Loss Aversion and Switching Your Career in Your Thirties

Are you familiar with the phenomenon of loss aversion? Basically, it’s a proven psychological principle that people have a tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. It’s been shown that the desire to avoid losses is nearly twice as strong as acquiring gains. This explains why people hold onto tanking stocks even though all indications say to “sell!” It’s also probably why we often get stuck in a fear based mindset as opposed to an abundance based one.

I was thinking about this idea today in terms of switching careers. I’m in a funny/ambivalent spot myself, because I’m pursuing screenwriting but I also crave stability and consistent growth, which I don’t think this career can give me. So I have been wondering lately – what’s stronger – my desire to keep pursuing dramatic writing OR my desire for stability and consistent career growth?

I started thinking about perhaps I’m afraid that by starting a new path – at almost 33 years old – I will have “wasted” all the time. Is this simply loss aversion coming into play?

This article, The Big Reason It Might Be Time To Quit Your Job has some enlightening statistics about people who switch their jobs. Only 23% of people said they could easily switch careers.

Do you think you could switch careers at this point in your life? What would be the factors you would consider? How much of a salary cut would you take?

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