Assess The Work/life Balance
The work/life balance of any job means different things to different people, so consider what impact each role will have on your own needs and requirements, suggests Hywel. If candidates have young families or other responsibilities, then the ability to work from home or work flexibly may be a more pressing concern, he says. Also consider each roles location and commute as this could significantly impact on your day-to-day life, although some companies may offer perks like childcare or gym membership that could offset these issues.
Make Your Best Guess And Then Prepare To Adapt
At some point, youll need to make a decision. If youre lucky, one of your options will be clearly better than the others. Otherwise, the decision will be tough.
Dont be too hard on yourself: the aim is to make the best choice you can given the evidence available. If youve been through the process above then you have put yourself in a position to make a well-considered decision.
Here are some further steps you can take to reduce downsides.
How To Choose A Career Path
Your career path should account for your goals, future plans and personality. Considering these factors can help you choose the right starting position and make strategic decisions over time.
Follow these steps as you prepare a career path:
Outline your career goals
What are my strengths and aptitudes? Soft skills? Hard skills?
Do I want to specialize in certain technical skills or take on management roles?
Once you answer questions like theseand any others that are important to youyou can better research potential careers paths. Its also important to revisit your career goals as you grow personally and professionally to ensure your goals remain achievable and aligned with your interests.
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Hobbies Are Your Savior
Heres a newsflashyou dont have to turn everything you love into a career or a money-spinner. And in fact, its better that you dont.
For example, when I was weighing up a career in instructing yoga, the low-stress chai-drenched lifestyle I imagined was a far cry from the practicalities of making a living out of my down dogs: unsociable work hours, unpredictable income, trading time and physical presence for money, and the repetition. I quickly realized that yoga was much better suited as a way to spend my time after work than as a long-term career path. And you know what? Thats just fine.
Think critically about what your passion will really look like when its your source of income, day in and day out. It may, in fact, be more enjoyable when youre just doing it for yourself.
Explore Career Options On Your List
Once youâve come up with some career ideas that sound interesting, follow the next steps to help you explore each option.
1. Use job search sites. LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster are just a few sites dedicated to posting job openings. As you peruse roles available in your area, read more about the responsibilities for each one. Highlight the job titles that sound like a good fit.
Does the job meet my needs and many of my preferences?
Does this career align with my values?
Will I accomplish one of my short-term or long-term goals with it?
What does it feel like to think about these career options?
2. Cross-reference company reviews. Use Glassdoor or other sites to learn more about a particular company youâre considering, or conduct more general research on the industry in which theyâre situated. Pay attention to any current issues being discussed in that industry.
3. Set up informational interviews. If youâve found a role at a specific company that sounds interesting, look to see if you have any connections you can ask for an informational interview. If you want to find more general information about a role, look for any connections you haveâor connections of connectionsâwho are currently doing that work. Asking about a career before you pursue one can help you gather useful information.
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Remember That You May Never Choose
So, what if youve gone through all of these steps, and you still have nearly a dozen career paths youd love to pursue?
Well, Im here to tell you that having an evolving bucket list or a career path that defies logic is 100% OK. After spending years envying the neatly defined careers of my friends, I came to the better-late-than-never conclusion that I wasnt wired that way. As a multi-passionate, I found the concept of expertise in one specific area fascinating and enviable, but I couldnt ever see myself acquiring it. Im woefully indecisive with a low boredom threshold. Not exactly a recipe for deliberate practice, is it?
Once I stopped fighting who I was and relaxed into the idea that different was okay, all the possibilities before me were exciting, not stressful. I love what Im doing now, but I also know that Ill probably have multiple careers throughout my lifetime.
Bring them on, I sayjust dont give me too many choices at once.
Be Careful Of Push Factors
When considering each role, ask yourself whether it would fulfil the reasons you decided to look for a new job in the first place, suggests Dipen. Any candidate will likely experience push factors driving them away from their current role, he says, but if the new job on offer doesnt address these issues you could be left feeling unfulfilled and wondering if it was all worth it. As Hywel adds: Dont end up jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire by choosing the wrong role.
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How To Decide Between Two Job Offers
It might sound like the dream, but having two job offers on the table can make for a hard decision. Our experts share some crucial things to consider if youre struggling to decide.
Some companies may give you up to a week to make your decision, although this will largely depend on the length and structure of their recruitment process, explains Hywel Davies, associate director at Robert Walters Indonesia. He continues, During the interview process you should have built up a good idea of whether youre interested in the role, so a slow response could reflect badly on your decision-making skills and could even see the job offer withdrawn entirely.
Consider How Each Job Aligns With Your Long
When youre interviewing for a job, you want to prove youre the best person for the role and that the organization cant live without you. Once you have two job offers on the table, though, its time to consider how these job prospects align with your career goals.
Instead of focusing on what you can do for the company, consider what each company can do for you. Go over everything you learned about the job, organization and culture during the interview process.
Then, ask yourself the following questions:
- Which job still lines up with my career goals?
- Does one job have more opportunities for growth than the other?
- Which job will challenge me?
- Which job offers me the chance to learn new skills?
If youre having trouble deciding between two jobs, consider both through the lens of your long-term goals. Consider which position holds the most promise, and choose the one that will get you where you want to go.
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Compare How You Will Feel In The Career
This factor is not to be underestimated. As you are going to be spending over half of your waking life working how you feel in your career on a day-to-day basis is important. Is it a fun work environment in which you can have a laugh and enjoy yourself? Do you get along with the broader community in the industry? This factor is often forgotten when deciding between two career pathways, but it is such an important part of your work life. If you enjoy how your career makes you feel, you are more likely to last the distance.
What Are My Values
Everyone has values or things that are important to them, such as financial security, social justice or work-life balance. These values can help you decide what type of career to pursue. Here for instance, consider a job that pays well if you value financial security, and consider the type of hours you’d like to work to achieve work-life balance and what career may offer that to you.
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What Is My Personality
Your personality is the way you think, feel and behave. It can be an important factor in guiding you towards a specific career, so consider several aspects of your personality as you reflect on your future.
- Are you a leader or a follower?
- Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?
- Do you prefer to cooperate or compete with others?
- Do you enjoy helping others or prefer to empower them to do things themselves?
- Are you a thinker who focuses on ideas or are you a doer who takes action?
- Are you a creative and artistic person or do you thrive with structure and routine?
What Pain Do I Want
- What are the benefits of this career?
- What are the downsides?
- Am I willing to put up with the downsides for a sustained period of time?
- Am I willing to spend a great sum of hours learning about these subjects?
- Can I handle the pressures and demands of this job?
- Can I handle the hours asked of this job?
- Are these individuals the type that I want to surround myself with?
Figuring out what pain you want is all about understanding what a job entails, and what its benefits and downsides are. As you evaluate a career choice from your list, search for information regarding not only the perks, but the pains and complaints that people have about their position and career trajectory.
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Dont Get Blinded By Salary
While salary is obviously an important consideration in any job offer and should fairly reflect the level of work expected, it shouldnt be the only factor determining whether you accept or reject an offer, warns Dipen. A role could offer other, non-monetary perks such as increased responsibility or greater exposure, he says. If you want to make a decision unbiased by salary, ignore the financial package and focus instead on what excites you about the two offers.
Three Top Tips For Making Close Career Change Calls
1. Project yourself
Imagine where you’ll be five years from now in each career or role. Assume that everything has gone well.
Put a timer on for 10 minutes, and free write about each one. How do you spend your day, what works, and what irks you?
How did this feel for each scenario? Did you uncover any fears or discover aspects you aren’t so keen on? Did it pose any outstanding questions about whether either or both careers would be right for you?
2. Prepare for the worst
Imagine the worst-case scenario.
List everything that could possibly go wrong with making this career change.
Rate each potential disaster according to the likelihood of it happening. Then think of a way to mitigate the risks.
Staring down the scary career change doubt monster and reality-checking your fears can help calm your nerves.
3. Detune the dilemma
Don’t let the stress of deciding, bring you undone.
Acknowledge your anxiety, and it’ll be less likely to cloud your capacity to choose. Feel you’re getting sucked into a spin cycle of stress and indecision? Breathe, smile, and say, ‘Hello again, decision dilemma, I’ve earmarked brain space for you in a bit, please come back then.’
Then make sure you allocate brain space for reflecting, projecting and very importantly, don’t go it alone.
Talk your situation through with someone. Try following this advice from decision making researcher and former professional poker player Annie Duke in her book ‘How to decide.’
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What Makes For An Amazing Career
When others ask for advice, they seem to want to hear the narrative about how I followed my passion, but that would be an enormous oversimplification.It really was a matter of following the path where I could build on my existing skills and had the potential to move towards some kind of mastery. An Interviewee from Cal Newports Case Study
A common misconception is that job fulfillment and happiness comes from picking a job that fits your passion. In his book, So Good They Cant Ignore You, Cal Newport of MIT demonstrated thats just not true. Newport spent time with individuals from a wide range of professions who had admitted to deriving great satisfaction from their work. He found that individuals developed passion when they excelled at their job, not the other way around. Those who excelled highly at what they did derived a much higher level of freedom, satisfaction, and interest in their field.
This contrasts greatly with this widely distributed message: follow your passion and good things will come.
Is It Possible To Pursue Two Careers
Pursuing more than one career can be a smart strategy — especially in a shifting job market that often offers only part-time work opportunities. Job and career changes are common for many individuals, and juggling two careers can serve as a practical method for gaining firsthand experience prior to making your next career decision. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals born between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 12.4 jobs in their lifetime. Before committing to a two-career approach, you should decide if it is workable based on your skills, interests and career objectives.
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Put Decisions In Perspective
Put the process and prospect of ‘right decision making’ in perspective.
Whatever you decide, you’re bound to feel anxious about it. Especially if you listen to your pesky inner doomsayer trying to protect you by warning you about everything that could possibly go wrong.
If you’re waiting on the moment when you can make a stress-free choice, you’ll most likely be waiting indefinitely.
Accept that perfect solutions are pure fiction and try some of these six strategies for calming your inner critic.
Consider How To Order Your Options
When doing the above exercise, you might realise its much easier to switch from option X to Y, than from Y to X i.e. that option X is more reversible than Y.
For instance, after completing a PhD, everyone in academia agrees that if you leave, its hard to re-enter. This is because getting a permanent academic position is very competitive, and any sign that youre not committed will rule you out . This means that if youre unsure about continuing with academia after your PhD, its often best to continue.
If you havent started a PhD, and want to try something else, then its best to do that before you start.
It can sometimes be better to enter the more reversible option, even if youre less confident its best. If youre right and it doesnt work out, you can go back to your top option later anyway.
Ask yourself whether thinking about ordering should cause you to rerank your options.
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How To Decide On A Career Path
This article was co-authored by Lauren Krasny and by wikiHow staff writer, Sophia Latorre. Lauren Krasny is a Leadership and Executive Coach and the Founder of Reignite Coaching, her professional and personal coaching service based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also currently coaches for the LEAD Program at Stanford University Graduate School of Business and is a former Digital Health Coach for Omada Health and Modern Health. Lauren received her coaching training from the Coach Training Institute . She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 86% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 830,276 times.
Whether youre finishing up your education and are ready to venture into the real world or have been working in a certain field for a while and want to try something new, deciding on a career path can seem overwhelming. However, with a little self-exploration and some research, you can easily choose a career that will leave you feeling fulfilled.
List Your Key Uncertainties
Try to identify the information that is most likely to change your ranking.
The questions people most commonly ask us are often not actually decision relevant. Frequently, people focus on big picture questions that are too hard to settle, so thinking about them is unlikely to change their ranking. Its also easy to get lost ruminating about the huge variety of issues that can be relevant. Try to focus on the questions that are most relevant.
Some useful questions to consider include:
- How could you most easily rule out your top option?
- If you had to decide your career tomorrow for the rest of your life, what would you do today?
- What were you most uncertain about in making your ranking? Do any of those uncertainties seem easy to resolve?
Some of the most common questions are things like:
- Would I enjoy this job?
- Could I get this job?
- What skills are required to get this job?
- How pressing is this problem compared to other issues you could work on?
- How much influence would you really have in this position?
Try to make the questions as specific as possible.
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