Skills & Training
May 1, 2023

Overcoming Career Anxiety: Strategies for Building Confidence and Self-Esteem

Career anxiety is real and a common experience. Discover some strategies that can build your confidence and improve your self-esteem.


Career Anxiety is Real

Career anxiety is real and many of us have experienced it. Career anxiety can creep into the thoughts and hearts of experienced professionals as well as entry level workers who are trying to launch their careers. There are many reasons why people feel anxiety and it’s not always related to the job itself - although it could be. Many professionals feel career anxiety not knowing why or where it may come from. Taking the time to examine how you feel in the moment may be a great way to uncover the root of your anxiety. Let’s discuss why you may feel anxious about your career and some strategies that you can do to build your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

Why Do You Have Career Anxiety in the First Place? 

Throughout the course of any career there will be highs and unexpected lows. For example, when you landed your first job you may have felt a level of excitement and a passion to stand out from the crowd, make a difference and gain a promotion as soon as possible. Perhaps when you began to survey your group of work peers, you may have realized that there were some who were more tenured than you, had a higher level of education than you and often, had a more established relationship with leaders or social capital in the organization than you. These are all reasons that you may have felt career anxiety. The questions that come to mind may include how do you prove that you are good at what you do? How do you get your boss to notice your contributions to the team? Will you perform well and make an impact in your organization? In the same vein, if you have been a top performer in your organization, you may begin to wonder what’s next in your career? If you learn a new skill, will you be more valuable? Will you need to move yourself or your family to another area to have a better chance of landing a job you will love? All these uncertainties can be catalysts for career anxiety.

What You Have Always Done Does Not Have to Be Your Future Career 

What you have always done in the past does not have to be your future career. Can we say it louder for those in the back! If your previous line of work did not bring you joy, it may be time to chart out a new direction. Many workers tend to get stuck and lose that career sparkle. Becoming in tune with your career likes and dislikes will help you to quell the anxiety of doing jobs that you would rather leave in the dust.

Spending years in the same role should not define your future career prospects. If you like the company that you work for, maybe it is time to try out a different career path within the company. Consider the transferable skills you have and research different roles and industries where your transferable skills can be used. Do you have experience creating compelling content? Do you enjoy analyzing data and providing solutions to big problems? Think big and dream even bigger! If you do not have the skill set yet to do something that you would prefer, try taking some low-cost certificate programs and offer your newfound passion as a freelance or volunteer opportunity to enhance your confidence, boost your self esteem and build your skillset. Remember, practice makes for better performance.

Learn to Embrace Your Natural Talents

Learning to embrace your natural talents can give you a much-needed boost in the self-esteem and confidence departments. Layoffs, changes in job duties, being passed over for a promotion, not feeling validated in your work, burn out, feeling bored or feeling unchallenged may send your career anxiety into a frenzy. Stop! Find your center of gravity and ask yourself questions like: do I enjoy reading, how do I feel about home décor projects, am I fascinated at the idea of working with electricity, or do I enjoy political debates? Often situations in life can occur that you were not expecting but may be the catalyst that you need to push you off onto a different career path. Educating yourself about the opportunities that are out there can make the difference.  Take time to inventory your career needs and and while you are at it take our work style quiz, to learn more about your work preferences found in My Path.

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