Changing jobs always has a significant impact on us. Many aspects of our lives are directly or indirectly affected, beyond the daily tasks we do or the salary we receive. It is normal then, to think twice, before leaving a job to take a new one.
With so many great job opportunities on offer, including roles in other countries, how do we move past the fear of the unknown?
German Cingerli, International Technical Recruiter at RHEA Group, is also a behavioural psychologist. He shares his insights into how to overcome the mental hurdles that can prevent you from applying for the next step forward in your career.
A job is not only a way to pay the bills and put food on the table. It reflects our personal values and how we experience these through our daily lives. It defines the image we want to project and the place we want to have in our society. Overall, it contributes to our wellbeing and level of happiness.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has made the thought of changing jobs more stressful, even if the jobs on offer are attractive. When normal life becomes so much more complicated, our natural instinct is to retreat into a reassuring routine and find security in our comfort zone.
If you do not want to let your fear make you miss an attractive professional opportunity, here are six strategies to help overcome your worries and take a meaningful new step in your career.
1. Understand your ‘unsatisfaction’
Sometimes, the reasons to change job are obvious. But sometimes they are not.
It is not uncommon to think you have it all – a nice job, good work-life balance, a nice team, an expertise that is recognized and valued in the company – yet still feel that something is missing or wrong.
Our tip: Make a list of all the points contributing to this feeling of dissatisfaction or that you want to improve, keeping it as factual as possible.
Keep that list for later! It will help you remember why it is worth starting out on the recruitment process and experiencing a bit of stress.
2. Look for the balance between effort and reward
Consider the well-known business principle ‘return on investment’. You are winning when you receive more than you give, basically. This idea can be applied in your situation as well.
Change always comes with a certain amount of stress, which may be easily manageable. However, sometimes it seems like an impossible obstacle, in which case you need to realize that the stress associated with changing a job is a small price to pay compared with the stress of staying in your current role.
Our tip: Imagine a dashboard with indicators such as:
- stimulation at work
- role and responsibilities
- salary conditions
- time spent commuting
- work-life balance
- career evolution
- personal values.
If a career change moves most (or all) of these indicators in a positive direction, that change is GOOD. Any stress associated with making that change is therefore worth overcoming.
3. Believe the recruiter is your ally
If your potential career move involves working with a recruiter, trust them. This can help you move forward successfully in any selection process, for several reasons:
Recruiters will save you time. Recruiters are busy, so if they tell you your profile is a good fit and spend an hour on the phone with you, they believe in your application. The opposite is also true: if they tell you your chances are low and it would be better to save your time and energy for other opportunities, you can trust them on that too.
A recruiter is a free source of information. Not only about the job, but also about the market, the competition, the context and possible evolution of that role, and so on.
A recruiter can help you think. Sometimes, they will be the one telling you a role suits you like a glove. And sometimes they may advise you to stop because you seem to be struggling to see yourself in a certain role. Whatever you decide, a recruiter will respect your decision.
Recruiters have your salary interests in mind. You can be transparent from the start about the minimum salary and conditions you will accept. It is not true that recruiters will try to make you accept the lowest possible salary – when we can, we try to offer a bit more, because it increases motivation and helps to secure a placement. Consider your recruiter as your lawyer; they will be defending your interests in front of the decision-makers and budget-keepers.
4. Understand the ‘fear of change’
Fear of change is normal. It goes hand in hand with the concept of having a ‘comfort zone’. A daily routine is reassuring and when nothing changes it can give us the impression that we are in control.
This is linked to ‘fear of the unknown’. Even when we plan, prepare and anticipate as much as we can, there is still a small enduring element of uncertainty that can be enough to crush nice plans.
Our tips: Collect as much information as you can. The more information you have, the more you will feel in control.
Also, aim to make your fear more tangible. Something vague, like ‘change’ or ‘the unknown’, is daunting and seems to have no ‘solution’. So think about specific things that could happen and then it is easier to identify a potential solution.
We are not suggesting you believe every aspect will go perfectly. Instead, learn to trust yourself; if something goes wrong, you will find a way to deal with it. And remember, you will have the support of your new company too.
5. Rethink ‘relocation in a new country’
Imagine giving yourself the target of climbing a mountain. If you look at the top while you are still at the bottom it will seem almost unreachable. It is normal, then, to feel demotivated or hesitant when faced with a big change.
The solution is to take one step at a time.
Relocating in another country to further your career can seem equally challenging. But in reality, it is just a series of small steps to be taken one at a time.
Our tips: There are a number of things you can do to make relocation less stressful:
You will not lose out financially. On the contrary: your overall financial situation will improve. By working with the recruiter, you know your salary and conditions will be better. On top of that, you should receive financial support to cover all relocation expenses, such as flight tickets and temporary accommodation.
Embrace moving to where the client is and boost your CV. If you want to work within a prestigious institution in the space or cybersecurity sector, like the European Space Agency, NATO or the European Commission, you have to accept that they are located in specific places. They will not come to you. But remember: the move does not have to be forever and afterwards you will have greater expertise and a more attractive CV.
Remember the balance between effort and reward. Relocation can generate stress. When it seems complicated, think of all the things you will improve significantly by moving further through the recruitment process.
Relocation is safe. Do not let COVID-19 make you miss out on a great opportunity. Relocating during a pandemic is no more dangerous than going to the dentist or the supermarket. If you respect safety measures as you travel or while you visit a new apartment, you are less exposed then if you were touching goods in a supermarket.
Also, fewer candidates are applying for vacancies during the pandemic, so your chances of getting a role are better.
Seize a new opportunity for your partner. If you relocate as a couple, you will have at least one secure salary. And in most cases, the salaries on offer in the space and cybersecurity sectors will allow you to both live on one income. So this can be an opportunity for your partner to explore a new path too.
Having children does not make it ‘mission impossible’. Children are stronger and more resourceful than we think. They are more flexible than adults; they learn new languages and make friends faster, as you may have noticed when you go on holiday. Over-protecting them is worse than exposing them to life changes, as long as you love and support them.
Have confidence that you and your children will be able to overcome any difficulties, no matter which country you move to.
This can be an adventure! You will meet new people, visit new places and experience new things, with the comfort of knowing you have a better salary and the support of your new employer. If you move with a partner or family, it can even bring you closer together than staying in a repetitive routine.
Nothing is written in stone. If things do not go well, despite your best efforts, you can always return to your home country with the pride of knowing you tried and did not let your fear decide for you.
6. Take courage: how to react ‘on the edge’ in the decisive moment
You have got the job and your new work contract is awaiting your signature. But this can be the scariest and most intimidating moment of all. Instead of celebrating your victory, you start worrying.
Do not blame yourself. It is a normal reaction when the ‘fear of change’ is at its peak.
Our tip: Let your emotions subside, clear your head and think rationally.
Remember the balance between effort and reward. Review all the things you will significantly improve in your life by taking the job and you will realise the reward is worth the effort.
And then – do not forget to celebrate! It is a victory and the beginning of a new adventure. Change can be a good thing, if you want it to be that way.
Find out more
Discover all the exciting roles on offer at RHEA across the 11 countries in which we work by visiting our job vacancies page. If you cannot see something that suits your ambitions or experience, send us an open application and our recruitment team will get in contact when we have a role to suit you.
Remember: it is part of our recruiters’ role to support you during the recruitment process, so always speak to them if you have any questions or concerns about the role you are applying for.