FOMO: Fear of missing out or fear of missing opportunities?

FOMO: Fear of missing out or fear of missing opportunities?
A commonly used word among young people, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), has always been about gatherings, parties, and everyday things. However, nowadays, FOMO has grown to be more than that and is starting to affect people of all ages regarding not just parties, but life events and often, professional careers.

It may seem like everyone else is busy doing something extraordinary in their lives, getting ahead, finding more opportunities, and gathering experiences left and right. Young adults are starting to feel this FOMO phenomenon more often—the feeling of internal criticism or spiralling fears when we compare ourselves with others and their achievements. Among students this often translates to the “fear of missing opportunities.”

Studies have shown that “FOMO threatens well-being by causing important psychological and health issues, such as sleep deprivation, loss of focus, declined productivity” (Hayran & Anik, 2021), anxiety, and depression (Qutishat & Sharour, 2019). Experiencing FOMO can cause scattered behaviour by trying to do everything, everywhere, all at once. Attempting to fit a large variety of responsibilities and to-do’s can cause you to become disoriented and overwhelmed, hindering your productivity. Thinking about different “What if…” scenarios can easily get you distracted and, most importantly, cause you a lot of stress and affect your well-being.

We, the Talent & Careers team, speak to students all the time.

“As career coaches, we often hear students expressing concerns about falling behind their peers; our role is to collaboratively define clear objectives, identifying what truly motivates them, so they can chart their unique path and focus on their own individual goals”

Our career coaches frequently hear stories of students expressing concerns and stress about falling behind their classmates. Though it can be a source of motivation, it can also be damaging to productivity and bring more negative repercussions if not handled correctly.

To mitigate the consequences of FOMO, consider these solutions:

1. Strengthen Your Skill Set

Confidence in your skill set equates to confidence in yourself, providing a solid foundation to build your profile. However, we recognize that seeking ways to enhance your skill set and crucial resources like your CV and cover letter can be challenging when done independently. That's why we strongly encourage you to leverage all the resources at your disposal through Talent & Careers, including workshops, career development training, case studies, and more.

2. Organize your thoughts

Amidst the distractions of others, it's easy to lose track of what's truly important to you. That's why it’s key to stay focused on your own path and not engage in unnecessary competition with your peers. Take time to arrange your thoughts and formulate a well-structured plan for your future career. 

3. Seek career guidance from Talent & Careers to set your own plan

IE Talent & Careers is here to support you at every stage of your professional journey, assisting in the development and execution of your career strategy. Our dedicated team of career advisors is on a mission to help you discover your professional purpose and formulate a strategy that aligns with your goals, empowering you to set and achieve your own objectives. Be proactive in seeking this guidance—knock on our door!

4. Make the most out of everything you do

Even if you are not actively pursuing an opportunity now, you can continue improving your skills as they are the key factors that will help you thrive in your future career success. 

Make the most of the resources available to you and avoid becoming solely fixated on securing a job. These skills can help you immensely down the road! 

5. Stay realistic

Not everything comes easy in life, so it's crucial to remain mindful of the practical choices available. Maintain composure when expectations aren't met. It's not a setback but rather an opportunity for another valuable lesson. 

6. Don’t beat yourself up

Remember that the successes of others do not define who you are. Each person is different in their own way, with unique experiences, skills, and requirements. Embrace your individuality and avoid letting external influences affect you. Everyone follows their own timetable, and being too hard on yourself will only impede your progress and concentration.

Avoid FOMO, contact Talent & Careers!


    Our offices at the Tower or Segovia are open from Monday to Thursday at 10AM until 4PM for any help or guidance you might need!

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