Guest Blogger Stacy Smky-Santiago: Your Secret Weapon for Making a Career Change

Making a change for greater fulfillment is worth it, but not easy. Fear stops so many of us right in our tracks when we first consider a career change. Those insidious gremlin voices immediately start ramping up self-talk messages like: 

“You’re going to give everything up and start over? You’re crazy.”

“You’ll take a huge pay cut if you change industries.” 

“You’re skills aren’t that great. How would you sell yourself?”

If you don’t address your gremlins and work on your inner game, you’ll be stuck in self-doubt and stagnation. 

The key to a successful career change is working from the inside out. 

To start, I want you to flip your focus. Instead of dwelling on what you’ll lose and how hard it’s going to be to travel the long, risky road of transition, generate evidence of the truth. 

Here’s an activity to help you do this. First, draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On the left side, write down a fear or gremlin message that’s resonating the most right now. Then on the right side, write down all the evidence of the truth. 

For example, if your fear is “My skills aren’t that great. I don’t know how to sell myself,” counter it with evidence from positive performance evaluations, wins at work, comments from clients and coworkers. The truth is you do have amazing skills. You just need to see the proof! 

To add to this, make a list of your top five accomplishments. Then identify the specific skills and qualities you employed to achieve them. Generating abundant evidence of the power of what you’re capable of will boost your confidence and abate your fear. 

Good stuff. Now that you’re on track to dust off your sharp skills and articulate your brilliance or unique value proposition, let me tell you about a secret weapon for getting what you’re worth even if you change industries: negotiation

Pursuing greater happiness in a new industry or completely different role naturally triggers the fear of a pay cut. But you know what fear really is? False Evidence Appearing Real. The truth is that you don’t have to start over from scratch as if you’re a total newbie. 

For example, I recently worked with a client who moved from the insurance industry to account management and strategic sales in higher education solutions. When she received an offer, the base salary was considerably less than what her current job paid; however, she effectively demonstrated her transferable skills and experience. She asked for more with solid reasoning and received the highest salary authorized for the position. Negotiating the offer details made this transition possible for her and she’s thrilled. Making a career change IS completely possible!

Do you want to feel more confident about who you are, what you want, and how to get it? It all starts with your inner game and cultivating a negotiation mindset. 

Click here to get your free copy of The Confidence Blueprint. 

Want to share your own negotiation story? We'd love to hear it! Contact Lily at to learn more about guest blogging. 

Stacy is an expert catalyst for career happiness who helps mid-career business professionals get the career that makes them excited to wake up each day and do what they love with amazing confidence and success. She became a coach after a winding road of different jobs including insurance claims, recruiting, university and private practice counseling, and career coaching.  As a Board Certified Coach and Licensed Professional Counselor with over 3000 client hours of career coaching and counseling experience, Stacy loves helping clients increase confidence and career-life happiness.


Alexandra Dickinson

Alexandra Dickinson is the CEO and founder of Ask For It, a boutique consulting company working to close the gender wage gap by effecting change at both the institutional and individual level. We work with companies, schools, organizations and individuals through a combination of trainings, workshops and consulting. Our goal is for women and men to be paid based on their talents and skills, regardless of gender, and for our company to have been an important part of that change.