Five reasons why you need to think carefully before making any career decisions

Career decision making can be a daunting exercise. With millions of possible options offered to us, it can lead to huge confusion and make us feel lost.
As the anxiety grows and we start to feel the external pressure to pick one specialization, one master degree or a brand new job, it can be very tempting to go for the easy route.
This often means picking the safest options, i.e the careers that will be well regarded amongst our peers and family or the careers which will offer us the biggest paycheck and guarantee employment as fast as possible.
Although these strategies surely can get us a job, there are significant chances this may not be the job that will make us feel engaged and fulfilled.
The simple reason is that career decision making requires some serious thinking about what we truly value, what our skills are, what type of work we really enjoy and most of all to do a reality check about the growth prospects in our field of interest.
So here are five reasons why you may want to think twice before making an easy or so called « safe » career decision.

 

1. Following others won’t help you find a purposeful job that suits you

Following the crowd rarely gets you to a career that is going to be meaningful and make you feel energized every morning. It may feel great at first to take traveled paths and avoid the pains of being paralyzed with questions about the right career to choose. But unfortunately, by doing so, you simply take the risk to delay this process for later, with much more pain and confusion ahead. Chances are that you will wake up later feeling like you took the wrong paths and have to start all over again.


2. It won’t be easy to change further down the line so you might as well get it right first

 

As you’ve already invested energy, time and money into your initial choice, it may feel very risky to suddenly turn it around. It is also even more complicated to change path later on that recruiter tend to prefer consistent choices and may be reluctant to take the risk to offer you positions that are not fully aligned with what you ve done before and where your expertise sits. Even with a strong motivation, it may require you a very long time and efforts to reroute yourself and manage to explain to skeptical recruiters why you are a good fit in a totally different environment.


3. You don’t want life to happen to you and would rather take control of your own fate

 

One of the consequences that can sometimes be overlooked is that by taking a passive role you inevitably take the risk of letting others decide for yourself. When you let others take control over your career, you open up yourself to the risk of being let down, taken to directions that only reflect other people’ s interests and ultimately be hostage to fortune.


4. You won’t operate to your fullest capability and grow in a job that drains you

 

Avoiding to ask yourself important questions such as your strongest abilities can also prevent you from taking a job that allows you to fully exploit your potential. Unfortunately, we tend to thrive in jobs that we are naturally good at and feel drained when we pick a career where we feel average. This may affect your growth prospects in a career that doesn’t align with your biggest strengths and turn into a lose-lose situation for your employer and yourself.


5. By running on autopilot, you’ll set the wrong example around you

 

By refusing to answer those hard questions when choosing a career, you also contribute to give a wrong signal to people around you, be it your friends or children who will then repeat the same patterns.

Life is too short to be spent in a job that doesn’t make you thrive. Waiting for the next weekend, holidays or simply for retirement is a sad way of spending the next four decades of work ahead of you. To feel engaged and fulfilled, you may want to take an active role in designing a career that matches your natural talents, your interests, that can get you paid and that brings you a sense of greater purpose. All of this requires efforts, explorations, and time, but the investment is definitely worth a try.