Your Guide to Winning @Work: FOBO - The Fear of Better Options

October 5, 2018

Picture this - you were just offered a new position at work, or even a new job. Initially, you’re thrilled by the opportunity, but then thoughts of possible better options flood your mind. “Is this the right fit for me? What if I could find a role that offers more pay, a different title, more flexibility, the option to work from home?” Now you are struggling to make any decision. You are experiencing FOBO - the fear of better options - and you’re not alone.  

More than 2 in 3 employees today (68%) admit that when making a decision about their career, they often experience FOBO. The most common scenarios when the feeling comes knocking are:

  • FOBO

Don’t worry if you’re feeling a little stuck. There are ways to work through FOBO and even use it to your advantage:

  • Remind yourself what you’re in it for. We get FOBO for a good reason. The #1 regret people have when it comes to their careers is not trying harder to get their dream job (17%). Considering your options is a way to check in with yourselves to make sure you’re on track to accomplish your goals. But it’s important to recognize that success means something different to everyone, and one of the best first steps is to ask yourself what you’re in it for. This way, when you’re questioning how green the grass is, you know what benchmarks and criteria to be on the lookout for.
  • Ask your professional community. The best way to understand what else is out there, and if it’s really better than where you currently stand, is to tap your community to find out. For example, message an old colleague on LinkedIn to hear what inspired them to make the jump to a new job. Ask them for the pros and cons of their role and any advice they might have. By doing so, you can test out the other side to start gauging whether you’d be interested in following a similar path.

  • Do your homework. If you are considering a new job, weigh your options by checking out all of the factors that go into it. Take a look at areas like commute, salary, and the people who would be on your team, which you can explore directly within LinkedIn job postings. This will give you a solid system for weighing options — and helpful criteria to identify what options are best.

Share how you tackle FOBO and evaluate the options. You might be surprised at the support you get along the way — because, we're all #inittogether.


The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of LinkedIn between August 8 and 22, 2018 among 1,017 adults 18+ across the U.S. who are employed full-time, part-time, or self-employed.