Written by: Mike Smith | 22 Feb 2023

Do you suffer from “career decidophobia”?

Share article:


Possibly not a word you’ve heard too often – but, it is a real thing!

Decidophobia is a term to describe someone with the fear of making the wrong decision. It can affect people with both important, and seeming unimportant decisions – such as what to have for lunch, or what to wear today.

Although it can be a major life-changing problem for a very small minority of people, today we will be discussing the milder forms of career decidophobia that can affect everyone throughout their career.

Career Decidophobia is typically seen at two stages of someones career. Normally it’s someone who is thinking of leaving a settled job to start a new one, and sometimes it’s just someone who is considering jacking in their six-figure finance career in favour of starting that rock-band they’ve always dreamt of.

However, what people don’t often talk about is the Career Decidophobia that most people experience at the beginning of it all. At the very start of their shiny new careers.

Picture the scene. You’ve finished your GCSEs and have either gone to college or completed your university course, however the qualifications you receive do not clearly define a career. Think Geography, Social Studies or even History.

Now unless you plan on using that qualification to move into teaching, or research, you will fall into the category that tens of thousands of young people find themselves in each year. Semi-qualified but with no logical career path.

Great – you’ve got the qualification. Accrued your £30,000 of debt. And now sit in front of a computer, ready to smash your job search.

Hang on. Which sort of role should I aim for?

I think I’m good at this, and I know I’m good at that. And before long you have a small list of 5+ possible career paths.

You sit there blankly, trying to think about which of those 5 would best suit you. And then you slowly start to realise that this decision has the potential to shape how your entire future will look. It’s a big deal.

Anyway, snapping back to reality, this is a predicament the majority of the UK’s 850,000 NEET 18-25 years old face.

It looks like a tough call on paper. But the reality is fairly simple.

A very large percentage of working adults in the UK would say that they “fell into their career”. Heck, even I’m one of them! This means that they didn’t really know what they wanted to do, but they found a job and then stuck at it and turned it into a successful career.

The moral of the story is that it’s ok to not know what you want to do. Lots of people either still don’t know or didn’t know when they were younger. Take your time. Try out a few different jobs. Don’t be afraid to start a job, give it 6 – 12 months, and then decide to look for something else in a different sector. Do try to avoid doing this for more than a few years as it can start to look problematic on your CV, but treat it all as a learning experience. Eventually you’ll find something that suits your personality and skill set, and work will feel less like work.

As a last point, do ask for other people’s opinions. It’s great to have another person’s perspective but try not to fall into the trap of letting others subconsciously alter your decision making, even if they have the best of intentions.