Tips to Making Better Career Decisions
1. Think Like a Scientist
While it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and just go with your feelings when it comes to your career, it’s always better to gather as much information as you can before jumping into a decision.
For example, say, you’ve been working in the same company for five years, but an exciting new opportunity suddenly lands on your lap luring you in with a slew of incredible benefits such as travel opportunities and unlimited bonuses! But before you wave ‘goodbye’ to your old work, take the time to look into what’s being offered.
Chances are if it’s too good to be true, then it most probably is. Like a scientist trying to prove a theory, gather as much data and use as many tools as you can until you come out with a satisfying conclusion. Or in this case, decision.
2. Imagine Your Future Self
By placing yourself in the future rather than the present, you’ll have a better way of understanding how your decision will impact your goals. Ask yourself difficult questions like: ‘What will my career be like in x amount of years?’, ‘How will this choice affect my long-term goals?’ and ‘What kind of new skills or type of growth will this company give me?’ Even if the offer sounds exciting, if it has no room for development and will limit your learning, then it’s probably best to weigh your options further and to stay put until you’re clear about what you truly want.
3. Distinguish Between Feeling and Intuition
Instinct or intuition are developed over years of observation and experience. It’s something that was born out of evolution and our need for survival. Feelings, on the other hand, are based on the present; similar to the temporary high you get when you buy yourself something new and shiny.
When making a career decision be sure not to confuse the two. Intuition is an ongoing feeling that there’s something wrong; for example over a period of time, you may develop the feeling that you don’t quite fit into your organisation. Dig deeper and try to find the reasons why you feel this way. It could be that you don’t feel challenged enough in your current position or maybe it’s the opposite and you’re feeling burned out.
Whatever the case may be, your gut is telling you to do something about it so you should listen to your instincts rather than irrational feelings.
4. Consider all Your Options
When we’re stressed our brain has a hard time looking for new ways to work around our problems often leading us to bad choices.
For this reason, it’s vital to consider all your options before making any rational decisions. For example, if your job offer requires you to relocate to a new city but you haven’t had time to look for a place yet, you can propose to work remotely for the meantime instead of getting on the next flight out there with nowhere to live and no real stability.
Career decisions don’t always have to be made in take-it-or-leave-it situations. Sometimes, you need a little time to look at the broader picture and find alternative solutions.
5. Talk about Your Concerns with a Trusted Person
When you’re feeling anxious or pressured, your mind tends to play out worst-case scenarios. Thoughts of unpaid bills, disappointed family members and angry colleagues pop into mind. While it’s good to anticipate possible outcomes having these images stuck in your mind might paralyze you or lead you to the wrong choice.
A good way out is discussing your worries with trusted friend or mentor. Talking through the scenarios with a level-headed individual will help alleviate any stress and get rid of any paranoia lingering in your head.