10 Negative Beliefs That Keep You Stuck In A Career You Don’t Love

man and woman colleagues looking at a computer

Your negative beliefs can keep you stuck in a career you don’t love.

No matter where you are in your career, it’s important to periodically assess whether you and your career are feeling the mutual love vibe.

If things are not as great as they once were, your negative beliefs may be keeping you stuck in an unfulfilling career.

What are negative beliefs?

Negative or limiting beliefs are thoughts and opinions that you believe to be absolutely true but stop you from advancing and growing.

And here’s what else they do: Negative beliefs act as a defense mechanism against emotions or decisions you’d rather not face. When you challenge them, you may find that you can shake negative beliefs and replace them with ones that serve you.

RELATED: Changing My Career In My 20s Was The Best Decision I Ever Made

10 negative beliefs that keep you stuck in a career you don’t love 

1. It's too late to change

“You’ve already made your career choice. Who are you to change it now? If you didn’t like this career, you should have course-corrected years ago. What’s done is done.” 

This belief makes you feel the die is set, but when is it ever too late to change?

Positive belief: “It’s never too late. You made the decisions that brought you this far; you can trust yourself to make one more decision to explore what’s next.”

2. It’s safer to stay where you are

“You earned your degrees and now you’re working in your field of study. The people you work with are OK and the boss is cool.”

It’s “the-devil-you-know” syndrome. But going elsewhere could be better. A 2018 study found that over a 40-year span, people who stayed in the same organization over time became less satisfied, and people who moved to different organizations over time became happier. 

Which is better? Security in a career you don’t love or the potential for happiness

A better thought: “You want to be happy. People like you are happier when they make moves to other organizations. Why not you?”

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3. You don't know where to go

“You need to stay put because of a lack of clarity. It’s better to stay miserable until you figure out what to do next.” 

It’s understandable to want clarity. Don’t wait for the full picture to emerge before you act. Take small steps with the clarity you have.

Another way to say it: “Your world is bigger than you think. You have lots to offer, and it may be elsewhere, working with new people who appreciate you.”

4. You don't have a passion or purpose

“There must be millions of people who don’t have a purpose. They barely exist at work. What makes you so special that you should like your work?” 

You may be already expressing your passion and purpose in a leisure or volunteer activity. Or, you may be dreaming of it. 

A positive thought: “Yes, you do have a passion and you do have a purpose. You just haven’t thought about it in a while.”

RELATED: A 10-Step Guide To Finding A Career You Love Right Now

5. Your career is your identity 

“You enjoy the sense of satisfaction and perception of power that comes with the title. People respect you. You couldn’t possibly leave this and expect anything better elsewhere.”

Approximately 51% of Americans get a sense of identity from their job. On the other hand, 47% stated their job is simply what they do for a living.

A better way to think about it: “It may feel like your job is your identity, but if you lost it tomorrow, you would still be you.”

6. You're wearing 'golden handcuffs' 

“You’ve paid into a pension for many years now. The benefits are too good to pass up.”

You’re held back by the classic golden handcuffs.

This negative belief makes you fear the loss of a lifestyle by leaving. The financial incentives keep you addicted. You believe this is the only organization in the world that offers this. But what if you were to learn to be intrinsically motivated in your career?

Replacement belief: “People leave careers at all ages. Most are happier for it. You can be, too.” 

RELATED: The Simple Question Happy People Ask Themselves Any Time They Feel Stuck

7. You don't want to disappoint

“My parents always wanted me to have a stable job.” 

They wanted what’s best for you, but how old is that belief and how applicable is it today? I’ll bet they wanted you to be happy, too.

A better thought: “Do what’s best for you and your family and move forward.”

8. Your job is not supposed to make you happy 

“Everyone else is frustrated and burned out so why should you be happy?” 

According to a survey, more than one in three feel that way. Separate yourself from the ones that drag you down and be positive. If one in three are burned out, two in three are not. 

Reframing it positively: “You deserve to be happy in your career.”

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9. You don't have time to invest in a new career

“You need to relax and just chill.” 

That’s good. You need that, but not all the time. Are you happy enough with the way things are to stay that way? For the next five years, or until retirement? If not, set aside a few hours a week to research careers that get your blood pumping. 

Think positively: “You do have time. You can prioritize it to create a plan.”

10. Failure is inevitable — isn't it?

“You have an idea of what might be better but there’s no guarantee of success.” 

True, but you’re on the right path.

A better question: “What if you succeed? What if it turns out far better than you expected?”

RELATED: Ways Your Job Could ‘Betray’ You & How You Can Prepare Yourself For Success

Banish those negative thoughts

If negative beliefs are keeping you stuck in a career you don’t love, it’s time to bid adieu to your negative beliefs and replace them with ones that serve you.

People at all stages of their careers question where they are at times. To put it in perspective, if you’re 25 and plan to retire at 65, you have 40 years of work ahead of you.

At age 35, it’s 30 years to go and at age 50, a decade-and-a-half before that awkward retirement dinner. That’s a long time to spend in a career you don’t love. 

As a career coach, I have worked with people in their early 20s, up to their late 50s, who have recognized and overcome the negative beliefs holding them back. A career coach will help you explore and define your professional career-related goals. 

Through gaining clarity on your personal values, mission and vision, and how they align with your current work situation, you will discover a personal career path to pursue.

If you’re unhappy in your career, when will you take the first step toward a career you love?

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Brent Roy, PCC, CMC, is a certified executive, career and personal development coach who will help you to increase your confidence to prepare you for promotion or a new career. 

This article was originally published at Brent Roy's website. Reprinted with permission from the author.