160. Why is changing careers so scary: What to do to overcome your fears

career change career planning Nov 14, 2022
Why is changing careers so scary: What to do to overcome your fears

Career changes can be challenging, but there are many things you can do to ensure that your new path will be successful. For this episode of The Job Hunting Podcast, I interviewed May Samali, a leadership coach who has had many career changes and is keen to share how she's managed to land on her feet. Together, May and I will advise you on how to prepare yourself for your career transition and choose the best career path for you.

These are the three lessons I learned from my chat with May:

1. Do your research.

Before making any significant decisions, make sure you've done your research. Find out what kind of work you're interested in and whether it's something you enjoy. If not, think about why you might not want it. This will help you decide whether or not you should pursue it. When you listen to the episode, you'll see that May has always been on a personal discovery path, taking mental notes and observing others at work, trying to identify the type of work she wanted to do and was a good fit for. May is also an avid reader, and I could tell she had thoroughly embraced her career transitions and learned a lot along the way.

2. Find out what's right for you.

Once you've decided what career or job you want, find out what skills you need to succeed in that field, look at the requirements for the position you want, and see if you have those skills. If not, consider taking some classes or training programs to learn them. May is an advocate of knowing your "why": that reason that sits inside other questions such as "what" and "how."  When you get to the root of your motivation to change careers, the path (what and how) becomes more evident, and you know how to take steps toward change.

3. Start making changes.

If you're thinking about changing careers, know there is no perfect time to act. Don't wait until you burn out or lose motivation before making changes. Take incremental steps, and know that it becomes easier and more straightforward with each small change you make toward your goal. 

About our guest:

May Samali is a professionally certified leadership coach, facilitator, researcher, venture partner, and business founder. With more than a decade of international experience as a lawyer, venture capital investor, and technology CEO, May has founded the Human Leadership Lab to help individuals and organizations identify their purpose and unleash their power and potential. She is also a Senior Industry Fellow at FORWARD, RMIT University's Centre for Future Skills and Workforce Transformation, and a Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners, a network-driven venture capital firm headquartered in the US. 

May holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she studied as an Australian John Monash Scholar, Gleitsman Leadership Fellow, and New World Social Innovation Fellow. She also holds a Bachelor of Laws and Economic & Social Sciences from Sydney University.

Based between Sydney and San Francisco, May loves almond milk lattes, morning hikes, and quality time with her family and furry friends. Her primary areas of interest include leadership, entrepreneurship, the future of work, and well-being. She has been published on these topics in multiple outlets, including The Australian, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, TechCrunch, Forbes, and VentureBeat.


04:06 - May Samali's career story

05:09 - May Samali's passion for human rights

06:31 - Moving from corporate to entrepreneur

10:25 - May Samali's mindset and strengths

12:06 - How May Samali maximizes impact

14:45 - Following questions

18:43 - May Samali's regrets

22:15 - Failure and success

24:10 - Stepping into restructuring

25:32 - Psychological safety

26:26 - Listen and learn

27:42 - Know who you are at your core

30:21 - Why are human skills important?

38:18 - Why are career transitions so scary?

50:10 - May Samali's ideal clients

53:17 - May Samali's love for her work

Other ways to enjoy this podcast:

Are you new to The Job Hunting Podcast? 

Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach corporate, non-profit, and public professionals the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress. 

If you are 1) an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, 2) looking to find your next job or promotion, or 3) you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running – then this podcast is for you. In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients. 

So there is no excuse – I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.

Enjoy the episode, and ciao for now!


Renata Bernarde | Job Hunting Expert

[email protected]


I cannot recommend it highly enough.

To my friends and colleagues who are currently job hunting, this podcast is for you. Renata Bernarde and her stellar line up of guests very generously share their perspective, advice, behind-the-scene secrets, tips, and anecdotes. "It's called The Job Hunting Podcast (it is what it says on the tin!) Guests include Anita Ziemer, Michelle Redfern, Mohit Bhargava. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Run. Don't Walk." - LinkedIn post shared by Amber Knight.

We listened, and we both got jobs!

"I am writing to let you know that I got a job. I found The Job Hunting Podcast because a friend of mine recommended it, and he also was successful in his job search. Your podcast tips and chats with guests helped me prepare for my job interview. My new position is a gateway to the organization and will allow me to grow as a professional. Thank you for the incredible work you do! We listened to your episodes and assimilated all the learnings." - Listener from New Zealand.

207. Modernizing Job Applications: Leveraging AI, LinkedIn, and Exp...

206. Strategies for Managing Career Transitions

205. Unlocking SME Career Opportunities: Navigating Small Business ...

204. How to become a gig executive: An interview with Werkling foun...

Don't miss my weekly newsletter! 

Every Tuesday, I'll send you the latest episode of The Job Hunting Podcast, as well as a curated list of news and articles. This way, you will have the best collection of career tips and advice automated to your inbox. You can now focus on assimilating the best content rather than searching for it. And have time to enjoy your life as well!


"I wanted to pass on the news that I start my new role on Monday - and to thank you for the great resources and inspiration you provided, which I found so helpful." - Kate, newsletter subscriber.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.