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Making a major career decision can be a stressful process. There’s doubt and uncertainty, but there’s also anticipation and excitement. While it may not be the easiest process, there are ways to make yourself feel more certain in your decision. These four questions help you make an educated and well thought out decision, and relieve feelings of doubt.
What are your non-negotiables?
Figure out what you’re absolutely not willing to compromise on and make a list of these non-negotiable things. This will help you evaluate an opportunity when it first arises. If too many of your non-negotiables won’t be met, it’s likely not worth pursuing. Having this list also helps you focus only on opportunities that are the right fit.
Keep in mind that your non-negotiables are not set in stone and can change. If you’re not willing to increase your commute, but a new job opportunity will require you to travel an extra 20 minutes each way, perhaps the other benefits could make up for the extra travel time. It’s important to consider all of the factors and then weigh them against your non-negotiables.
Why are you making the change?
Ask yourself why you’re making the change, and really take the time to think this through. Go deeper than just the surface reasons, like greater pay or a new opportunity, and search for additional factors. If the initial reason is for a pay increase, think about what else that means for you, like the ability to afford a nicer place to live, provide more for your family, or have more expendable income. Getting clarity on the specific and deeper reasons why you want to make a change will help you feel more confident in your decision.
It’s helpful to write this down in a flowchart style. Start with your main reason at the top and the deeper reasons become branches underneath that. From there, elaborate on the topics you’ve added as branches. Write down all of the factors you can think of and add one supporting reason for each. This helps to reinforce the positives and once it’s down on paper you can reference it whenever you’re feeling unsure of your decision.
What are all of the changes you’ll have to make?
A major career decision will usually mean that some form of disruption will happen in your life. Think about what you’ll need to change to make things happen and what will change as a result of the new career. Consider all of the factors – both internal and external. Focus on what you have to gain from making these changes as well. A few things to keep in mind are changes in workplace culture, policies, and location. All of these play a major part in your future career satisfaction. If you have a family, consider the impact on them as well.
What’s the worst case and best case scenario?
Imagine all of the possible negative outcomes, then work from there to imagine all of the positives. What have you got to lose, and what have you got to gain? Once you’ve gotten these ideas written out, start to examine all of the negative outcomes, and break them down to see how you can overcome or work around them. Many times, you’ll find solutions to almost all of your worst case scenarios. By getting the negative thoughts out the way first, you open your mind to think of the possibilities.
Know that no matter what, there’s always a bit of uncertainty in making a major career change. You’ll always have feelings of ‘what if’ and play the scenario over and over in your mind long after you’ve made your decision. The best thing you can do is tell yourself that you took the time and effort to make an educated decision, and everything will work out as it should. Allow yourself to feel your nerves, but don’t let that hold you back from celebrating the big change.
December 19, 2018 at 05:03PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs