Career Advice

Don't Let FOMO Ruin Your Career!

Mark Smith Posted by Mark
min read

In the 1980s, there was a craze at my high school where everyone had to have a particular type of yo-yo. If you didn't have one, then you were very much on the outer. All of the conversation was around which new trick you had mastered or whether you had seen Joe do 'walk the dog' right in front of the principal! I succumbed to the pressure and forced my parents to get me the bright red yo-yo everyone else had. Needless to say, six weeks later, the fad had passed, and the yo-yo went into the bottom drawer. It seems odd, but over the years I have seen many people change their job, almost in unison with their colleagues, like dominoes falling one after the other. Hopefully, the decision to change jobs was not made because of the 'fear of missing out' (FOMO). 

Changing your job should not be a decision taken in the heat of the moment. Instead, you should consider it in the context of your overall career objective. 

This is easily said, and people use the word 'career' glibly. In my experience, most people struggle to articulate exactly what they want from a career. Earning more money or managing people are used ad nauseam, because people feel this is what they are supposed to want, instead of actually knowing what they really want for their career. So before even entering the job market, make sure you can articulate exactly what you want – writing it down really helps. Once you know what you want, I always encourage people to first explore opportunities with their existing employer. It is much easier to take on a new responsibility or tasks in an environment you know and hopefully where you are respected and trusted. 

Similarly, if your career list includes a pay rise, then you should seek this first with your existing employer and not try to obtain an increase in the market. If you are turned down for that raise, then you can go looking externally. When you do enter the market, please do your research. Benchmark your salary on sites such as Make sure you are clear on where you would be willing to travel. 

Location is often the reason people leave a job and is nearly never in the top ten reasons why people accept a role. Probably the hardest thing to nail down for your next role is the culture of the organisations you are considering. I have written about this here. Although the urge to do what everyone else is doing is often hard to overcome (like getting that bright red yo-yo!), your career is not something that should be changed because you think you might miss out. Instead, you should change your role only after serious consideration of exactly what you want and not what you think everyone else wants. Happy job hunting!