Education Career Services

March 26, 2009

Is FEAR controlling your career?



 Being an executive career coach, writer, and textbook author, I discuss career issues daily with individuals across all industries, levels, geographic regions, and experience.  For those allowing fear to control your career, you are not alone.


How does one know if fear controls your career?  An incomplete listing vicariously experienced within the past month includes:


  • Angry at a world for not giving you the chance to prove yourself
  • Depressed and wondering if waking up is worth the effort
  • Staying home, rarely networking with friends, social groups, or professional associations
  • Ready to give up before trying
  • Feeling under-qualified for positions you are clearly qualified to handle


In today’s tight economy and angry-mob attitude, what can we do to control our career?  I believe the first step is to recognize our own value.  Believe it or not, uniqueness is a benefit in many arenas.  But before anyone is able to recognize value, confidence must be addressed.  From the classroom to seasoned professionals, displaying confidence is an asset many are falling short on.  No doubt some have been rejected so many times that confidence can be a limited resource.  Still, we need to strap the boots on every day and accept progress, not regress.


I hear the outcry and am reminded daily that rejection is a part of life.  On a personal note, I wrote a wonderful piece of fiction several years ago (450+ pages of adventure and thrills), believed it to be an instant classic, and sent it out for publishing consideration…


Result: over 50 rejections in 6 months (any publishers looking for a great piece of literature?).  Perhaps this is not the example I should use?  Then again, I am a published author now (just not from my creative work—yet!) and colleges, universities, libraries, and career-minded individuals are receiving benefit from my pages.


For too long I allowed fear to control my life, my career.  For those ready to take control, the first steps are hard…accept that there will always be struggles, no matter the number of steps; and remind yourself that “easy” is also a four-letter word.


Today is the day to take control of your career by:


  • Not being angry at the world; individually one can change the world one step at a time
  • Throwing off the cloak of depression; confidence is a natural reaction to value—and we all have value
  • Packaging yourself and letting the world know who you are; the total package secures offers
  • Never allowing obstacles outside of our control to dictate action
  • Knowing the contributions you will make and displaying those contributions in a way that draws hiring managers to you; recent graduates, transitioning professionals, and entry-level candidates all possess skills – do not sell yourself short

 Fear and anger are nasty words and in my house, they are words without a room to call their own.  With this submission, I will conclude by visiting a statement from a rather old/but relevant movie; many will recognize its origin:


I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!


Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

Education Career Services:

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