The False Reasons We Give to Stay Put

How often have you thought, “It’s time I really take charge of my professional life and ask for that raise/change careers/move to a better employer/get that college degree so that I can advance in my career.”

And then you do….nothing.

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You’re not alone. After all, who hasn’t dreamed of saying adios to the status quo and just….making a major move!

But too often we only think about making a big change in our work life or career and take none of the steps necessary to get us where we want to go.

What’s more, we almost always come up with one or more excuses – um, reasons — why we can’t make the change. And, let’s be honest here: they truly aren’t reasons; they are excuses we provide ourselves because – let’s be honest – we’re scared. Totally, utterly, scared.

Need proof? Take a look below at three false reasons we give ourselves when we’re actually too afraid to make a move.

  1. It’s not that bad right now where I’m at in my life/career. I enjoy the work and the pay’s decent. Why change?

Ask yourself this: if you say “it’s not that bad right now,” why aren’t you really saying “it’s terrific!”? In other words, “not that bad” is a far cry from “terrific,” right? “Not that bad,” is code for “I’m scared of change/scared I’ll fail/scared I’ll hate any big change I might make.”

In other words, “not that bad” really means “I’ve given up hope things truly could be terrific.”

Don’t let yourself be “that guy.” You know: the guy (or gal) who reaches the end of life and wonders “what if.”

  1. I can’t afford it.

Yes, you may not be able to make a big change right now. After all, if you have debt or you need to support a family, making an abrupt change definitely is a bad idea.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start moving forward. Have too much debt? Look into ways you can pay it off.

Want to change careers but need more education to do so and you can’t afford it right now? Talk to a financial advisor at the school of your choice. You may find it has scholarships or grants it can recommend. At the least you will know how much the education will cost and you can start saving budgeting now.

Want to start a business? You may not be able to quit your job now, but there’s nothing stopping you from starting a side-gig and growing it over time while you toil at your day job.

“It’s too expensive,” often really means “I don’t want to do the extra work or make the additional effort to pay down debt/side a side hustle/go back to school.”

If that’s the case, own it. Don’t hide behind supposed poor financials. You’d be amazed how things can come to fruition once you acknowledge that money really isn’t the problem.

  1. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point in my career; I can’t just give it all up now.

This is an example of believing the sunk-cost fallacy, which is a belief that because you’ve put so much money, effort or education into something you should continue doing it because it cost you so much. But in reality the money/time, is already spent (it’s a sunk cost). Leaving it will cost you nothing more and you’ll get nothing more from staying with it, either.

For example: you buy tickets to see your favorite band. Tickets are $200 each and you ask your girlfriend to join you. But by the time the concert rolls around in three months your girlfriend has dumped you, your heart is broken and you’ve no desire to go see the band because it’s too painful to do so without her but you don’t want to “waste” your money.

So don’t go! The money is already spent! You won’t get it back by going. It’s a sunk cost: it’s gone.

The sunk-cost fallacy often has cost people far more than $400 spent on a concert: people stick with a losing stock because they paid so much for it, for example. In your case, you’re staying in a career or at a job because you’ve put so much into it. That time and effort are sunk costs. They are gone! You should go, too.

If you think it’s finally time to take the first step to a better job, contact Helpmates. We connect people living in Los Angeles and Orange counties with some of the region’s best employers, so call or visit the office nearest you to learn more about how we can help get you where you want to go.

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