Career Change: How To Conquer The Fear Of Failing


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How To Use This Book


About You

About Me

Step 1 – Understanding your Fear

Case Studies

Quit Now?

Step 2 – What do I do?

Step 3 – Time Management



Making a List

Your List

Step 4 – Planning for Change

The Plan

Step 5 – Learning from Failing

Tips to Remember

Step 6 – Taking the Plunge


Option 2

What I did

I’ve Quit! What next?


Disclaimer & Copyright

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[* Get started here:*]


I wrote this book because I wanted to help people who are scared of changing their career, just like I was. In 2010 I was in a career that was making me miserable. My job was well paid, and I had worked hard to get to the position I was in. Nevertheless, I wasn’t happy. I wanted to do something about it, but I was afraid.

Do you keep asking yourself the following questions?

[* *]

“What if I can’t get another job?”

[_ _]

“What if I get less money?”

[_ _]

“What will my partner say?”

[_ _]

“What will my friends and family say?”

[_ _]

“What if I fail?”

That last question scared me more than all the others. It took me another 10 months to make the leap into a new career and I have not once regretted the decision. Looking back I now know it wasn’t just failure I was scared of. I was also scared of success. Fear of success can be just as crippling as the fear of failure.

Every time I take a risk or try to do something new, I think about the small, nervous and frightened young man I was and compare him to the experienced, empowered, well liked and respected individual who took control of his life 5 years ago. As I progressed in my new career I began asking myself a different question:

What if I succeed?

From my experience there are 3 major actions in the career change journey:

1. Making the Decision to Change

2. Actioning the Change

3. Being in the position you dreamed of and progressing

This book focuses on Action 1 & the beginnings of Action 2.

I am going to provide you with a guide to getting out of a job you hate, and towards a career you want by using my own experience and knowledge. Changing your career is not something that happens overnight, but it is something that can happen over time. With some hard work, patience and determination, I know anyone can do it. How do I know this? Because I did it! And so have the people whom you’re going to read about next.

So, if you’re scared of leaving your job and want to change your career, but have no idea where to start, this book is for you.

How to use this book

This book has been written for people like me; people who are often afraid of leaving a job they don’t like. This book is designed to help you make changes to your career and lifestyle. I am not a professional life coach, clinical psychologist or counselling professional nor do I make any claim to be. The material in this book is based on my own personal experiences and things that I have learnt and that have worked for me. I know you’ll find things in here that will work for you too.

Each chapter and title has been written specifically to address each step of the career change journey as I see it – from “bad career” to “right career”. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to find what you’re looking for. I recommend that you read the chapters in order, but if there is something specific you would like advice on, then you can skip to the chapter title most relevant. As I have included links to reference materials you will find useful, it is best to read this book on a computer, smart phone or tablet device with internet access.

All work is original unless specifically stated to be otherwise by reference. If you have any questions after you’ve finished reading, then you’ll find my contact details at the end of this book. I am happy to help you in your career change wherever I can.

Whilst I do read every email that arrives in my inbox, I can’t always reply as quickly as I would like. Typically I respond to all emails within a week of receiving them.

I hope you enjoy reading this book and that it helps you take the first step toward a better job, a clear career path and a happier life.

[* *]

[* *]

What others say

[_ _]

“Despite being in a secure job with brilliant colleagues and a reasonable salary, I wasn’t happy. In 2015 I left to set up my own business. If anybody asks me why I took such a risk, my answer is that it would have been a failure to stay and do nothing. At least I have the guts to try something new and see if I can make it work. While this is an attitude which I pass off as my own, in all honesty it probably came from many hours of talking things through with John. By drawing on his experience and relating it to my own situation he was able to help me take the decision to take the leap into the world of self-employment.”

Andrew Eagle, Owner _][_Epsom Dog Treks

[_ _]

“Johns positive action and attitude has motivated me to consider and alter the direction of my career. I left a secure job I wasn’t enjoying to pursue a new career in renewable energy. I’m currently taking a masters degree in the subject!  I believe John can show you how you can do the same (even if you’re scared!)”

Michael Payton, Former City Worker

[* *]

“It was a shock, but John’s career change motivated me to go all in, and pursue my interest in property development, construction and refurbishment (don’t hate me!). He’s one of those people who are relentlessly positive even when things seem bad. It’s a bit annoying sometimes, but you can’t help but smile. He leads by example rather than telling you what to do. I’m glad he’s written this book – it doesn’t tell you what to do. Instead it shows you what you can do.”

AM Contractors Ltd.

[_ _]

About You

You’re not happy in your job.

You might have a really good job. It’s well paid, you get good holidays, you have a title and responsibilities to be proud of…but you’re not happy. Alternatively you might hate your job, are not being paid what you think you deserve and dream of a career you’ve always wanted, but have been too busy or afraid to pursue.

We live in a society that tells us a good education will net us a good (i.e. ‘well paid’) job. Society equates a well paid job with being successful. Yet some of the highest paid people in the world are not happy in their jobs. Bankers, Lawyers, City Brokers, Hedge Fund Managers, Marketing Directors…e.t.c. These are all titles that scream ‘success’. But are they?

  • I know successful lawyers who are depressed in their work.
  • I know successful company directors whose job makes them seriously ill.
  • I know a Marketing Director who hates everything about his job.
  • I know successful bankers…actually I don’t know any bankers, but I can’t imagine their job is stress free.

The point is, there are many people who have achieved what society dictates success to be; they are all in positions of ‘power’ and ‘responsibility’ and they earn large sums of money. I expect you will know at least one person who is similarly unhappy despite appearing to have a successful career on the surface.

So why aren’t they happy?

There are many possible answers (you only have to do a quick Google search to find the latest ‘Top 10 reasons you hate your job’), but I think it boils down to one reason alone:

[* *]

[*The job they’re doing is just not doing it for them. *]

[* *]

Does this sound like you?

  • You aren’t getting any satisfaction from going to work.
  • Work has become a drain on your energy and you become ill more frequently.
  • You feel tired and struggle to get out of bed on a Monday morning (probably Tuesday and Wednesday as well).
  • You are disengaged and spend a good portion of your waking life complaining about how bad your boss/company/colleague is.

But despite all this, you don’t leave. You usually give one or more of the following reasons:

  • You think it might get better
  • You chant “I don’t quit when things get tough!” in your head repeatedly
  • You think if you quit, it will look bad on your CV
  • You are concerned you’ll lose some social status (salary, company car, job title, peer recognition)
  • You worry your next job could be worse
  • You don’t want to feel you’ve wasted time getting to where you are
  • You get a good salary
  • You worry about any dependents that may count on you (partner, children, pets)

You know what the problem with all these reasons is though? They’re not reasons. They’re excuses coming from a fear of change.

I’m going to show you how to conquer that fear.

[* Once upon a time in 2008… *]I was 28 years old and I had achieved something I had been aiming for since I was 23. I was promoted at work and became a General Manager at a large and well respected cinema chain in the UK. I was given responsibility for the financial and operational functions of an inner London cinema. It was at the time, a dream come true. I was in a position of authority and I was earning more money than I ever had before. I was really happy.

Then it all started to go down the toilet.

In 2010, my line manager was made redundant and the company began a huge restructure resulting in my job being changed. The autonomy and responsibilities my role held, disappeared one by one. I began to lose all enthusiasm for my work as bit by bit, all the interesting and fun aspects were taken away. Resources were decreased meaning I had to work more anti-social hours, put up with unpaid overtime, and make do with less experienced staff. The impact of this was that I became more stressed, ill and introverted. My friends hardly saw me and my family forgot what I looked like. Despite this I continued to work hard and the business and staff under my supervision thrived. We made a lot of money (for the company) and were regularly recognised for our consistently strong performance in the company’s business awards.

In January 2011 my cinema was undergoing a planned closure for refurbishment. I assumed my team and I would be transferred temporarily to other sites. Instead I was given an ultimatum by the company. I could either:

  • take over a neighbouring cinema suffering from significant HR, health & safety and retail problems and fix it for them with reduced resources
    p<>. OR
  • I could take a demotion and work under another General Manager in central London.

My role was to be re-advertised and I was ‘advised’ not to apply. So much for my hard work being respected. I took the transfer to the neglected cinema, but handed my notice in on my first day. I still remember the first thing my new line manager said after I gave my resignation. Ironically it was exactly the same question I had been repeating to myself.

[* *]

“What am I going to do now?”

It was funny and annoying at the same time. The company had shown my staff and I no respect or support despite our efforts. So even though I was terrified, I quit. They didn’t care about me and I was considered expendable and replaceable. I had no job to go to, no savings to fall back on, no partner to provide support, and no house or flat of my own. I only had a vague idea on what I wanted to do, but no plans on how to achieve it.

The only thing I knew, was that I was done working with people who didn’t value or respect my hard work and dedication.

  • Today*

I am a writer, author and business owner.

I have been reading, writing and telling stories since I was about 4 years old. I had never considered it as a career option until I turned 31. I have been published online and off by leading outlets, magazines and blogs. You can view examples of my work at my website here. But in 2011, I had no experience and nothing I had written had ever been published.

What about you?

I want you to start thinking about the following:

  • Where are you today?
  • Where do you want to be tomorrow?
  • Where do you want to be next year?

Step 1 – Understanding Your Fear of Quitting

I’ve already touched on the power of fear in the opening chapters. Now I want to delve deeper into what power these fears have over our ability to change careers. The results are quite disturbing when you study them, but not as disturbing as how many of us succumb to these fears.

Why are you afraid to change jobs?

Ask yourself right now – what is it, that’s stopping you from changing your career?

[* *]


Get a piece of paper and write down all the reasons that are stopping you from changing your career

[* *]


I bet that fear features somewhere near the top of your list. It probably features throughout.


Human beings are always scared of change. None of us likes to admit when we’re scared. It’s perceived as a sign of weakness, and we all know there are people who like to take advantage of perceived weakness. But being scared is also a strength, so it’s important to know that being scared is okay.


Being scared is normal.

How do you stop being afraid?

You don’t. Fear can be healthy when used correctly. It’s probably not the answer you expected, but it’s the truth. We are always afraid of something, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. You don’t stop being afraid, but you can learn to challenge and use it positively.

How to challenge your fears

We all do this every single time we try something new. It’s an important part of our learning process.


I am blind in one eye and was told that due to my lack of true depth perception I would not be able to drive a car. Today I hold a full license and am a good safe driver – safer than others on the road according to my partner. I was terrified the first time I got behind the wheel and on my 2 previous attempts to learn to drive, my fear got the better of me and I quit the lessons. But in 2011, I took up driving lessons again, and this time, I passed my test. I now have many years of driving experience under my belt. I also have done a lot of driving in the city of London (which is like trying to dodge a herd of really angry wilder beast). I’m still aware of my fear every time I get in the car, but because I’m experienced, it doesn’t hold the same power over me that it did. Instead I use it to prevent me from driving too fast, or too dangerously. I have a bigger blind spot than most, so my fear, instead of stopping me from driving, actually helps me drive safely. It makes me look and observe a lot more on the road than someone with two eyes would.

The Fear of Ageism

The fear of changing your career gets even stronger the older you get. However, changing career in your 30s or 40s can be easier than it was when you were in your 20s. Why? Experience.

Career Change Equation

[* *]

Job + Time = Experience & Skills

[* *]

Experience + New Job = Better Career for You

Whatever you’ve been doing in your job up until this point, you will have transferable skills for many other careers. A 20 year old simply doesn’t have as much life or professional experience as someone with over 10 or 20 years employment history. Changing careers once you’re over 30 is actually a lot easier to do then when you’re in your 20s with very little experience. The more experienced you are, the more skills you can bring to a new job or profession. Age can actually work in your favour.


John, Age 31-32 – I shifted completely from running an entertainment and leisure based business to running both a freelance writing and home visiting opticians business. At first I knew very little about blogs, websites, and I knew nothing about optics. I got a very low paid internship at a small digital marketing agency writing blogs and content for their group of websites. The year after, a friend referred me to an optician who was looking for a business partner to help him run his mobile service. After several meetings we decided to give it a go and I started learning about the basics of optics and business operations within a mobile service. I did this at the same time as I was working for the marketing agency and building my own blog and website.

John, Age 35 – I sold my stake in the opticians, and I have significantly increased my writing experience and contacts. In 2015 I was published in print for the first time and was a panel speaker at the Nine Worlds International Science Fiction Convention in London. The skills I learnt from my old jobs were key to my success thus far.

If you still think age works against you, then I am now going to cite the case study of my own mother.


MY MUM, Age 26 – Works in clerical support for the Home Office in London. She meets my Dad, and they get married less than a year later. She leaves her job to take up the harder post of being a full time mother.

MY MUM, Age 45, Having consulted with my Dad and us, Mum decides to fulfil a lifelong ambition to become a teacher. Despite having no A-Level qualifications, she does some research. She finds and secures an Access Course Qualification equivalent and applies for University. She graduates with a degree in Theology and receives QTS (Qualified Teaching Status) following another year of training and study. In 1999 she starts working as a full time Religious Education teacher.

MY MUM, Age 64 – Retires from teaching in 2013 having successfully taught at 4 different schools and receiving a Teacher of the Year award. She now helps my Dad run his 30 year old building consultancy business that he began by himself.

Neither of my parents seem particularly interested in full retirement, but they are in a position where they can now slow down if they want to.

[* *]


  • Being scared is okay
  • Fear can be used positively
  • Job + Time = Experience & Skills
  • Experience + New Job = Better Career for You
  • Age is not an excuse or obstacle

[* *]

Brilliant, I’ll quit right now!

Before you do, finish reading this book first. I quit my job and I wished I had something like this to read at the time. I want you to avoid the mistakes I made and get to a better career as soon as possible.

[* *]


  • Think about all the things you have learned in your current job.
  • Write down all the skills you have acquired on a piece of paper or your computer.
  • Now think about the person you were before you learned any of those skills.
  • Write down all the skills you had before you started working in your job.

If you’re finding this difficult, locate an old copy of your CV or resume and update it with all the new skills and experience you’ve acquired.

Compare your two lists. I bet the first list looks more impressive.

Step 2 – What do I do?

You know you want to leave your job, but you don’t know what it is you want to do next. That’s okay. You are not alone! And there are many ways to discover what you want to do.

[* *]

Understanding what you like and don’t like

If you’re really lucky, you come out of school or University knowing exactly what it is you want to do with your life. Unfortunately for 99% of us, that just doesn’t happen. I’ve been a writer my whole life, but I never took it seriously as a career option until I was in my 30s. It’s taken many false starts and different career choices to find the job that’s right for me. It will probably take you a few false starts to find the job that’s right for you. So if you don’t know what you want to do, try thinking about what you don’t want to do.

[* *]


Try asking yourself the following 2 questions:

[* *] [*

  • What do I like?] [
  • What don’t I like?*]


These were the two most important questions I asked myself when I first wanted to quit my job. And they’re really simple to answer. All you have to do is grab a pen and a piece of paper and start jotting down all the things you[* *]like to do and all the things you don’t like to do. You may end up finding aspects of your job appearing in both the ‘like’ and ‘don’t like’ list. Also…

[* *]

Don’t confine your list to job skills!


Think about what you enjoy doing when you’re not at work

Now think about what you’re [good at +]and[ enjoy+] when you’re not at work

There’s a reason we all have hobbies and play sports; we like them. You need to think about this when making your list.


Try it now.


Once you’ve got your list you have a starting point.



Have a look down at the list you’ve made and begin to think about the types of job where you could transfer your skills. Write down some ideas.

[* *]


_I really enjoyed creating marketing material for the cinema, especially writing the copy. This proved useful when learning how to write snappy content for websites _

[_ _]

Step 3 – The Importance of Time Management

In 2008, when I came home from my old job, I used to promise myself that I would write everyday no matter how tired I was when I came home from work.


It never happened.

By the time I came home from work (often past midnight if I was on a late shift), I was too tired to do anything except microwave some dinner and fall in front of the TV before passing out. It wasn’t the healthiest lifestyle in the world. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of it.


I began to repeat my mistake in 2014. I single handedly tried to run my writing business at the same time as my optician’s business. I now know that it is possible to run more than one business at the same time, but not without help. After a year of trying to do too much by myself, I realised I had to sacrifice one for the other and in 2015 began looking for someone to buy me out of the opticians.


I already knew that writing required a lot of time and effort, but I thought that I could manage it alongside the other business. I learned that I couldn’t as both businesses began to suffer. The importance of focus and time management were made abundantly clear to me.


How to manage your time to get what you want

Not everyone is an expert in managing their time. I certainly wasn’t and I still struggle on occasion. When I began to make my way towards my new career, I realised I had to be strict with myself. I discovered 3 Key things that would help me manage my time better.


[* *]


[* *]


[* *]


[* *]



Focus is the first thing you have to do before changing career.

  1. If you already know your ideal career path, focus on what you need to do to get there.
  2. If you don’t know your ideal career path, focus on your ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ list from Step 2.

Whichever category you fall in, focusing will help you answer important questions and organise your time more effectively.

[* *]


[* *]

  • Do I need to undertake any training?
  • How much money is required to support my career change?
  • What changes do I need to make to my current resume/CV?
  • Do I need to produce a new resume/CV?
  • Have I discussed the career changes with my partner/dependents?
  • Is it better for me to be self-employed or work for a company?
  • Do I need to do any volunteer work to get more experience for my new career?

A ‘scatter gun’ approach won’t help you to organise your time well. You need to focus on what you want, and then what you need to do in order to get there.


Change does not happen overnight. Remember that. It takes time to achieve what you want to achieve. But if you follow the advice in this book, you can save time instead of wasting it. There’s a mantra I want you to remember:

[* *]

One Step At A Time

It’s a cliche for a reason: it’s true.

I sometimes allow myself to get caught up too much in the ‘big picture’ of what it is I want to do. My writing career develops all the time and to be in the position I am today, did not happen overnight. Career change is made faster by taking things one step at a time. It is critical you remember this when considering your career options. Even winning the lottery can’t guarantee a dream job overnight.

There is another important reason why the ‘Step by Step’ approach should be used.

People daydream about the ultimate career for them. But when they realise just how much work it takes to make that dream a reality, they are overwhelmed. Approaching career change as an ongoing transition, will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. Working things through step by step, is far more effective than trying to do too much in one go.

You can make your career change a lot easier if you do things one step at a time. Which leads us very nicely into…


I love lists. Lists have been my best friends throughout my career change. Like my real friends, I don’t know what I would do without them. I have a chaotic mind and can go off on wild tangents. Making a list helps me to order my thoughts and complete the tasks that help me advance my career. Whether you’re setting up your own business, or changing your profession, making a list of what you need to do is invaluable.

I do monthly, weekly and daily lists. By breaking the big tasks down into smaller bite sized chunks, the whole process doesn’t seem so overwhelming. I am less likely to give up and more likely to work hard (sometimes without even realising it).

Another key benefit to making a list is that it helps chart your progress. This is a lifeline when you’re just starting out, or are in a job with few tangible results. Instead of feeling demoralised, you are bolstered every time you tick something off on your list.

I would have given up a long time ago if I didn’t have my lists.

[* *]


In 2015 I knew that I had to write a novel to have any chance of being a full time writer and author. Writing a novel is hard and time consuming. Despite numerous attempts, I had never managed to finish writing one before. This time I decided to make a list of all the things I needed to do in order to achieve my goal.

[* *]

[*May – *]What story do I want to tell?

[*May – *]Spend at least 1 hour a day making notes and researching things for the story.

[*June – *]Before I start writing, I scribble down the end. This is important as it helps give me a target to aim for, even if the end changes.

July – I reorganise my work and personal schedule to allow more time to write. This frees up one to two days a week that I can spend solely on writing; weekends inclusive.

[*July – *]Give myself a word count target to aim for every day. In my case it is 2,000 words. Sometimes I go over this, other days I struggle to reach 2,000. But I am putting words on paper.

July-August – Give myself a date I want to finish the first draft by. I begin writing the book at the beginning of July and I want to finish by the end of August. I run over and don’t complete the draft until the second week of September, but the self-imposed deadline helps me to focus.

September – Do my research and follow the advice from successful authors and editors: I leave the draft to settle and begin working on a second book.

[*November – *]I return to the draft and begin to do my first self-edit on it. Needless to say there is a lot of material that disappears and more is added.

[*December – *]I realise there is nothing more I can do by myself to make the draft better. I need feedback, which means I have to start giving it to other people to read and I need to look for a professional editor to do a structural/developmental edit on it. But it’s nearly Christmas and Star Wars is coming!

January – I begin researching into finding the right editor for me. I also send out an email to a group of friends and colleagues I trust (hope) will give a constructive opinion of my work. I ask if they would agree to be beta readers as part of the developmental process.

January – the book has been sent to both an editor and a group of readers all with the same purpose of reviewing my material and providing constructive feedback. I want the story to be the best it can be before sending it for a line edit and final proofread.

You’ve probably noticed that my list encompasses several months of work. But because each task is separated, it doesn’t feel like months of work. This helps your mind establish a new way of thinking. It resets your brain into a new ‘easier-to-achieve’ work mode. Instead of seeing your career change as an impossibly high mountain to scale, you now just look at the individual things on your list and tick them off one by one.

You might have a similar list already to help you begin the career change you want.

You might not have a list at all yet.

Whether you do or you don’t, make sure you have one, even if it’s in your head. Having a list will help you change your career into the one you want, step-by-step.


  • Think about all the things you think you’ll need to do in order to change career.
  • Write them down on your computer or a piece of paper (the order doesn’t matter at the moment). If you use a piece of paper, make sure you don’t accidentally put it in the bin or lose it…like I used to do all the time.
  • Look at your list carefully
  • Place all the tasks that can be done right away at the top.

If you’ve done it right, you should now have a list that you can start actioning tomorrow.

Step 4 – Planning for the Change

As I have grown older, I have had to become more organised. My mind is scruffy. I spend a lot of time trying to work things out whenever I’m writing a new story or book. My friends and family often laugh (kindly I think) when I’m off in my own world, (I call it ‘Johnland’). But in order to make the changes necessary to alter my career, I had to get organised. I had to start planning properly.

So I came up with one.

I think it will help you in your career change.

The Career Change Plan

[* *]

Have an idea of what it is you want to do.

Unless you have a rough idea over what it is you want to achieve, you will end up back in a job you hate.

Make a list

Write down all the things you will need to do or learn in order to make your career change. Study that list. How long it will take to action each of the tasks on it?

[* *]

Prepare to make sacrifices

How much are you prepared to sacrifice in order to get the career you want?

How much of an income do you need to support yourself during the transition?

Are your family/partner/children prepared for the extra time you will be spending on your career change?[* *]

[* *]

Ask for understanding in advance from family and friends

Your new career change may take up a lot of time; time you’re used to spending with friends and family. Make sure you speak to them in advance, just to warn them.

[* *]

Think long term

Again, this is not an overnight change. It might take you a few years to gain any traction (it’s taken me a few). Be prepared for this so you don’t become disillusioned before you have given yourself ample opportunity to succeed.

[* *]

Don’t underestimate the work involved

Any change worth making, takes patience, time and most importantly, hard work. If you aren’t prepared to devote significant energies to your career change, then you need to ask yourself if you’re making the right choice.



When I changed career in 2011, I was working two jobs at the same time and getting very little sleep. I wasn’t eating properly and I wasn’t exercising. I dropped a stone in weight and had severe stomach cramps. (I’m skinny, but the kind of skinny I was in 2012 is unhealthy!)

I realised I had to change fast if I was to have any success in my career change. Following the advice of a friend, I joined a cheap gym (you can find local gyms that offer great discounts and membership deals) and bullied myself to have a proper dinner and breakfast every day. I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining your physical health throughout this process. It will also aid your mental health. After all, what chance do you have of success if you’re ill and can’t get out of bed? (yes, that happened to me several times!).

[* *]

Budget Accordingly

A pay cut will be the first thing you notice (unless you’ve won the job lottery) when you change career. It hurts, but you can mitigate the effects by drawing up a list of your current monthly expenditure and seeing what things you can do without (there are always things you can do without).

[* *]

Spend time with supportive people

This kind of emotional support is critical to success. The support of my close friends throughout is something I have found invaluable. My friends have applauded, sympathised, and laughed at all the things I have achieved, failures I have experienced and cock ups I have made. Unlike your family, your friends aren’t supporting you because they feel they need to. They’re supporting you because they want to. It helps to give your ego a boost when you’ve had a bad day or week. You need to spend more time with people who support what you’re doing, and less time with people that don’t.

[* *]

Have a social life

Whilst you will have to adjust your budget and spending habits, it is important to maintain your social connections as best you can throughout this process. If you lock yourself away from friends and family and don’t see people outside of what you’re doing, your mental health will deteriorate. Once that starts to happen, your productivity will drop and you will begin to fall apart. I know, because I made the mistake of having the bare minimum of a social life when I started. You can visit friends at home or they can come and visit you. You can stay in and have a party instead of going out and spending a fortune on the town. Also, things like hiking and walking are always free.


Step 5 – Learning from Failing

Failing is a key part of career change, but not many people do it that well.

You might not have expected to read that, but it is important. No one achieves success straight away. Unless you’re a genius, have inherited millions or won the lottery, a successful career change is going to include a lot of stumbles. You will come up against a few dead ends and wrong turns. The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is how they deal with failure.

*Learning to Use Failure as a Tool *

Over the years I have performed many different functions in a variety of roles. I’ve been a Payroll Assistant, a Cinema Manager, a Business Manager, an HR Adviser, a business owner, a shop worker and on one memorable occasion, an office assistant for an adult entertainment company, (that book will be out at some point in the future). I learned different things in each role. I also made a lot of mistakes in each role. Successful writers and authors probably have the thickest skins of anyone I know. We experience failure and rejection possibly more than any other profession in the world. There are tens of millions of us. Authors, screenwriters, journalists, playwrights, bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, academic writers…all scrambling for attention in a 24-hour connected world. It is a hugely competitive arena, with everyone struggling to get their voice heard. You’d think that more of us would give up trying. Some of us do after falling down once or twice. The ones that don’t are the ones that look at failure as a learning opportunity. We see our competitors as colleagues.

I’ve written a lot about the role of failure in success[* *]on my own blog which you can check out here. I believe that if you haven’t learned to pick yourself up after you’ve fallen down, then how on earth can you expect to change anything in your life?

I’m one of those people who learns mostly by doing. Oh sure, I read a hell of a lot (I love books!), and I’ve taken courses and classes in writing. But at the end of the day I’ve learned the most from just doing it. I’ve learned even more from the rejections I’ve had. Every time an article, blog post or story of mine has been rejected it hurts beyond belief. However, when I’ve had time to think about the reasons for the rejection, I usually feel a lot better. If constructive feedback is given I listen or read it intently and store it for use the next time I write. Eventually I started to have articles and blog posts accepted and stories placed in competitions.

Learn to deal with Rejection

During your career change you are probably going to be applying for lots of jobs and learning more about the industry you want to work in. If you’re setting up a business for the first time, you’re probably going to be doing tons of research on your market before you start selling your product to the world. In both cases, even if you get things mostly right the first time round, (which is where research can be king!) you are going to make some mistakes and experience some failures along the way. It’s inevitable. So how do you stop it from making you give up?


[* *]

Professional Rejection is Different to a Personal Attack

Most of the time you’ve been rejected for a job or for a project, it’s not because of you personally. It’s because you might not fit well into the professional dynamic of the existing team, or your project doesn’t fit the needs of the company/organisation. Note how neither is a judgement on who you are as a human being; you’re probably a pretty amazing human being. Don’t take a rejection personally.

[* *]

Get Angry

Yep. Anger and frustration are two very normal and natural emotions to be feeling when someone’s told you to go away. You need to reboot your mindset at this point. The best way is to have a nice rant about the rejection. Allow yourself to get angry. Swear, kick the door (make sure there’s no one behind it first), go for a run, hit a punch bag…do anything (legal) that syphons off your anger, frustration and upset. You can’t think when you’re angry and hurt. If you bottle your anger up and repress it, (as people in the UK are disgracefully taught to do) you won’t ever be able to learn and move on.

[* *]

Consider the Feedback Given (if any)

If you’ve been rejected, it’s always useful to try and find out why. If you don’t know why you failed, you’re liable to make no changes to your approach next time, and fail again. It’s like being blind, walking along a cliff, and hoping you won’t suddenly stroll off the edge. If your application for a new job has been rejected but no feedback is given, there is no harm in politely asking for some. Most people are happy to give feedback! We’re human beings and love talking about each other. Most importantly, people are more likely to remember you. You won’t always get feedback from everyone, but you should always seek it.

[* *]

Adjust Your Approach and Start Again

Once you’ve learned all you can from your experience (gained feedback, spoken to colleagues, friends, gone back to your research), it’s time to have another crack of the whip. You’ll be armed with more knowledge and insight then before. You can incorporate what you’ve learned into your approach. You’ll be less likely to fail, and more likely to succeed.

Step 6 – Taking the Plunge

I equate career change with life change, because it is a radical step. You’re not just going for a promotion or transferring to a different company. You’re about to alter a significant aspect of your life. If you follow the first 5 steps, and you’re still reading, then you can start thinking about quitting your old life and starting a new one.


There are 2 main ways you can approach quitting your job, and I’m going to outline the pros and cons of both. Hopefully it will help you decide on which option is best for you.

[* *]

[* *]

OPTION 1 – Go Part Time First (if you can)


  • Lowers the financial risk of simply walking out of your job one day.
  • Allows you more time to research and undertake any training you need to aid your career change
  • The company you currently work for is more likely to be flexible and allow you to work part time

[_ _]


  • You’re still in a job you don’t like and your energy reserves will be lower
  • It will take longer to complete any training and research you need to do in order to affect career change
  • Your company may not allow you to go part time or choose the hours of work that will help your change



OPTION 2 – Quit Your Job


  • Full time, focus and energy spent on affecting your career change
  • Any research and training required will be completed much faster
  • Can improve your health and well being
  • The lack of financial safety nets can make you work harder to achieve what you want

[_ _]


  • Loss of earnings during your change
  • More pressure on family/partner (if applicable) to stay in work
  • Harder to do if you have children or no partner to help support you


There are more or less, an equal number of pros and cons to both methods. Hopefully seeing them laid out as above will help you decide what is the best option for you.

What I did

I quit my job straight away.


My way is no better or worse than any other method people choose. It worked for me because I was in a position that was seriously affecting my health and well being. The moment I left I contacted a friend and let him know that I was looking for any writing or blogging work anyone had. I also quickly obtained a temporary position working (ironically) as a Recruitment Manager. Like many people, I was terrified of not having an income. This ended in less than two months after I was assigned the position of HR Manager on my first day with no consultation. The previous HR Manager who interviewed me had been sacked by the CEO. A few weeks later I discovered serious financial and personnel problems within the company. The CEO instructed me to ignore the problems and to prevent tax revenue inspectors (who had been trying to conduct an audit) from entering the building.


I decided to focus purely on my writing work.



You’re not immortal. We only get 1 go at this life. Do you want to look back in 20 years time and wonder what might have been?


I’ve quit! What next?

Whatever option you have chosen to use in quitting your old career and starting a new one, I would recommend following the steps I have outlined. They have worked for me and I believe they can work for you too.


To summarise everything we’ve talked about so far:

[* *]

*Understand your fear of change *

Learn how to challenge it

[* *]

What do you want to do?

Review the things you like and don’t like about your job. Review the things you like to do in your spare time. Add them all to a list to give you a starting point.

[* *]

What skills and experience will you need?

Do your research and think about any training or voluntary experience that might be useful.

[* *]

Time Management

Get organised. Make lists. Time how long tasks take. This will help you structure your day more efficiently.

[* *]


Prepare for the change where possible

[* *]


Do you know what true failure is? Not even trying in the first place. Understand that you will make mistakes and that’s okay! Learn from them for success.

[* *]

Quit your job

After you’ve considered and actioned all of the above

There is one more thing to add…BE PREPARED FOR A SHOCK

[* *]

All of a sudden you will be doing something completely different.

You might have decided to try setting up your own business, moved country for a totally different job or be retraining at university or college. Whatever it is, you will find it tough to adapt at first. Human beings are creatures of habit. We rarely like change. Your brain and your body, even some of your friends and family, are going to try their utmost to reject the change you’re undergoing. Don’t get angry with them; it’s natural human behaviour.

I found it can take up to a year for you and those around you, to fully adapt to your new career/life. Don’t be disheartened if after a few months you’re finding it a challenge. It’s normal. You can refer back to the steps I’ve outlined to help keep you focused, but don’t forget to talk with the people who support you. The emotional strength they provide can be invaluable and stop you from reverting to old, bad…and scary habits.


*Use your fear to help not hinder your ambition. *

[* *]

Keep in touch with your support network during the transition.

Think [long term]* not [short term*]*.*

[*Keep going until you’ve given it everything you’ve got. *]

Even if things don’t work out the way you expect, you won’t be looking back in 20 years time wishing you tried.

And remember to always ask yourself…[*what if I succeed? *]

[* *]


I hope you’ve found this book useful. If you’d like to contact me about anything within, please click here to get in touch. I respond to all comments and questions.

This book is Creative Commons Licensed. I wrote it to help others pluck up the courage to leave a job that’s not doing it for them. If you find it useful, please do share with anyone else who might be interested in this topic. You can embed it on your blog, share it with a writers group, or on a forum or anywhere you like, email it to a friend or use excerpts on your own website, as long as you cite the source – www.johnallenwriter.com – and do not sell the content.

Thanks for reading and…

[* *]

Have a Happy New Career!

© John Allen 2016



Disclaimer & Copyright

[* *]

Whilst every effort has been made to accurately represent the career change journey and how to conquer your fears, there is no guarantee that you will succeed. Any person or product that tells you otherwise is lying. Like most things in life, the success you achieve is your responsibility. Career change potential is entirely dependent on the person. This book and its contents, are designed to aid your journey, but they can’t make the journey for you.

Copyright © John Allen 2016

The right of John Allen to be identified as the author of the Work has been asserted him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


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Career Change: How To Conquer The Fear Of Failing

Hate your job but too scared to leave? You are not alone. Nearly 90% of us work in a job that we don’t enjoy. Even if the job is well paid, people are too scared to leave and try something different. This fear gets worse the older we get. Most career change books focus on training and skills, but they don’t really talk about getting past the major hurdle; a fear of change. In this book, I take you through the ways you can confront your fear of change and get a career that’s right for you…no matter how old you are. Why should you listen to me? Because I was exactly where you are now.

  • ISBN: 9781944785826
  • Author: John Allen
  • Published: 2016-03-03 19:05:14
  • Words: 8706
Career Change: How To Conquer The Fear Of Failing Career Change: How To Conquer The Fear Of Failing