Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown Career Change

Overcoming my fear of changing careers

Overcoming my fear of changing careers

Posted on June 2019 By Noreen Quaid

Noreen Quaid Stopgap Consultant

When I made the decision to leave a successful career as a Business Manager spanning almost a decade in the retail industry, I knew such a significant change would require facing a number of fears.

The decision raised a few eyebrows from friends and family as I had no clue what I wanted my next career move to be, I just knew my time in the world of retail had come to an end. 

I will never forget my last day at Forever New – I was so incredibly overcome with all types of emotion.  Feeling incredibly grateful to have worked with such an amazing team, proud of all that we had achieved and built-in my two years there, some amazing friendships that I am confident will last a lifetime, but also a very sad with a heavy heart to be leaving these people behind. 

Noreen with Forever New

The uncertainty of what I was going to do next was a little unnerving but I had a good feeling in my gut… I was going to go for it. So I took a career break.

The original plan was to take Christmas off with a view of having a new career all figured out and a job found by the middle of Feb at the very latest. Wishful thinking right? That little break turned into 6 months where I had a whole bunch of unknown fears thrown at me like curve balls that I ultimately had to face.

As April crept up on me, the fear of never-ending unemployment raised its’ head along with a multitude of questions– what am I doing with my life? What career do I want – I had no idea where to even begin!

After some open and honest conversations with family, friends and old colleagues I started to sense a recurring theme of what people thought of me. Through the perspective of others, I came to realize I was a true people person, a good communicator and loved to help others when and where I could. That’s when I had my light bulb/penny drop/aha moment – recruitment!

It ticked all the boxes for what I loved about my previous roles, but jumping into a full time recruitment role also meant that I was taking on a new challenge in a new sector which I found scary and exciting all at the same time – I was facing my fears!

I am now pleased to say that I found my new consultant role with a wonderful boutique agency based in Sydney’s King Street Wharf called Stopgap where we specialize in both agency and client side roles in marketing, advertising and digital. We are not industry specific nor are we commission based, which creates a real sense of team collaboration, unity and real dedication to provide our clients and candidates with as much support as possible before, during and after placements.

                    Team at Wentworth Valley

Looking for a new job or career is a BIG DEAL. It means uprooting and changing everything you know to embrace a little of the scary unknown, a new challenge and going from being a big fish in a little pond, to a little fish in a big pond.

Six months on from making that decision and I am now in a position as a consultant at Stopgap to help other job seekers face those same fears. Career changes can be scary and often require you to step out of your comfort zone, but when we find the courage to do just that, amazing things start to happen. What once felt unknown and confronting starts to become your new normal.

If you're looking for a new marketing opportunity or just want to have a general chat about making a career transition, I'd love to speak with you. You can contact me anytime at 

*Headshot courtesy of our very own consultant Hilary Williams of