Career Coaching: Fear of change, fear of failure, and fear of math

We live in our heads, often to our detriment.  We create stories that are not always rational.  And, the combination of fear of change, fear of failure, and, I say only half-jokingly, fear of math prevents many would be career changers from moving forward until they come to Career Counseling Connecticut.

Fear of change: More than a few of Career Counseling Connecticut’s clients have suffered for years in careers/jobs that were horrible.  But they did nothing – other than occasionally send a few resumes into Monster or Indeed’s job search black hole – to change their careers.  These clients needed an outside force to convince them that they had to create the time, energy, and process to make the change.

Fear of failure: Similarly, many of Career Counseling Connecticut’s clients even after identifying a path that seemingly would lead to greater career happiness stayed in jobs/career paths that made them unhappy. Fear of failure prevented them from moving forward.  These career seekers needed coaching to create what I call a “downside plan” (if the plan doesn’t work out, what’s the plan?).  Quite often, once that plan was in place, our career counseling clients made the leap.

Fear of math: “I can’t make any less than $150,000.” I have heard variations of this number ranging into the half-million range. This particular career counseling client was double income (his wife earned around $80,000 in a secure government job with a pension plan) and no children.  Sure, they lived a suburban Connecticut life with all the trappings of a successful fortysomething couple but I had to go through the math to show that he could make around $70,000 to pay their basic bills to meet their current lifestyle  (and, I’m aware that those who are frugal/sensible could likely cut that number down to $20,000).  This exercise ended up being life-changing since he had never gone through his numbers because “he hated doing the math.”

He needed this math lesson because  – in his words – he “felt like his soul was being crushed” every day at his current job and his misery had led to high stress, a big weight gain, drinking too much, and a change in personality that led to marriage counseling.  When he came to Career Counseling Connecticut, he had a job possibility for what he thought would be a great fit. But the pay was $90,000. He didn’t get that job, largely because he waited too long to apply and someone else was far ahead in the process.  But six months later, he took a similar job – pay at $110,000 – and wrote with triple exclamation points about his happiness and laughed that all he needed was a math lesson to make the career and life change.