How To Overcome Career Change Guilt

Dear Adriana

I have a serious case of career change guilt. I got my bachelors and have been in my career field for almost 3 years now, and I fu**ing hate it…Downside is, I have invested so much time and money to be in this field that if I leave it, I will feel like it was all wasted.

Not only will I feel like I’ve wasted time and money, but I also feel like a quitter and worry that my family will be disappointed in me.

How can I get out of this stagnant, unfulfilling career without all of this guilt I feel about the money and time wasted keeping me from making this career change?

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Dear Anonymous,

You’re so not alone in this “career change guilt”!

Ask yourself this, if you already feel guilty about how much time you’ve “wasted”, imagine how much more guilty you’ll feel in the future if you change nothing?

It’s never too late to change directions:

  • Harrison Ford was a professional carpenter for 15 years before he was in Indiana Jones.
  • Giorgio Armani went to University to study medicine and ended up a famous clothes designer.
  • Mick Jagger left business school to pursue his music career.

I’m not sure what career field you’re wanting to get into. Maybe it’s not even a “carved” out field. But what if you could be the next, Lady Gaga, Giorgio Armani, Ellen Degeneres, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, etc.

Forget the money, forget the family judgment, forget the time.

Time is never “wasted”. Think of how much experience and information you’ve learned from your current career? You may not see it now, but you will benefit from this experience in one way or another, you just can’t see it yet.

I can’t think of one person who hasn’t changed their mind on what they want for a career or what fulfills them. So don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel like a “quitter”.

Related: How Do I Find My Passion?

Make a list

Divide a paper in half and write down your skills. What are you’re strengths? What do you have experience in?

On the other half, write down the skills you need to move into this other career field.

It’s probably likely that you already have the skills you need to take a stab at what you really want to do!

And honestly, these days, a lot of jobs don’t care what your degree is in, they just care that you have one.

What are you doing this for?

What will this career change mean for you? Not for your family and friends. This is your life we’re talking about, so throw that judgment out the window.

Will this career bring you more financial stability? More creativity? Personal fulfillment? A better work-life balance? Location?

Remember what you’re doing all of this hard work (hard work being changing career fields) for and write it down. When you question if it’s worth it, you’ll read that and instantly be reminded that it is.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t feel guilty. You’re human, you’re allowed to change your mind!

Don’t, “waste” anymore time! Go after it!

“There is no passion to be found in playing small — in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living.” — Nelson Mandela



How to overcome career change guilt


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