How to manage the fear that comes with a career change

How to manage the fear that comes with a career change featuring guest speaker Kevin Laburte

Speaking of a career change, relative terms that come to my mind include movement, unstable, adventurous, and these words make me feel hesitant and unsure of what’s happening next.

During this week’s webinar, our guest speaker Kevin Laburte shared with us that he was scared when he decided to change his career after being committed to the financial industry for more than seven years. However, recently he successfully entered the technology industry, which he has always been passionate about.

It’s okay to have fears and feel scared.

Kevin admitted that he was scared when making the transition. Besides the fact that the technology industry requires different professional background and credentials, he was worried that it was too late for him to start from scratch. He was worried about how his compensation and salary would be affected. However, when he turned 30 years old and looked back, he realized that it wasn’t where he wanted himself to be, and he bravely quit his job.

As Sarah Vermunt said in her Careergasm book, “Fear isn’t the opposite of bravery, it’s a prerequisite. You can’t have bravery without fear” (Chapter 5).

Start exploring early and set a goal for yourself.

You might be wondering what gave Kevin the courage to quit his job. The answer is himself. He had the courage because he has been trying things out throughout the years.

When Kevin was still working at the bank, he created programs that streamlined others’ working process. He took the initiative to work on things beyond his job description, which allowed him to enrich his working experience and explored his interest.

Kevin started exploring career options in the technology industry back in 2016. Besides that, he has always been working on his side personal project, which helped him navigate in the new industry and find the direction.

After he quit his job in May 2019, he set a goal for himself to go back to the financial industry in September if nothing ended up working out for him in the technology industry, allowing him to take time to think, to work on his own project and to keep himself motivated while exploring.

Build a portfolio to showcase your skills and abilities.

To find the right program, Kevin used the Alumni tool on LinkedIn and looked up people who graduated from the school that he was looking into, then see where those people were after finishing school.

He also urged us to build a portfolio gradually to show your worth. Besides gaining labour market-relevant skills through education and training, Kevin recommended volunteering, developing an application (for technology professionals specifically), writing industry-related articles, and gaining access to the professional network to tap into the water before entering the new industry.

Last but not least, to all the folks who are unhappy with your current job and are hesitant, we want to encourage you to find your passion and try it out. No one is fearless, we are just in the process of learning to ride our fear.

Written by Winnie Jiang for Orbit 5