Crippling fear of leaving job in finance

Looking for advice to exit a career in banking/finance. I've been part of a tech, media, telecom (TMT) team for the past 3 years - the last year of which I've been having an internal battle to find what's next. The anxiety around making the "wrong" decision and the stigma of "jumping ship" has really gotten to me as I've watched a number of colleagues leave our team.

would love to connect and chat with others for advice on dealing with fear of leaving stability, networking, and general career dev/growth

Hi Isabel, thank you for sharing. I appreciate you sharing this openly with the Elpha community. That must not have been easy for you.Exiting a career you once felt part of must not be easy. The community at Elpha can suggest you to start here - there once you feel comfortable, I'd like to extend an invite to connect with our partner companies here to find the next suitable opportunity for you - we can be of any other help at Elpha, we would be happy to connect with you. @iynna from our Elpha community team would be happy to connect with you regarding the Finance community. I would be happy to connect with you regarding the FinTech and HR communities one on one if you prefer.
Do what’s best for you! It’s never too late to start again. Research, speak to and explore your interests and them you can make a decision that feels like a “HELL YES”! Don’t move for anything less than that.All the best!
Hi Isabel, it's nice to meet you!Know that you are not alone- banking is a tough world and if you are in IB, I also know it is not a sustainable lifestyle. Most people I know have done it to maximise exit opportunities. There's no such thing as a wrong decision because there are lessons for you and what's meant to happen will happen :) I am really convinced about that. Are there things that interest you outside of your job? Any hobies you've developed? I'd also encourage you to start thinking about the things that bring you joy, it will be helpful to know where you want to spend more of your time and energy. As for your next steps, it will make sense as you go :) You can also consider talking to a career coach (if you think it can help)In the meantime, Dipisha inspired me to create a women in finance subcommunity (disclaimer: we just created it so there's not much happening yet :') )
Okay, not the same but relatable: leaving big law. I worked at a very fancy law firm at the beginning of my career out of law school and leaving it was really scary and I was leaving to go to a medium size firm that didn't have the prestige. It was terrifying and took everything in me to leave. Michael Beckwith has a quote "pain pushes, vision pulls." Pain is what ultimately pushed me to leave that job. Vision is what ultimately led me to leave law altogether and start my own business as a Guide and Educator. Eventually, the push will be louder than the anxiety and louder than the stigma and you will know that what you need most is to go. People will say hurtful things about you and why you're leaving (it happened to me), but just know that that is really and truly about them and where they are and has nothing to do with you. If you ever want to talk it through, I guide people through transitions like this all the time. Just send me a message. Rooting for you and listening for your greatness.
I hit reply too soon. The other thing I want to say is to take people up on invitations to community etc. because what you need most right now is unconditional support. I have no idea what your family situation is, but something that made leaving big law and law generally hard for me was that I was the first lawyer in my family and was making more money than anyone in my family had at my age. My parents were not supportive even when I told them that I was suffering mentally and emotionally and suggested that I push through it. That was very hard. So again, unconditional support is invaluable as you prepare to do what is best for you.
I did that - left TMT IB. Although IB is stable, it was rollercoaster in terms of conflict, insane demands from all side etc. And, you never knew when you might get let go. I saw others go thru this. It's good money & u amass a wide variety of disciplines & contacts. I got burnt out by it all but this was many years ago. I went from IB to startups. I like having more ownership - ability to say yes/no, move fast & know that You don't need to make a decision now. Use this period to get curious. Don't be hard on yourself by forcing some no/go decision. The anxiety comes from unknowns. Fill in some of those unknowns. Make a list of definately don't want - toxic team mates, or a product I hate like social media etc...For me, I made the change into startups before thinking that much about it. But after trying different ones, I got a business coach that helped me narrow it down. E.g., I always wanted to work in water recycling, my coach sid this week do four hours of research & with specific flow to it. Four hours of intense research made me realise it was something I like to read about & that wasn't something that felt invested in for a job. - u could find something ur interested in and try it on the weekends either thru volunteer orgs., new training or finding a mentor.
Hi @isabemesksers, I left my job at Goldman Sachs after 10 years to start a company during Covid. I can imagine the decision making is not easy - letting go of a stable paycheck, work relationships, secure career trajectory, have been there. There has never been a day that I regret my decision, primarily because what I am working on now is more aligned to my values, ambitions and life goals. When I was making the decision - I looked into the worst case scenarios with leaving my job and created a plan on how I would get back on track if things didn't work out as I thought they would. I also created a list of possibilities that may happen in the best case scenario. This really helped me make the leap as one thing I learnt during covid was - life was too short for not taking the risks. Happy to chat more offline if you need to talk through your options.
Hi Isabel,First of all, I just wanted to say that most of the women I work with are facing some version of the same crossroad so you are definitely not alone. I just wrote something last week that touches on much of what you shared, especially the anxiety around transitions (linked below). It's so easy to get caught up in black and white thinking, believing a decision is either right or wrong. Often I see those thoughts tied to a deeper belief...that stability is something that an employer provides when in reality it's something we have to give ourselves first. No employer can guarantee you that your role will be around forever. They can’t even guarantee that the company will be around forever. Real security comes from resiliency, perseverance, and developing the grit to bounce back no matter what life or your employer hands you.I'd also challenge you to look a little closer at the stigma attached to "jumping ship." Ask yourself what's worse, what people will think of you for moving on? Or how you'll feel in the future if you stay exactly where you are because of that fear? Hope that helps a bit! This is hard stuff for sure.
Not the same, but left academia. Seeing old colleagues become associate professors or even professors is still painful. Most of my family members are in the public service. Moving away from it was (and still is) hard. If I would go back in time I would have saved more money (but that's hard if you work in the public sector) and started earlier to freelance. Find out what you don't enjoy about your current role and/or industry and explore other options.
Hi @isabemesksersers, given what you're writing, I'd recommend pursuing career exploration, which is a process that is distinct from and a precursor to the job search, including a series of steps of practical learning and self-reflection in order to compare, contrast, and clarify which career path you are confident in pursuing. THAT is the process whereby you can confidently narrow in on which role, industry and environment is the best fit for you. In fact, I've helped numerous professionals to figure out, clarify, and pursue their ideal career direction. While pivots might seem big and scary, they're often more feasible than you think, but you at least deserve to identify which path would be the best fit for you first, and then determine what your strategy, approach or next steps would be. By the way, I'm Rachel Serwetz, a Career Exploration Coach (, and I'm happy to chat further if you'd like! (
Hi Isabel- happy to chat. I left my director level job at a large asset manager in June 2020. I know the struggle well and grappled with the decision for almost 2 years before I made the jump. Pros and cons for sure but I don't regret it. Feel free to reach out if you want to talk chat more, [email protected]