career Counseling Connecticut has provided, it is to generate greater happiness from our career counseling clients by getting them to move past fear of the unknown.  We do so by helping to reveal the “unknown monsters”.  It turns out that most aren’t that scary.