That awful feeling of FOMO – fear of missing out – usually pops up when you’re scrolling through your work email and you come across an epic discussion about stuff that you weren’t aware of – even if it has nothing to do with you. In fact you were accidentally cc’d by Elaine in accounting. Now you feel like you are out of the loop and (wait… were they passing notes about you in the last meeting?)… maybe just a little paranoid. You knew there was better stuff out there and now you’re missing out on it!

FOMO is creeping its way into your brain — and will hurt your career in the long run.   People who struggle with FOMO have no idea and people who think they are… usually aren’t.

So… are you in FOMO denial and don’t know it.  Here are five signs love FOMO is ruining your career.

1. You have way too many choices.

And not just with who you’ll go to lunch with. You spend lots of time checking ALL your social media to see how your post is doing, or if someone responded, or if someone else posted a picture of something they did without you. You want to be on every project with every important person just in case they say something super important. You’re FOMO is causing you to lack strategic thinking and focus.

2. You’re terrified of picking wrong.

If you commit to go to the Indian Restaurant for lunch on Friday with Dan and John then you might miss out on something better; like lunch with Sara and James at the Oyster bar. This FOMO causes you to be a bad decision maker and less likely to be selected for decision-making roles.

3. Your expectations are set WAY too high

You don’t just want a job or a career… you want the PERFECT JOB at the PERFECT COMPANY. Besides having all the benefits, they need to have a doctor’s office, gym, cafeteria, credit union, pool, ping pong table, sleeping areas, bikes, and a masseuse-on-demand services (for free of course). All of the things that were once expected from a community you now expect from a company. And until you get that then your current company is just a stepping stone (because there is NO WAY that you missing out on a massage at your desk). The problem with this is that you are constantly looking for greener grass rather than seeing the value on your side of the fence.

4. You’re stuck in nomad mode

FOMO can shift you into nomad mode. Your concern of picking the wrong career and company will cause you to keep bouncing around from one job or company to another… usually every 2 years for about 10-15 years. Then, you either settle down with an organization that you can grow with or go out on your own… either of which feels like a feather in your cap. But the lessons you learn as a “nomad-worker” may not translate as a “lifer” because now you have to learn how to stick in there when things get tough. (ps – when things get tough you think that things must be better somewhere else.  You refuse to miss out on better.)

5. You need to work on yourself before finding the right place to settle down.

Many FOMO peeps think that finding the right company will help cure their own personal issues and “fix” them. But nope… that is not why they hired you.
There is no ideal company who is so fantastic that they’re going to make you stop worrying about what you’re missing out on. You have to see yourself as ready to commit, be more strategic in your actions, and select those actions which are best for your growth within the organization.


Do you know someone that has FOMOitis?  What other things do they do?

One Response

Comments are closed.