How to Handle 7 Common “What If…” Career Questions

What if Why Not Lets GoNo matter who you are or what you do, you’ve likely had a “what if…” moment about your career.

Especially if you’re a Millennial, this can be a tense time in your career where things can feel a little shaky. You may be worried about finding a job you like, or maybe even finding a job at all.

Or you may just be asking yourself a lot of questions regarding your future. Did you choose the right major? The right career? An industry that will still be around 10 years from now?

If you’ve been worried about your professional future, here are some ways to approach seven common career fears:

1. “What if I Can’t Find a Job?”

The No. 1 fear of most Millennials? Not finding a job. Or for many, finding a job that relates to their field. And data supports the anxiety: research shows one-third of college grads end up working jobs unrelated to their chosen career path.

Whether you’ve been out of college three months or three years, stay focused on your job search. Finding a job is a stressful and time consuming process, but it’s important you persevere. Make sure you leverage your networks, take time to write tailored resume and cover letters, and set up some Skype calls and coffee dates. These will help you stay connected, productive and focused.

2. “What if I Decide to Quit My Job?”

This is another question that often keeps Millennials up at night. Once you realize you don’t like your job, this question will be a constant debate in your mind.

If you’re thinking about quitting your job, then take a look at the source of your dissatisfaction. Can it be fixed? Can you be part of the solution? Is the company open to new ideas? If the answer to these questions is “no” – it might be time to look for a new opportunity and then quit… in that order.

3. “What if I Don’t Land My Dream Job?”

Millennials are often concerned about finding their “dream job” – yet fail to remember that any type of career goal takes time. Chances are, no matter what we’ve heard or hoped, you probably won’t land your dream job immediately after college.

During your the search for that elusive dream job, keep an open mind; you must be open to opportunities that may come your way. Why? Because dream jobs often happen at a least expected moment! Rather than stress about finding your dream job, or pushing too hard, follow the adage: “Work hard. Do good. Good things will happen.”

4. “What if I Have to Move for My Job?”

Relocating for a job is yet another stress point for young careerists. Whether it’s moving to a new city within your state or moving across the ocean, relocating for a job is a decision you’ll probably have to make at some point in your career.

Moving to a new city for a new endeavor is costly and requires you to make sacrifices. If you’re having any doubts about moving for a job, be objective with your decision-making process and compare your options to your career goals. An old-school pros and cons list is a great way to decide if relocating is the right move for you.

5. “What if I End Up Hating My Job?”

Everyone wants to have a job they love. But what if your job is less than satisfactory? Or the boss is a jerk?

Although this is a reasonable fear to have, it’s very important that you maintain a positive attitude. Even if you end up starting a job that is something you didn’t go to school for, the work isn’t fulfilling or the boss went to Attila the Huns school of leadership, you could end up enjoying it in the long-run. And sometimes, we learn a great deal from the not-so-great experiences we have, too.

6. “What if I Started My Own Business?”

Today’s young professional is pressured to make their own opportunities happen. Whether it’s pursuing a side hustle or quitting your day job to open a business, Millennials often feel pressured to become entrepreneurs. And Millennials are often attracted to the independence, flexibility, and creative freedom of owning a business.

If you’re seriously considering opening a business, it’s important to figure out what’s motivating you to pursue this decision. This is another situation where you should definitely make a pros and cons list to help you make a smart career move.

7. “What if I Want to Switch Careers?”

Making a career switch is a dilemma Millennials, and everyone else, face when they begin to doubt their major or career path. When you’re in college, you might think your history degree sounded like a great option. But… maybe not now.

First, realize that your degree does not define you. There are history majors doing amazing work in social media, for example. If you are working in a career that requires an advanced degree to do well, switch your major then. Above all else, relax. Work with what you have. When you’re ready to make a switch, you’ll know it.

If you’re at a point in your career where you constantly find yourself asking these “what if…” questions, remember that almost everyone goes through this. Reach out to mentors and trusted colleagues. Constantly look for alternatives. And most important: keep your positive attitude, an open mind and a strong focus on your long-term career goals.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!




olivia-adamsAbout the Author: Olivia Adams is the Brand Manager at Come Recommended. She is a graduate of Ferris State University with a B.S. in public relations. Olivia has experience in content marketing, writing, social media, branding, and public relations.




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