Fight the fear

Unwillingness to accept change can see you stuck in the same job for years, at the cost of better opportunities.

Apart from losing out on better remuneration and growth prospects for change resisters may miss the opportunity to explore their complete potential.

Naresh Patel has been doing the same job in a government bank for the last 28 years. There is comfort in the routine and security in knowing every nuance of the job. Everyone at the workplace knows me, and I am very comfortable …

Extremely long job tenures such as his are not unique in a country like India. However, what seems like unwavering loyalty to the organization could be caused by fear of change.

Resistance rationale

Change resistance is a very common human tendency rooting from the intrinsic need for security. Change tends to throw people off balance. Suddenly the routine which they have been following for years at end must change. They feel overwhelmed and unsure about where they are heading.

Moving to a new job comes with several uncertainties. There are new colleagues, superiors, a different corporate culture and organizational framework. The individual needs to adjust on three different levels, namely, physical mental and emotional. Physical transitions are the easiest while the mental transition can be handled as well. The emotional transition however is difficult and painful. This is often the single factor that ties people back to their jobs. Employees are emotionally bound to the people and practices of the current set up. They would prefer to remain around familiar faces. The prospect of being the outsider in a new workplace is scary.

Changing jobs involves an amount of risk, as you do not know what to expect at the other end. The only thing you are sure about is the salary and designation. There are various other factors which cannot be gauged unless the employee at the job. The known devil is easier to handle than the unknown one. There is also no fear that one’s core competencies and skills may not be useful at the workplace.

Opportunity Cost:

Chronic job-hopper has given changing jobs a bad name. However, changing jobs can be in the advantage of the employee. Most obvious are the physical gains – a better pay higher designation and additional monetary benefits. However, the gains do not stop here. Changing jobs shows the individual as someone who is dynamic and willing to take risks. It keeps the individual on the ball and prevents him /her from becoming complacent. The process of adapting to a new job means that the individual needs to be updated with new industry happenings skills and technical knowledge. This adds currency and confidence to their dealings.

Apart form losing out on better remuneration and growth prospects, change resisters may miss the opportunity to explore their complete potential. Every job comes with different challenges and rewards. For an individual who has been at the same job for very long the learning curve stagnates. New challenges bring new learning and keep the employees skills agile.

Fight the fear:

The first step to overcome the fear of change is to identify and accept that you are a change resistor. If you have ever let go of an opportunity simply because you were willing to embrace the changes it would bring without fairly evaluating them opportunity properly, the warning bells should be ringing.

Dealing with the resistance is a gradual process of mental, physical and emotional conditioning. The individual needs to understand that the fear is mostly in his /her mind. One should take steps to build self confidence, update your skills and understand your fear better. It is a good idea to visit your future workplace and interact with those who will be colleagues, research on the organizational culture and practices so that you have an idea of what to expect. The key is to convince your self that the change will bring excitement and interesting experiences. Don’t see the change as threatening. Constantly remind yourself of the positive aspects of making the job change. Change also can be made in small gradual steps for those who are uncomfortable taking a huge plunge.

Ultimately, the decision to move or not move to a new job should be made solely on an objective evaluation of the circumstances and not because of an underlying fear of change.