Common Reasons Women Put off Making a Career Switch

With our jobs taking up such a large percentage of our waking hours, it’s important to work in a role that is interesting, fulfilling, rewarding, and challenging. However, unfortunately for many women their careers involve dead-end jobs or positions that entail working for peanuts, having a less-than-ideal boss, or doing tasks that are mundane and repetitive.

If you feel like your career needs rejuvenating so that you can enjoy a job that pays you well, gives you more time with your loved ones, and makes your soul sing, it might be time to start applying for new roles. If you’re like many people though, you might be worried about how to go about switching careers, or what the consequences may be of you doing so. That’s why it helps to be clear about what fears might be holding you back. Read on for some of the most common reasons that women put off making a career switch today.


One of the primary reasons that many people, no matter their sex, stay in jobs they don’t love is because of a worry about finances. When switching careers, after all, workers often have to first retrain and then work their way up from the bottom in a new industry. When comparing the monetary impact of this path, in comparison to staying in a current role that tends to be more highly paid, it can be tough for people to feel they can afford the move.

If you’re in the position of wanting to change careers but being scared about where this could leave you and your family financially, make sure you do your research so that you have the facts before you make a decision.

For instance, you may be able to receiving funding for your new training from your current employer, and then simply change positions within that firm; or you might be able to earn more in the new type of role you’re after than you originally realized. As well, you might be able to work part-time in your current industry while starting part-time work in the new one, so that you can gradually build up a new career over time.

Furthermore, instead of dismissing the idea of a career change because of finances, consider putting a plan in place to get you where you want to go over time. If you put a strict budget in place now, and save up over the next one to two years, you could soon have enough cash available to cover the transition time involved in changing careers, without placing a financial burden on your family.

Lack of Confidence

Another very common reason why women put off making a career switch if that they lack confidence. Many women end up staying in current roles because they worry that they don’t have the skills, knowledge, intellect, network, social ability, looks, or other factors to succeed in a new industry or role.

If you’re in this boat, keep in mind that there are plenty of things you can do to build up your self esteem so that you can go about making your dreams come true. For starters, if you’re worried about impressing employers on job applications and/or interviews, it pays to hire a well-regarded executive resume-writing firm to put together a top-notch resume or CV for you. As well, many of these same companies can perform interview coaching with you to get your interview skills up to speed.

You can also join a gym or otherwise up your exercise regime to feel better about yourself, and/or get a new haircut and color, hire a stylist to help you with an updated look, or see a counselor who can help you improve your self-confidence. If you worry about your speaking and networking skills, consider joining an organization like Toastmasters to help you communicate more effectively and feel better in public situations.


Lastly, lots of women put off searching for a new job because they’re worried that the timing is wrong. After things such as recessions, presidential elections, industry job cuts, family circumstance changes and the like, some people feel that there is no point in searching for a new role, or that now just isn’t the right time to think about changing roles.

If this is your thought pattern, keep in mind that even in more challenging economic times, businesses need new staff members because of turnover, and will be on the lookout for passionate, motivated, committed workers. If you’re excited about starting down a particular career path, this will typically come across in interviews and can actually help you land roles over people who have been in the industry, stagnating, for years.

As well, if you’re worried about family opinions, it is important to actually speak to your partner and/or children about it before discounting the idea of a career change. Your loved ones might not even be concerned about you pursuing your passions after all, and in fact may be incredibly supportive and just want you do something you enjoy.

Photo by Jens Lindner

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