The 5 biggest career fears and what you can do about them

From fear of failure, to stress over being rejected by colleagues, here are the top five career fears plaguing UK employees today, and what can be done about them.

What scares you most about your career? Interviews can be terrifying, as can giving a presentation to a room full of decision-makers, asking for a raise, or pushing for a promotion. If these fear-inducing scenarios sound familiar, you’re not alone.

New research from marketing recruitment firm, Forward Role, has revealed what the general public fear most about their job.

13 per cent of people said they feared being fired from their position. This is hardly surprising given the recovering state of the job market. With competition for employment fierce it’s no wonder that people are desperate to hang onto their paycheque.

Another 13 per cent surveyed feared that they would fail. Whether it’s giving a big presentation to your boss or a performance review, we all hate the idea of doing any less than our best. No doubt many people’s fear of failing is coupled with their dread of being fired.

One in 10 people feared the overwhelming anxiety of dealing with too many tasks. It’s tempting to be a ‘yes’ person in order to impress, especially in a new job, but taking on too much can have its negative impact in the long run.

“We all have goals and dreams that we want to accomplish in our professional lives, but the fear of failure is often what   holds us back from achieving those goals. We are so afraid   to push the boundaries and reach for them because what if we don’t?”

“It’s all about your mindset. It won’t happen overnight, but   learning to look at your ‘failures’ as a stepping stone towards success rather than a reason to give up will help you far more in the long run,” says Steve Thompson, managing director of Forward Role.

8 per cent feared confrontation. No one wants to be a bother, particularly in the workplace where everyone is busy. But rather than addressing our issues directly, we stick to being “nice” and complain to someone else instead, which of course solves nothing.

Finally, 6 per cent feared that they wouldn’t fit in with their colleagues. No one likes being rejected or left out, but striking a balance between making friends with the people around you and not turning into someone you’re not can be tricky.

Michael Foote, founder of Quote Goat, had an unorthodox yet effective approach to quashing one of his fears, public speaking.

“I, like the majority of people, had a fear of public speaking. I always find the best way to deal with an issue is to confront it head on,” he says. “My approach to this fear of speaking publicly was to apply to go on national television and speak live on a BBC programme. Speaking to such a large audience on TV helped to put presenting and speaking to smaller audiences into perspective. I no longer worry about speaking in public.”

ForBring Digital managing director, David Ingram, dealing with colleagues can be stressful, but fearing rejection should never hold you back.

“Working with others is a fundamental part of any career, no matter what industry you are in. But your desire to be liked shouldn’t come above everything else; you’re here to do a job, after all,” he advises. “We’re not saying be aggressive and difficult to work with – that behaviour usually ends up getting you in trouble – but don’t be afraid to be assertive and get the job done. You’ll win more respect that way and progress further.”

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.